mobile apps

By: Nick Gambino

Facebook may have started as a simple social platform for college students to link up, but it’s grown into a heck of a lot more with aspirations and ventures that seem almost unlimited. And so it goes with this week’s announcement. The social media giant has launched a dedicated new tab in their app for Facebook Shops.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to online shopping has rapidly accelerated, with an estimated 85% of people worldwide now shopping online,” a Facebook blog post announcing the new feature says. “We want to make shopping easier for people and empower anyone, from an entrepreneur to the largest brand, to use our apps to connect with customers and grow their business.”

This is in line with what Facebook-owned Instagram launched last month. Instagram Shop sports its own tab within the Explore feature. It allows you to browse and shop according to category and from curated collections, including those of your favorite creators. While shopping through Instagram has been around for a while, this new tab was an effort to make it more prominent within the app.

Facebook is doing pretty much the exact same thing with their own dedicated Facebook Shop tab. This is all part of the Shops initiative launched in May. The idea is that businesses can set up digital storefronts directly on the Facebook platform. Sellers can communicate directly to buyers and potential customers through Messenger on Facebook, Direct on Instagram and, in the near future, WhatsApp.

Facebook Shop also includes a kind of Home Shoppers Network feature where sellers can host live streams called Live Shopping, that allow them to showcase their products and boost their sales.

Part of making Shops successful is making it easy for customers to pay quickly and without hassle. That’s why Facebook launched their own pay system that allows them to store your credit card info and use that for all purchases through the platform. However, the seller is not beholden to this new system. They can opt to have the customer redirected to the seller’s own website and complete the transaction there.

I rarely navigate to the pages tab in my Facebook app, so I can’t see myself using this feature much, if at all. That being said, I’m sure there are plenty of serial shoppers who will find it useful.