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Facebook Launches ‘Facebook Shops’, an Online Retail Space for Small Businesses

As startups and SMEs continue to be hit by this pandemic, the social media giant rolls out Facebook Shops as a way to enable small businesses to operate fully-fledged e-commerce platforms.

Facebook has announced the launch of a new integrated e-commerce feature called Shops, a tool for small businesses to easily have their digital storefronts so users can buy products from a businesses’ Facebook or Instagram.

The feature is a major upgrade from previous similar features such as Facebook Marketplace, and Instagram’s feature that allows users to buy products tagged in posts or ads by businesses. Shops is now a full-scale e-commerce tool that enables startups and SMEs to create their own online shop, and also help turn the social media platforms into shopping destinations during the pandemic.

During a live stream of the announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people. We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.”

E-commerce has triumphed greatly since the coronavirus crisis the world over. In the Middle East, countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Jordan have reported great spikes in online shopping since the outbreak.

The Shops feature will be free to create, and will help businesses utilise all of Facebook’s platforms such as Messenger, Instagram DMs and WhatsApp to use for their pages’ customer service. Users can browse store products easily and the new function even enables brands and creators to feature their products during live streams so that they can be purchased quickly and easily by viewers.

The social media mammoth also plans to launch another e-commerce feature on Instagram this summer called Instagram Shop, which will allow users to browse products on Instagram’s Explore tab.

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