SMBs have new e-commerce resource for Facebook and Instagram

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The new Facebook Shops feature aims to level the social retailing field for small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMB).

Designed to enable SMBs to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram, Facebook Shops lets SMBs choose products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors. Any seller, regardless of size or budget, can create an online store on Facebook and Instagram free of charge. 

Consumers can find Facebook Shops on an SMB’s Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads. From there, customers can browse the full collection, save products they are interested in and place an order on the retailer’s website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the U.S.

In addition, customers can message a retailer through WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, and track deliveries. In the future, customers will be able to view a Facebook Shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram Direct. 

Facebook is starting to roll out Facebook Shops as of May 20, and it will be more widely available in the coming months. Soon, sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live with a video. Tagged products will be shown at the bottom of the video so consumers can tap to learn more and purchase. The social platform is starting to test this feature with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and will roll it out more broadly in the coming months. 

In addition, in summer 2020 Facebook will introduce Instagram Shop, a new way for customers to discover and buy products from their curated Instagram Explore content page. 

Facebook is also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards by enabling consumers to connect their retail loyalty programs to their Facebook accounts. Customers will be able to see and keep track of points and rewards. The company is also exploring ways to help SMBs create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops. 

Furthermore, Facebook is working more closely with partners including Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics to support SMBs in their use of Facebook Shops and other e-commerce tools. 

And on Instagram, starting in the U.S. in summer 2020, Facebook will introduce Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products in Instagram Explore. Customers will be able to filter products by categories like beauty and home, and purchase desired products all in one place. Later in 2020, Facebook will add a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so customers can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap.