Facebook is launching a mobile-first online shopfront for retailers as it continues to ramp up its ecommerce offering for direct-to-consumer brands.
The free Facebook Shops tool will enable brands to set up a single online store for customers on Facebook and Instagram, and it is the first in a package of tools that the social media titan will roll out in the coming months.
Facebook said Shops will enable businesses to choose the products they want to feature from their catalogue and allow them to brand the shop with customised colours, cover image and font.
The company said about 160 million businesses use its apps every month and claimed that many of them are being forced to change their model and adapt to selling online.
The shift to ecommerce has accelerated as consumers work from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook is competing with Amazon, whose sales have surged during the pandemic, and Google, which has made shopping ads free.
Facebook also plans to launch Live Shopping features enabling sellers, brands and creators to tag products featured in their Live videos and link viewers straight to the product in their Facebook Shop or catalogue, as well as loyalty programmes to make it easier for consumers to earn rewards with their preferred brands.
The Shops tool was built in London, Facebook’s largest engineering office outside the US, and the company said it will increase its ads engineering team to support the initiative’s development.
Facebook said it is also working more closely with companies that might be considered rivals in the DTC hosting space, such as Shopify, BigCommerce and Channel Advisor, to provide support tools for small businesses that try to migrate their operation to online.