In May, Facebook started rolling out Facebook Shops. This latest foray into e-commerce from the social network is designed to help businesses stay afloat as they face a challenging market.
Small businesses can set up an online store their customers can access on Facebook and Instagram. Sure, you have your website, which will always be a valuable asset. However, your Shop, which shows up on the business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile, enables you to take your selling social. You can interact with your customers in real time and ultimately improve your bottom line.
Since Facebook prides itself on being a user-friendly platform, these Shops are designed to mimic live shopping experiences as much as possible. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog, customize the look and feel of their shop, and communicate with customers through Instagram Direct, Messenger or WhatsApp.
Facebook wants online retailers to have a unified presence across the Facebook family of apps. Your customers can choose to check out on Facebook or Instagram and, soon, they’ll also be able to check out on WhatsApp or Messenger.
Facebook’s image recognition
For years, companies have been using images, as well as live and pre-recorded video, on social media to highlight their products and services.
Facebook’s new shopping technology takes things up several notches.
Facebook built a universal computer vision system, designed for shopping, called GrokNet. This product recognition model can identify fine-grained product attributes across billions of photos in a variety of categories.
By using artificial intelligence to automatically identify and tag products, photos become shoppable. Businesses can upload their offerings. And customers can easily find and purchase the products they seek.
AI, AR, Digital Assistants and more
Facebook will be combining artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and even digital assistants, as they build out “social first” shopping.
For instance, Facebook is creating a state of the art technique to predict layered objects, such as clothes, in photos. Additionally Facebook will be introducing Rotating View. This state-of-the-art 3D-like photo capability will allow anyone to use the camera on their phone to capture multi-dimensional panoramic views of products and then upload them.
Also coming soon is the ability to sell products during live videos. Small businesses will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog. Then, those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap, learn more, and purchase.
As businesses work to find their footing, Shops is a nice addition to the small business toolkit to explore needed new revenue streams. And we all could use extra help these days.
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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