Facebook is expanding its Shops product to other platforms under its umbrella including WhatsApp and Instagram. 

Facebook displays how its Shops function will look like on messaging platform WhatsApp.

Existing Shops customers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Peru will now have the option to showcase their wares entirely on WhatsApp and Instagram, while its Shops Ads listings will also be made available on Facebook Marketplace.

The tech giant said this will allow customers to browse and chat with providers about specific products on the platform before deciding on a purchase, through the on-site checkout function.

In the US, business owners with a Facebook Shop can opt to share their products on the Marketplace platform as well, a channel that is used by over 1 billion people a month in the country. 

Chief executive officer of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said: “Firstly, we’re bringing [Shops] to WhatsApp, and we’re bringing them to Marketplace on Facebook, which [will] make it easier for people to find [the] products or brands that they want to engage with.”

Shops idea appeared during the worldwide pandemic

Facebook Shops was introduced to the social network in May last year, as a move to support small businesses online during the pandemic, allowing them to create a single online store on Facebook and Instagram. 

Since its introduction, there have been over 300 million monthly Shops visitors and across the platforms’ 1.2 million monthly active sellers.

Facebook Marketplace on a mobile phone

Facebook will also expand its advertising offering to businesses with the introduction of the Shop Ads Solution. 

Zuckerberg said: “Shops ads [will] provide a personalised ads experience based on people’s individual shopping preferences. We’re launching the ability for a business to send shoppers to where you’re going to be most likely to make a purchase based on your shopping behaviour.”

Alongside the new additions, Instagram plans to introduce a visual search function to power future purchase decisions. The addition to the image-sharing site will be powered by Facebook’s AI technology, with testing set to commence in the coming months in the US.

Zuckerberg added: “A lot of shopping discovery begins with visual discovery, right, so you see something that you think is awesome. And then, you know, maybe you want to see other products that are like that, or you want to figure out how to get that product. And this is the type of problem that AI can really help out with.”