Facebook Making It Easier to Shop in Facebook and Instagram

The social platform unveils Shops, a marketplace for small businesses

Your favorite shops are struggling and closing. Facebook Shops might be a low-cost way for them to survive and for you to shop in them without the stress of actually visiting a physical store.

Facebook Shops
Facebook Shops. Facebook

First, Facebook made it easier for us to avoid garage sales with Marketplace. Now, with the introduction of Facebook Shops, it's tackling shopping at small businesses, many of which are struggling in the unprecedented economic downturn precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is it: Facebook Shops (and its twin Instagram Shop), is a new platform that lets small businesses set up storefronts on their Facebook Business pages where they can display product offerings. Consumers can browse the shops, save product, and even buy them.

Checking out: Unless these shops have Facebook's Checkout service enabled, which was introduced a year ago on Instagram, the Facebook Shops will direct buyers to the seller's web site. If they do use Checkout, Facebook typically charges a 5% fee per transaction, but because of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, Facebook recently waived sellers fees through 6/30/2020

Need help? Facebook is also integrated customer support through its own chat apps, including Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct.

When can I shop? Facebook started rolling out Shops today, which means, even if it is available on your Facebook app, small businesses still have to build out their shops.

What about Instagram: The new Shop (notice the dropped "s") will be under the Explore button and found through product collections in the @shop account. Eventually, Shop will get its own Instagram navigation tab.

Bottom line: Some of people's beloved small local shops are now shutting down, unable to survive with with virtually no foot traffic. Facebook Shops may provide a life preserver for some of them. As for buyers, they have to weigh whether or not they want to add yet more information to Facebook's vast personal data pile.

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