Facebook wants to make it easier for retailers to create online shops on the network. With its 2.6 billion members, the network could properly shift the weights in online trading. And at the same time gets access to new data on purchasing behavior.
Facebook wants to become the platform for online trading – and with its huge reach and technical strengths it could stir up business. Retailers can now easily create online shops that can be reached via Facebook and Instagram. There is also “Live Shopping”: the opportunity to sell goods in a video livestream. Germany is among the first countries in which Facebook shops have been set up since Tuesday evening.
The project should help smaller companies in particular to survive the corona crisis, said Facebook founder and boss Mark Zuckerberg of the German Press Agency. “It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while, but when Covid-19 came out, it got really critical and urgent.” Many smaller companies – whose advertisements are important for Facebook’s business – were on the verge of looking for a way out in the online business. That is why the development of Facebook shops was “drastically accelerated”.
Setup is free
For Facebook itself, the shopping platform will provide data on customer behavior – similar to other online network offers, as Zuckerberg emphasized. “We will see which shops they interact with, what products they are interested in, what they buy and so on.” At the moment, however, no function was provided to share this information with friends, and nobody else except the user, the shop and Facebook had access to it. With the data, however, the online network could continue to perfect its lucrative ability to get advertisers to the right addressees for their ads.
Setting up the Facebook shops will be free of charge for retailers, said Zuckerberg. Fees would only be payable for payment functions, for example – “but the main thing is to cover our costs.” Facebook assumes that advertisements from retailers will increase the revenue of the online network. “Our advertising system works with auctions where a company offers as much as an ad is worth. If we can make an ad more valuable because someone who clicks on it is more likely to buy something, we will make more money from advertising “he described Facebook’s train of thought.
Linking different services
Facebook also wants to score points by linking its various services. So you will be able to write to an online shop via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or the chat function of Instagram.
If a credit card is stored in the Facebook system, you can pay directly with it. Trying on and trying on – for example cosmetics, clothing or glasses – is to be made easier with the help of “augmented reality”, in which virtual content on the display is mixed with real images. For example, you can show makeup colors on the face or pieces of furniture in the room. The online network is also working on the integration of bonus point programs.
Some categories, such as weapons, will not be available on the platform, even if their sale would be legal, said Zuckerberg.
Competitor for Amazon and eBay
Facebook with its 2.6 billion users and a well-established online advertising system could become a powerful competitor even for large trading platforms such as Amazon and eBay. The shopping initiative should also draw the attention of regulators – like everything a company the size of Facebook does, said Zuckerberg. “But I don’t think our reaction can be to not do anything new.”
Many people and companies wanted to use Facebook’s products and relied on them. “We have a responsibility to be innovative and I think we are one of the institutions around the world that can really help.”