Facebook says that it has always been about connecting users to what you love, including friends, family, products, brands and businesses.

"For years, people have used our apps to buy and sell things from the early days of posting a photo of a bicycle with the caption 'for sale', to selling your coffee table on Marketplace and now shopping styles from your favorite brands and influencers on Instagram," says the team at Facebook. 

"It was the people who use our apps who envisioned social commerce. We're helping them make it a reality," adds the team. "Right now, many small businesses are struggling and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online."

"Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from a small business owner to a global brand to use our apps to connect with customers. That's why we're launching Facebook Shops and investing in features across our apps that inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier," says the team. 

"Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and then customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand," adds the team. "This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it's convenient for them." 

According to Facebook, individuals can find Facebook Shops on a business's Facebook Page or Instagram profile, or discover them through stories or ads.

From there, they can browse the full collection, save products that they are interested in and place an order either on the business's website or without leaving the app if the business has enabled checkout in the United States.

The social media platform also says that in Facebook Shops, users will be able to message a business through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support, track deliveries and more. And in the future, users will be able to view a business's shop and make purchases right within a chat in WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct.

"We're also investing in features across our apps like Instagram Shop, live shopping and more that will be integrated with Facebook Shops to help customers discover products they're interested in and make purchasing easier," says the team at Facebook.

"This summer, starting in the United States, we're introducing Instagram Shop, a new way to discover and buy products you love in Instagram Explore," the Facebook team says.

"You can get inspired by collections from @shop, browse selections from your favorite brands and creators, filter by categories like beauty and home and purchase the looks you love all in one place. And later this year, we're adding a new shop tab in the navigation bar, so you can get to Instagram Shop in just one tap," the team says. 

Live shopping features

According to the team, people have been using live video on its apps to showcase products from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks.

Now, the platform says that it is making it easier to shop for products in real-time. Facebook says that, soon, sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.

"We're starting to test this with businesses on Facebook and Instagram, and we'll roll it out more broadly in the coming months," the Facebook team says. 

Connecting loyalty programmes to users' Facebook accounts

"We're also testing ways to make it easier to earn rewards with businesses you love by enabling you to connect your loyalty programmes, like the points programme at your local cafe, to your Facebook account," adds the team.

"You'll be able to easily see and keep track of your points and rewards. And we're exploring ways to help small businesses create, manage and surface a loyalty program on Facebook Shops," says the team. 

Working with partners

"We're also working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they need," The team says.
According to Facebook, these organisations offer powerful tools to help entrepreneurs start and run their businesses and move online. "We hope these tools can relieve some of the pressure small businesses are facing right now and help businesses of all sizes prepare for the future," the Facebook team concludes.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com.