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Facebook recently launched Facebook Shops, and plans to add Shops to Instagram by the summer. The new e-commerce platform connects businesses to users in a whole new way. Shops allow consumers to make purchases within Facebook and Instagram, as well as Messenger.

The storefronts are free to businesses and can be used in conjunction with their current e-commerce site, or as a standalone shop. For small businesses this could mean getting online for the first time.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a live stream explaining the new release which is already available on Facebook. He stated, “If you can’t physically open your store or restaurant, you can still take orders online and ship them to people,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that never had online businesses get online for the first time.”

How it Works

If you use Facebook or Instagram, you’re likely already following businesses you love. Stores and restaurants use these platforms to post new products, upcoming sales, and provide you incentives to shop their establishments.

With Facebook Shops, if the merchant has enabled it, you can buy their products or even place to-go orders online. From start to finish the shopping experience can happen in one place – Facebook.

Facebook will store your payment credentials that can be used on both Facebook and Instagram shops. If the business has setup shops you’ll be able to find their shop on their businesses Facebook page or Instagram profile.

From there, you can shop their products or save items for later. Businesses have two options when it comes to taking payments. If they’ve set up Facebook payments you’ll make your transaction directly on Facebook. Other businesses will take you to the businesses’ website to complete the transaction.

Supporting Small Businesses

Facebook Shops may be the only way you can support small businesses that don’t have an e-commerce site. If they didn’t previously have e-commerce capabilities, they may be open for business on Facebook.

Many people are eager to support small businesses more than ever in the wake of the pandemic. If you have a local business you love or want to discover new businesses, Facebook may be the place to shop.

The only thing businesses are charged for are the payment fees associated with the orders they get (if they use Facebook payments). For businesses, this is a great way for them to connect with consumers and make it easy to shop.

If you haven’t checked out your favorite small businesses’ Facebook pages recently, now is the time!