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Facebook Launch New Shopping Portal For Retailers & SMEs

Facebook has sought to further challenge e-comm giants like eBay, with news it will launch a virtual shopping platform (‘Facebook Shops’) specifically for small to midsize businesses and distributors – many reeling from the ‘economic shock’ of COVID19.

The news will see the social media behemoth make big expansions into online shopping, leveraging existing popularity towards its Marketplace platform for buying second-hand goods.

Facebook Shops will reportedly engage small businesses to sell their goods via its platform, and aid their back-end operations with use of its technology.

Listed businesses will be able to customise their virtual shopfronts with a personalised product listing for audience relevancy, and if required can employ augmented reality tech to allow customers to virtual ‘try on’ items (e.g. try sunglasses, position furniture in homes).

The new platform of virtual shops are set to roll-out on Facebook and Instagram, plus eventually WhatsApp and Messenger too.

The use of engaging Facebook’s existing social media platforms has sparked commentator remarks it could attract favourable momentum fast, whilst potentially gaining an edge over the more static listings of eBay(in the small business niches).

For example, the company is set integrate a dedicated shopping tab within Instagram.

The project has involved tech partners like Shopify and has reportedly been several months in the making. 

Latest Shopify numbers claims almost one third of small businesses had ceased operations amid the COVID19 pandemic, prompting demand for new tools to engage new buyers.

Mr Zuckerberg has called the coronavirus pandemic the biggest economic shock seen in many people’s lifetimes.

Facebook Shops will commence international roll-out today, with “more wide availability” in coming months. Instagram Shop will first debut in the US too.

Further information on Facebook Shops is available via the company’s blog post here.

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