A free, online store set up within minutes? Sounds crazy? Well Facebook and Instagram have made this a reality with their new Facebook Shop feature, annouced this Month.
We want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. And we want to help small businesses adapt and make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love.Facebook
A couple of days ago, Facebook announced their release of ‘Facebook shops’. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the launch as a way to help small businesses to move their businesses online. The new functionality allows a small business to set up a shop within their Facebook or Instagram page. It also allows larger retailers to showcase key collections and products on a visual, engaging platfrom where their community regularly visits.
Facebook will soon be adding functionality for customers to shop directly through the app, making them one of the worlds biggest online retail platforms with over 1.6B users on Facebook and 1B on Instagram. But how will this change the world of eCommerce?
After speaking with Facebook last month, Facebook cautioned that revenue from ad sales was slowing, driven by changed consumer buying behaviour due to Coronavirus. At the beginning of this year, Facebook share value dropped by 8%. Is Facebook Shop an attempt to open a new revenue stream for the tech giant?
Using Facebook to sell products and services isn’t new. The Facebook marketplace feature has been live since 2016. However, it hasn’t been a huge revenue driver for the platform. Furthermore, with users primarily using marketplaces to buy/sell second-hand goods in their local communities, the data return on Facebook users’ online shopping habits wouldn’t have been very strong, either.
Mark Zuckerberg stated during the announcement that this ‘isn’t a move designed to last only until the world returns to a (new) normal. This is the new normal.’ Facebook will probably aim to get as many small retailers and hospitality businesses to sign up as possible and then work toward getting the big retail giants on board.
But what’s next? Their challenge now is how to roll out payment gateways within the app, competing with Visa and Mastercard. How will customers respond to this new way of making a purchase, and will they have the standing chance to compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay?