Facebook Shop Debuts on the Social Network’s Flagship Mobile App

On the business side, new features are coming to Facebook Shops

Facebook Shop is a new destination within the flagship mobile app Facebook

Facebook Tuesday introduced Facebook Shop, a new place within its flagship mobile application for users to find products from businesses they already like, discover new businesses and make purchases, all in one place and without leaving the app.

The feature’s Instagram Shop counterpart began rolling out on that platform in the U.S. in July, with Instagram saying at the time that it would go global in the coming weeks.

The social network cited data from GWI, which found that 85% of people worldwide are now shopping online.

Not to be confused with Facebook Shop, Facebook Shops, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced in May, enable businesses to establish a singe online store that potential customers can access via Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook said Tuesday that in the coming weeks, Facebook Shops will be available to all eligible businesses, and improvements will be added including customization features, messaging and new insights to enable those businesses to better measure their results.

New features coming to Facebook Shops include:

  • New design layouts for featuring single products or groups of products.
  • Real-time preview of collections as they are designed.
  • The ability to automatically create Shops for new sellers.
  • New insights to measure results in Commerce Manager.

Also in the coming weeks, all eligible sellers in the U.S. will have the option of using Instagram Checkout, which enables people to complete transactions in a few taps and without leaving the app.

In order to qualify, businesses must have Shops and use Commerce Manager or Facebook partners BigCommerce or Shopify, and the social network said more platform partners will be supported soon.

With the current economic crisis, largely driven by the coronavirus pandemic, in mind, Facebook is waiving selling fees for businesses through the end of the year in order to reduce the cost of doing business online.

Facebook is testing a messaging button on Facebook Shops that will give customers the option of messaging businesses via Instagram Direct, Messenger From Facebook or WhatsApp.

The social network said in a blog post Tuesday, “Messaging through Shops combines the in-store experience of being able to ask a salesperson questions with the convenience of online shopping. Messaging allows businesses to provide personalized assistance so people can make more informed decisions about their purchase … Customers can view products right within the chat, making it easy to share products with friends and family to get feedback before making a purchase.”

The new feature is currently being tested on Instagram Direct and Messenger, with WhatsApp to follow soon.

Finally, Facebook continues to test Facebook Live Shopping and Instagram Live Shopping, saying that the former now includes new features to enables businesses to more easily set up Live experiences featuring products from their Shops and to sell directly through those videos.

BigCommerce CEO Brent Bellm said in a statement, “Creating a streamlined checkout experience is paramount for merchants looking to social commerce to drive revenue growth. The rollout of Checkout on Instagram is another significant step in Instagram’s evolution toward becoming an essential commerce channel for customer-focused brands, BigCommerce is proud to be one of a select group of partners to offer their customers access to this innovative new feature at launch.”

Shopify vice president of product Satish Kanwar added, “As the retail operating system behind more than 1 million merchants across the world, Shopify is dedicated to continually expanding our marketing and sales channels to make commerce better for everyone. By deepening our partnership, we can continue to offer our merchants new ways of using Facebook and Instagram to reach and engage with consumers—all managed centrally from Shopify.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.