Watch your back, Jim Bezos, because Mark Zuckerberg is coming for you.

Facebook has announced the launch of Facebook Shops, a digital shopfront for businesses embedded within their Instagram profile or Facebook page. Designed primarily for mobile devices, it allows users of Instagram and Facebook to make purchases without leaving the social media app.

Facebook had previously made a foray into the world of e-commerce through its Marketplace. Facebook Shops is different though, because it will allow businesses to create customised online stores where users can make direct purchases. It’s like a version of eBay within Facebook and Instagram.

On the surface, Facebook Shops aims to place power into the hands of business owners, opening their stores to broader markets in a digital environment that is familiar to customers worldwide (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger). Looking a bit closer, Facebook believes this will unlock new advertising opportunities for businesses across its four major platforms.

Facebook Shops will enable businesses to better follow the entire customer journey – from the first click, swipe or view, to the final purchase – through integration with e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify. For marketers, this will provide fertile ground for even more targeted advertising and sales strategies.

What’s more, augmented reality will enable customers to “try before they buy,” without even stepping foot into a physical store. Customers can test drive products such as a watch they’ve had their eye on, or experiment with new nail polish colours, all from the comfort of their home.

Best of all, it’s free and will be rolled out gradually allowing time to start preparing. Stay tuned for an email from Facebook to know when it’s go-time!

The timing for the launch of Facebook Shops is pertinent, with health-related restrictions impacting business across the world. Facebook has therefore seen the door opening for this new concept and is taking a leap of faith with massive levels of investment.

Without a doubt, it will throw down a sizeable challenge to already-declining “bricks and mortar” retail and seek to de-throne major competitors like Amazon.

While it is early days for Facebook Shops, we are certain about one thing: digital content just became even more important for all businesses in the future.

Read the full announcement from Facebook here and access further Business resources here.

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