How Facebook Plans To Move In On E-Commerce

By Ben Hamill - May 25 2020
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How Facebook Plans To Move In On E-Commerce

Not only does Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook own Instagram, and more recently WhatsApp too, but the social media mogul now wants to control the online shopping experience as well, a privilege currently enjoyed mainly by Jeff Bezos’ Amazon. According to an announcement by Zuckerberg early last week, the Facebook CEO wants to offer to small business owners and specifically small retailers, the opportunity to sell their wares and services online without in a way that is instant and supposedly more cost-effective, or in other words, completely Amazon-free whilst at the same time boosting Facebook’s biggest step yet in e-commerce.

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The new feature for online sellers is called Facebook Shops. The feature basically allows people to browse and pay for items without ever having to leave their Facebook or Instagram profiles/accounts, i.e. via an in-account online storefront tab. Instagram will apparently be adding its own tab reserved exclusively for hassle-free online shopping to the application’s main navigation bar within the course of the coming few months.  

A New Way To Shop Old Style

Online shopping has, given a rapid escalation in internet selling and buying, grown in leaps and bounds ever since the beginning of the year. Folks have been staying home and the result has been a massive and sudden drop in visits to non-essential physical stores and shops. Facebook is quite obviously eager to take advantage of the new focus on online trade, a changing dynamic that’s served businesses like Amazon and Walmart in tremendous ways.

By moving in on e-commerce in the way that it plans to, Facebook obviously hopes to benefit even more from paying advertisers than the social media behemoth already is. The “commercial truth” pushed by Facebook and Instagram has been that of their specific app-style approach encouraging the discovery and the “experience of shopping” remarkably similar to what older generations would have experienced visiting a mall or large shopping centre. Amazon and Walmart rely instead on serving the shopper who knows what it is that he or she wants to buy, i.e. more get-in, get-out, less browsing.

Knowledge Is Wealth

And Facebook isn’t at all beating about the bush regarding how it plans to make the most of what it knows about each individual potential shopper either (did someone say Cambridge Analytica?). A recent blog post states brazenly that Facebook will be using online social media activity as a means to personalise the shopper-experience in a more relevant way.

The recent intensified focus on online shopping has caused Facebook to focus anew on working with e-commerce companies specialising in online retail software development and management – an example being Canadian software giant Shopify. And according to Shopify executive Satish Kanwar, the time to cash in on online consumer behaviour is now, since according to Kanwar, people are much more at ease interacting with retailers on social media platforms now than what had been the case only a couple of years ago.

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