Tuesday 19 May 2020 7:35 pm

Facebook launches new shopping feature to help small firms move online

Small businesses will be able to open a single online store selling products through Facebook and Instagram thanks to a new feature launched by the tech giant today.

Facebook Shops, which will be rolled out over the coming months, allows customers to buy products through a firm’s business Facebook page or Instagram profile, or through stories and ads.

The social media firm said the free tool, one of a string of new features to be introduced this year, is aimed at supporting small retailers that have been impacted by store closures during the Covid-19 crisis.

Facebook said it will expand its ads engineering team to support the new shopping tool, which was built at the tech giant’s London engineering hub.

Facebook Shops will allow businesses to choose the products they want to sell and then customise the look and feel of the virtual shop front.

Customers will also be able to message a business through Whatsapp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to get support and track deliveries.

It comes after Facebook launched digital gift cards allowing users of its platforms to support small businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.

Other new features in the pipeline include Instagram Shop, a new tool allowing users to discover and buy products through the social media platform’s explore tab.

Instagram Shop will initially be launched in the US this summer, while later in the year it will be added to the navigation bar.

Facebook is also set to roll out new live shopping features that will enable brands and influencers to tag products displayed in live videos.

“Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online,” Facebook said in a statement.

“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.”

Main image credit: Facebook