Facebook extends Shops to WhatsApp, Marketplace - Major e-commerce push

Screenshot of Facebook Shops now extended to WhatsApp
(Image credit: Facebook)

As the economic lockdown continues across the globe and e-commerce becomes even more crucial, Facebook has unveiled new ways to shop through it apps, as the social media platform is expanding 'Shops' to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace. It is also coming up with a new visual product search option on Instagram

As it happened, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the platform's new Live Audio Rooms feature to share the e-commerce updates.

"We’re making it even easier for people to discover and buy from Shops. Soon, we’ll give businesses in select countries the option to showcase their Shop in WhatsApp," he said.

Facebook also said it would launch an artificial intelligence tool called 'Visual Search' on Instagram that can help users click on items and find similar products in Shops.

1.2 million active Shops

Facebook Shops is basically a customizable online storefront, and is available on the Instagram profile or the Facebook page of the business. Facebook automatically identifies and tag products in the feed making it easier for the users to purchase products. It was launched last year at the height of pandemic.

Facebook, as of now, has over 300 million monthly visitors to Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops, and there are more than 1.2 million monthly active Shops.

Shops on WhatsApp will allow users to chat with businesses before buying something from them. 

Shops on Marketplace will let sellers set up an online store on Facebook and its allied platforms with on-site checkout.

Shops in Marketplace will be available only in the US for now, while Shops in WhatsApp will be coming to several countries, including India, which is its biggest market with close to 500 million users.

Visual search on Instagram & customised ads for Shops

Instagram's new visual search tool

Instagram's new visual search tool. (Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook said that over the next few months, it will expand ratings and reviews to products in Shops on Instagram.

Further, with new visual discovery tools on Instagram, "we’re helping shoppers find new products, and with AR experiences we’re helping people visualize items before they buy," Facebook said.

Users will be able to use this search from content on the app or on photos on their own camera rolls. Facebook is also working on ways using augmented reality that shoppers to try on items, including from ads.

Facebook is also introducing personalized Shops ads solutions that deliver experiences based on people’s shopping preferences.

"In the future, we’ll explore ways to help brands further personalize their Shops ads by providing special offers or promotions to select shoppers," it said.


Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.