Facebook Launches Online Shop To Support Businesses During The Pandemic

5 min read

Avatar Ellie Harris

21st May, 2020

Digital Agency,News,Our Ethos,Social Media

On Tuesday 19th May 2020, CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced an update for businesses to be able to set up free storefronts on Facebook and Instagram, which has immediately come into play with Facebook Shop. Despite being in the pipeline for at least half a year, the initial stage of this Facebook Shopping update had been brought forward and prioritised due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic. 

Facebook has since accelerated its efforts into supporting businesses around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a smart move following the recent announcement of Google Shopping Ads now becoming free to list in the US. Zuckerberg explains that COVID-19 isn’t just a health emergency, but it has also become the biggest economic shock that most of us have felt in our lifetime.

According to Forbes, a recent study conducted by Facebook revealed that as a result of the pandemic, 31% of small businesses have stopped operating with 11% of businesses believing their business will never recover. With the mission to bring people closer together, this update makes perfect sense in contributing to the survival of businesses around the globe.

The update will make it easier for businesses to set up a single online store on both Facebook and Instagram, with plans to soon introduce this to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even an integration with live streams. The stores will appear on business pages, Instagram profiles and targeted ads.

Rebuilding The Economy

For Facebook, this is a big global test of the feature and with the overall success of Facebook Marketplace, we believe this update will be a huge stepping stone in rebuilding the economy for many businesses.

Discussing the topic exclusively from a Facebook Live session, Zuckerberg said: “expanded e-commerce would be important to begin rebuilding the economy while the pandemic continues.” He also suggested that this update will remain useful even after the pandemic and added, “I do think we’re going to continue living more of our lives online and doing more business online.”

Zuckerberg finally explained that Facebook Shop will support businesses suffering in the wake of COVID-19, but, he acknowledged that it will not be able to “undo the economic damage.”

From a business perspective, the obvious revenue goal is to drive more advertising through Facebook and their partner channels. On the other hand, with the economic fallout resulting from the pandemic, Facebook has a stake in supporting businesses to survive in any way it can. Unfortunately, the pandemic has affected a majority of businesses around the world in more ways than one, so it’s excellent to see the social media network contributing to the hopeful survival of these business owners.

Facebook Shop Partnerships

Facebook also announced a partnership with third-party services, including Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce. This means that sellers will be able to use these third-party services to integrate and manage their Facebook Shop.

These partnerships will result in more control over product listings, with businesses soon able to manage their products, inventory, orders and fulfilment much easier than before. This is designed to create a top-tier shopping experience.

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

For businesses, they will be able to set up a Facebook Shop for free and in a small number of clicks on a social platform that they will most likely already have and be active on. This means that they will be able to import their inventory onto the Facebook Shop platform in a matter of minutes.

Businesses will need to upload their catalogue, choose the products they wish to feature and then consumers will be able to browse, save and purchase these products. These products can then be sold directly across different applications.

Businesses utilising the platform will be able to handle customer support issues through Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. With thousands of businesses around the UK ultimately relying on Facebook and Instagram before the pandemic, it has been a true test as to how this new function will work.

These businesses will also be able to connect with consumers in a way they may never have done before. After all, if consumers are looking for recent updates on a small business or to find out their opening hours, their first port of call is likely to be Facebook or Instagram.

In recent months, we have been able to see many small businesses get online for the first time, who may have not previously had an online presence. However big or small, any business will be able to use Facebook Shop to help them survive during this time. Whilst this update certainly won’t make up for the loss of business, it will support economic recovery efforts.

What Does This Mean For Consumers?

For consumers, this makes the purchase process as easy as possible and opens consumers up to a variety of small businesses that they otherwise would have no knowledge of. The most important change is how consumers will be able to discover shops.

The Facebook Shop feature will improve the standard commerce experience by storing payment credentials in a single safe place, meaning that consumers can easily and quickly purchase products in a few clicks. These credentials can also be used on any Facebook or Instagram storefront.

Facebook is hoping to allow consumers to make purchases directly from the chat windows and shopping from live streams, which will become an excellent shopping experience for consumers connecting with their favourite brands. These products or services will eventually be accessible in a tagged item towards the bottom of a live video so that when a consumer discovers a product they like from a Facebook Live, they will be able to navigate straight over to the product without needing to physically search.

Other Updates We Expect to See From Facebook Shop

Whilst this is still in the pipeline, it has been revealed that we may expect to see a loyalty program integrated with Facebook Shop. This means that consumers will be able to take advantage of loyalty schemes and keep track of points and rewards, whilst businesses are able to use these loyalty schemes to attract more customers and repeat business.

How Can Digital Ethos Help?

All of these tools are open for business, even when your physical store can’t be. Wherever you are in the world, if you’re running a small business or even thinking of starting one, you’ll have an incredible suite of tools readily available, which you may never have had before.

Our social media marketing process ensures that your business gets a social media marketing campaign specifically tailored to your business’ goals.

If you’re interested in how your business could benefit from expert social media marketing to boost your social media presence or have any further enquiries, please do get in touch.

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