Facebook launches Shops, to give businesses their own (Facebook-hosted) online store


Facebook’s been on a bit of a roll of late, first launching features designed to improve the visibility of small businesses and now something a little more detailed. Facebook Shops is a new aspect of Facebook (and soon, Instagram) that’ll give every small business something it really needs — its own store.

What’s in store

In a nutshell, Facebook Shops is a new feature of a business Facebook Page, allowing for the creation of an online store within the social network. Companies can create a simple storefront, featuring products and info with a customised look to the shop. Why? “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,” according to the company.

This isn’t really a tool for businesses that don’t have an online presence at all, though. Unless that is, you’re in the States. Facebook says that shoppers will be able to browse through and save items they’re interested in, while checkout will have to take place at an external location — like your regular website. Which still isn’t a bad idea. Getting your regular store in front of Facebook’s eyeballs could be helpful to depleted bottom lines.

Other features

Facebook is also launching a Shop option in Instagram later this year, something that’ll roll out in the States first. It’ll also test live shopping — imagine seeing a live stream of a product launch and using the video to buy the product? Yeah, that’s coming to your Insta. Facebook’s also exploring ways for companies to create and integrate loyalty programs via Facebook Shops. We’re sure that won’t be used to harvest further shopping information at all.

Facebook Shops will most likely act as another stream of information to the social network behemoth. As such, the company’s got an explanation of what it’ll use the information you generate for but it’s more or less what you’d expect — Facebook’ll use browsing data generated by Facebook Shops to serve ads to customers. What it won’t be using is payment data, which’ll be encrypted and kept as safe as they can make it.


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