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Facebook Further Expands Brand Shopping Features

Facebook Launches Shopping Tab & Expands Instagram Live Shopping

Following on from Facebook’s major eCommerce upgrade in May, Facebook has announced a series of new Shopping features across Facebook and Instagram.

Of the flurry announced, the most significant development is perhaps the launch of Facebook Shop, which is a new shopping destination directly within the main Facebook app.

Much like the Instagram equivalent, which launched last month.

Instagram Shop features personalised recommendations to people based on the accounts they already follow and businesses using Instagram Shopping.

Businesses can be featured on Instagram Shop by consistently tagging products in their content and creating collections of products in their shop on Instagram.

“Facebook Shop makes it easy for people to find products from businesses they love, discover new ones and make purchases, all in one place.

We just started testing this in the US, and we launched a complementary shopping destination on Instagram in July, called Instagram Shop, where people can discover and buy products from creators and brands, all in one place.

The goal for Facebook appears to be offering a variety of commercial surfaces for brands, with each offering distinct features or benefits, rather than merely cannibalising existing elements.

George Lee, Facebook Director of Product Management via Techcrunch

“[Instagram Shop and Facebook Shop] probably look like slightly different on day one, and the goal is not to have them be cookie cutters of the same experience.”

Facebook Shop is yet another shoppable destination within the main Facebook app, with obviously Marketplace being the first, which launched in 2016.

Although Marketplace is more geared towards peer-to-peer transactions.

Expanding Functionality for Shops

Facebook and Instagram Shop are dedicated shopping destinations and vertical search engines, akin to Google Shopping.

Inevitably, as per Google Ads, brands will run dedicated Shopping ads on both Facebook and Instagram. Although how close these are is anyone’s guess. They’ve not even been mooted, let alone announced.

However, we know that within apps, and websites, where there be discovery, there be ads, so indeed it’s only a matter of time. Look at the sponsored power listings available within even Expedia, Upwork, TripAdvisor and UberEats – not to mention Amazon.

At the moment, the shopping focus appears to be more targeted towards gaining traction with users. Hence, product development is more the order of the day than monetisation.  

On that note, Facebook has also announced new tools for businesses running Facebook Shops.

“One of the easiest ways for businesses to showcase their products on Facebook and Instagram is through Facebook Shops.

We launched Shops in May, and in the coming weeks, we’re making it available to any eligible business and adding customisation features, messaging and new insights to help businesses measure results.

We’re also expanding checkout on Instagram to all US businesses and creators.”

These new features give businesses more control over how their digital storefront looks and make creating new collections easier. These include: 

  • New design layouts for featuring single products or groups of products in Shops
  • 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

Messaging & Live Shopping

With messaging now forming the spine of Facebook, it should come as no surprise to see an eCommerce cross over there also.

The new messaging button on Shops makes it easy for people to message businesses through Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram Direct.

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 feature is currently being tested on Messenger and Instagram Direct now, and will eventually be extended to WhatsApp in time.

Facebook has also been testing a live shopping experience, where brands can show off products in a live video, while consumers can browse the highlighted products and make purchases.

Instagram’s vice president of product Vishal Shah via Techcrunch

“We’ve seen live shopping take off in other parts of the world.

The pandemic has really changed behaviour from a consumer perspective, so we’re moving as fast as we can to bring out these tools to help [businesses respond].”

Although, at the moment, Live Shopping is only available in the US, but fingers crossed, it might come to a feed near you soon.

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