The pandemic has forced many businesses to shift online, and Facebook made a big announcement in May around the ability of merchants to create Facebook Shops that are viewable on both Facebook and Instagram. More recently, Instagram launched a redesigned Shop section, where users can browse products from their favorite brands and creators.
Now the company is bringing a similar experience to the main Facebook app. The company said that in the United States, it’s started testing a new section called Facebook Shop — like Instagram Shop, it’s basically a shopping destination where you can find products from a variety of different businesses. (This is distinct from Facebook Marketplace, which is designed for peer-to-peer sales.)
Director of Product Management George Lee told me the goal is to create something that’s “unique to the Facebook app and the Facebook community.”
“That’s not to say that there aren’t learnings across the board,” he said. “[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.”
In addition, the company is announcing new tools for businesses running Facebook Shops, including new design layouts, the ability to see a real-time preview of collections, the ability to automatically create Shops if you’re a new seller and new data in Commerce Manager. Shops will also feature a new messaging option for customers to send sellers a message through Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram Direct.
On the Instagram side, the company said all sellers in the United States will be able to use the Instagram checkout feature “in the coming weeks,” managed either through Facebook’s Commerce Manager or through partners platforms BigCommerce and Shopify (with more integrations planned). Instagram will waive its selling fee for checkout through the rest of the year.
The company has also been testing a live shopping experience, where businesses can show off products in a live video, while consumers can browse the highlighted products and make purchases. Instagram Live Shopping should now be available to all sellers using Instagram Live Shopping in the United States.
“We’ve seen live shopping take off in other parts of the world,” said Instagram’s vice president of product Vishal Shah. “The pandemic has really changed behavior from a consumer perspective, so we’re moving as fast as we can to bring out these tools to help [businesses respond].”