It is the latest step taken by Facebook and Instagram in support of e-commerce. There had already been effort in this direction for a while. For instance, Facebook had already boasted its Marketplace feature, which allows users to buy and sell new or used items. This new tool, however, opens up a multitude of possibilities for businesses.
Without doubt, the new feature is well-timed. The pandemic has helped to push consumers more toward online information about businesses and, by extension, more online shopping. That is true not just in regards to retail behemoths such as Walmart and Amazon but also small, local retailers. Therefore, it makes sense to enable people to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite businesses’ Facebook and Instagram profiles.
The new tool could be a boon to businesses. With the pandemic putting the crunch on many small businesses, this could be a vital way to connect to the consumer– bringing in money even when the business is unable to physically bring in customers through the doors.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has even touted the new feature as a way to help businesses. While it is not a perfect fix, it is a way for businesses to survive in an otherwise harsh economic landscape. It is also something that is tailored for the expected continuation of an online-focused society that is anticipated as an outgrowth of COVID-19.
The feature was designed to make business owners’ lives easier, too. It was created to be simple-to-use, and it is free. All a business needs to do is upload its catalog, choose what products it wishes to feature, and do minor customization for cover image and accent colors.
There is more coming, too. There is a planned roll out for a feature called Instagram Shop, which is scheduled for this summer. Another feature that is coming to Facebook is a way for consumers to connect loyalty programs to their accounts.