Facebook on Tuesday debuted Facebook Shop -- a new section of its flagship app for users to find new businesses and shop for various products.
The move was a no-brainer in light of the pandemic, which has led to a surge in ecommerce, according to the social giant.
Facebook recently began testing the service in the United States, and launched a complementary shopping destination on Instagram, dubbed Instagram Shop, in July.
Not to be confused with Shop, Facebook launched its Shops service earlier this year as part of a broader effort to help businesses set up online stores accessible on both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook, which last year launched limited shopping capabilities on Instagram and the WhatsApp messaging app, is looking to drive new ad revenue by making the service free to businesses.
“The basic idea is that any small business can easily start a shop to sell things directly across our apps,” Facebook’s cofounder-CEO Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year. “If you visit someone’s shop, you'll be able to see that small business’s story, see their featured products, and buy them in our apps.”
In the coming weeks, all eligible U.S. sellers can start using checkout on Instagram, Facebook announced on Tuesday.
To use checkout, businesses must have Shops and use Facebook Commerce Manager or one of two Facebook ecommerce partners – Shopify or BigCommerce.
Citing its concern for business amid the pandemic and resulting financial crisis, Facebook is also waiving selling fees for businesses through the end of the year.
If having ecommerce and associated marketing access to Facebook’s massive platforms proves successful, these businesses could find their fates closely tied to their Facebook relationships going forward.
Businesses can host and promote their shops on their Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, or through stories or ads.
Shoppers can browse and save products, and, while businesses can choose to take orders through their sites, Facebook has made it attractive for them to use an integrated checkout feature.Users can also message the seller through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to ask questions, get support or track deliveries.