Facebook to help struggling retailers create online stores
"This is the biggest step that we've taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps," Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
"If you're running a small business or if you're thinking about starting one even from your living room, you have a whole suite of tools available that can help."
The primary focus of Facebook's "Shops" is to make it easy businesses to have online storefronts to survive during the crisis and ride the online shopping trend into the future, according to Zuckerberg.
"We really hope that our commerce solutions help businesses not only survive but thrive during coming months, and adapt to new consumer behavior," said Instagram Shopping product lead Layla Amjadi.
Merchants in the US can use a Facebook checkout service to handle transactions, paying a nominal fee.
Shops will roll out in coming months to some 160 million businesses that already use the social network.
Virtual dressing rooms
Zuckerberg said information about what people buy will be kept private unless shoppers want to tell friends about purchases.
Facebook plans to eventually weave Shops into its Messenger and WhatsApp communication platforms.
"People have been using live video on our apps to showcase products for years, from shoe stores announcing new sneakers to beauty influencers trying on different lipsticks," Facebook said.
"Now, we’re making it easier to shop for products in real time."
"I hope that we can at least help build some of the infrastructure that businesses need not only in this moment but going forward as well," Zuckerberg said.
"Because even when this period and the lockdowns pass... we're going to continue living more of our lives, and doing business, online."