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Facebook Continues E-Commerce Push

Image via Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Facebook has ramped up its e-commerce capabilities this year as it aims to become a dominant force in online shopping. With e-commerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales having more than tripled since 2007 to 16% last year, it's not surprising that Facebook is working hard to integrate shopping into Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

After launching Instagram Shop just last month, Facebook announced yesterday a handful of new features that show the company is serious about becoming a go-to e-commerce destination. Facebook cited data from GWI that found 85% of people worldwide are now shopping online.

Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Shop after first detailing its e-commerce ambitions through its Shops suite in May. Similar to the Instagram version, Facebook Shop will allow users to discover businesses and shop for products directly from the Facebook app. Businesses can set up a Facebook Shop that customers can access on both Facebook and Instagram.

"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," Facebook said. "That's why we're creating new ways for people to shop on our apps and providing tools to help businesses sell online."

Facebook also announced a handful of new features for its Shops suite, such as new design layouts, messaging capabilities and tools business owners can use for analytics. Facebook has integrated its messaging capabilities for Shops across all of its properties as businesses will be able to communicate with customers through Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram Direct.

The company also announced its Instagram checkout feature, which enables users to buy directly through Instagram without leaving the app, will be available to all eligible sellers in the U.S. in the coming weeks. Facebook will add additional partners to its current lineup of Shopify and BigCommerce, while also waiving selling fees for businesses through the end of the year to motivate sellers to sign up.

"We've seen live shopping take off in other parts of the world," Instagram vice president of product Vishal Shah said. "The pandemic has really changed behavior from a consumer perspective, so we're moving as fast as we can to bring out these tools to help."

Shares of Facebook gained more than 3.5% yesterday to a new all-time high on the news. Shares are now up more than 30% since Facebook first detailed its push into e-commerce with Shops back in May.

With e-commerce continuing to eat away at its share of overall consumer spending, Facebook is clearly wasting no time trying to play catch up with the likes of Amazon to capture its share of the market.

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