Facebook is doubling-down on its e-commerce business and attempting to make shopping a destination in its main app, similarly to how it’s already done inside Instagram. As a test in the US today, the company is launching Facebook Shop, a tab within the main Facebook app where people will be able to find products to buy and then purchase within the app.
At the same time, the company is expanding its Shops product, which launched earlier this year and lets people sell products on Facebook and Instagram, to all eligible businesses globally, along with new customization options, messaging, and insights to measure results. Sellers will be able to communicate with their customers through Messenger, Instagram Direct, and eventually WhatsApp, too. Sellers will also be able to host Live Shopping events during which they live stream and show off products that customers can buy directly through the stream on either Facebook or Instagram.
Finally, Instagram Checkout, which allows brands to complete transactions through the app, is also expanding to all eligible sellers in the US. Transaction fees will be waived through the end of the year because of the pandemic. (Facebook updated its commerce eligibility requirements this summer to make sure authentic businesses were the only ones selling products, instating one possible qualification of maintaining a “sufficient follower base.”)
All these product updates and expansions point to Facebook’s seriousness about shopping as a business line. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he expected commerce and payments to be the future of the company in 2019, and he’s making good on that promise. Still, Facebook is holding off on monetizing the transactions taking place on its platform for now, but when it eventually starts collecting those fees, it’ll likely become a major revenue line and diversify the company away from advertising.
Correction 8/25, 11:09 AM ET: This piece originally stated that Shops was only available to US businesses; it is available globally. Instagram Checkout and Live Shopping are available only in the US.