Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg yesterday (Tue., May 19, 2020) announced the launch of Facebook Shops. According to Zuckerberg, Shops will make it easier for small businesses to sell their products on Facebook and Instagram. In the future, Facebook Shops will also allow businesses to sell products to customers through the chat features of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct.
Facebook has previously let businesses list products on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Shops will let them upload their catalogs once to make them accessible across Facebook’s various apps.
“It’s one simple and consistent experience across this family of apps, which means it is easier for people,” Zuckerberg said in a live stream on Facebook. “That of course means there’ll be higher conversions and more sales for small businesses.”
Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook is ramping up its efforts to support small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. He also said that he personally was involved with the development of the feature.
Since the pandemic began, the company has announced a $100 million program to support small businesses through grants and a way for small businesses to sell gift cards directly to consumers through Facebook.
Upside | Lots of local small businesses already have a presence on Facebook. And except for advertising, much of the services are free to use.
Downside | If you ever have a dispute with a giant online company, you could lose the ability to access the site. It’s your business.
Small businesses make up the vast
majority of Facebook’s more than eight million advertisers.
In the past weeks, other major online social and ecommerce giants have announced initiatives and tools aimed at small businesses. In addition to direct contributions to Coronavirus relief programs, here are just a few of the small business focused programs and efforts we’ve seen.
Google Support Links and Local Tools
Google is adding tools and services that will enable verified local merchants, restaurants and other businesses to use Google My Business as a hub to post up-to-the minute information regarding a small business owner’s Google profile and maps.
Google also announced it is adding “support links” to its Business Profiles. With this feature, verified customers can support their support of favorite merchants or eateries with donations or gift card links. Merchants can also share a personal message in their post to inform customers how funds will be put to use.
Yelp described it as “an entirely reimagined platform” designed to improve the business owner’s experience, according to Alon Shiran, Yelp director of product management.
Amazon’s Small Business Tools
Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it was on track to spend $15 billion in 2019 in infrastructure, tools, services, people, and programs to help third-party — primarily small businesses — succeed. According to Amazon, small businesses are responsible for up to 58% of all physical gross merchandise sold in Amazon’s stores in 2018.