Live Commerce: Facebook Shops rollout is a big moment for social commerce – Econsultancy

For years, social commerce in the west was something of a standing joke – a series of failed platforms and clunky ‘buy’ buttons that never gained traction or captured users’ imaginations.

Then, almost overnight, social commerce (which if you’re not clued in, is the merging of ecommerce with social networking features) became a reality. Buyable Pins arrived (and stayed) on Pinterest. You could check out on Instagram. And now you can shop on Facebook.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced the roll-out of Shops across Facebook and Instagram. The feature will allow businesses to create digital storefronts where they can host ‘catalogues’ of their products, with links to purchase the product either on the retailer’s website or directly within Facebook.

Shops will have an even more prominent presence on Instagram, with a dedicated Instagram Shop button taking up residence on users’ navigation bars on the app home screen later this year – in keeping with Instagram’s history as an ecommerce-friendly platform, home to countless influencers and small businesses who use its visual interface to promote and sell their products.

There are also plans to roll out Shops across Facebook’s social chat apps WhatsApp and Messenger further down the line.

A visualisation of what Shops will look like on Facebook (source: Facebook)

Seizing the online shopping opportunity

You can be forgiven for thinking, “Wait, couldn’t you shop on Facebook and Instagram already?” And you’d be right – technically, we already had Facebook Marketplace, an earlier foray into social commerce launched in 2016, as well as Checkout on Instagram, introduced in 2018.

Even WhatsApp added some ecommerce functionality in 2019 with a catalogue feature for its app WhatsApp Business, which…

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