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Facebook unveils online shopping service

Facebook to compete directly with Amazon and eBay with Facebook Shops, a service which allows sellers to create digital storefronts on its platforms

Facebook is launching a shopping service on its platform, as it unveiled a service that puts it in competition with Amazon and eBay. Facebook Shops will allow sellers to create digital storefronts on Facebook or Instagram, the company said, adding that it would benefit customers by gathering valuable data on what shoppers want. 

Users will be able to browse products, message businesses to arrange purchases and, in some cases, buy them directly via an online checkout feature. 

In the US, where Facebook has rolled out a checkout service from Instagram, the company will also collect a small fee to cover credit card processing costs and fraud monitoring. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that, in the longer term, it “would be good” to host restaurant and food ordering services. The Facebook founder said that he was not trying to replicate Amazon’s “end-to-end experience” and instead would work with existing e-commerce services.

Zuckerberg added that Facebook would also integrate with shipping and logistics services.

Facebook Shops will make use of Facebook’s messaging features, with users able to contact businesses through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct Messages to ask questions or track deliveries. It will also have tools for creating and tracking loyalty programmes.

Zuckerberg said Facebook would focus the rollout of the new project in developed regions such as the US and western Europe, where the company had the resources to vet sellers properly.

 

FURTHER READING: Facebook acquires $5.7bn stake in India’s Reliance Jio

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