Facebook brings Shops to WhatsApp

among several other interesting updates.

Big news from Facebook. The social media giant announced several updates for its products that will expand the shopping opportunities in various of Facebook’s apps. The announcements were made in a live stream by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and in the Facebook Newsroom.

The three major updates are:

– Shops is coming to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace

– Instagram gets an AI-based Visual Search feature

– Personalised Shops Ads

With the latest updates, Facebook is pushing further into the e-commerce sector.

Let’s take a look at what’s about to come.

Facebook Shops on WhatsApp and Marketplace

Certainly the biggest announcement: Shops will be integrated into WhatsApp. In June 2020, Facebook accelerated the rollout of Shops for Facebook and Instagram to support businesses in selling online. It was only a matter of time before this initiative was expanded to include Whatsapp. In October 2020, Facebook already introduced the WhatsApp Shopping button for businesses, that takes WhatsApp users directly from the chat screen to the business’s catalog.

Now businesses in several countries will get the opportunity to showcase offerings from their Shops in WhatsApp as well. Which gives WhatsApp users another way to find relevant products and product information, browse inventories, see product information and chat about specific items.

Br24 Facebook brings Shops to WhatsApp: View of Shops in WhatsApp
Image: © Facebook

“We’re bringing Shops to WhatsApp which will make it easier for people to find the products or brands that they want to engage with,” said Zuckerberg. “Businesses only need to set up their shop once to have it work across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.”

In addition, Facebook brings Shop listings to Facebook Marketplace as well. Thus providing more ways for businesses to reach interested shoppers and encourage browsing and buying activities.

Br24 Facebook brings Shops to WhatsApp: View of Shops in Facebook Marketplace
Image: © Facebook

According to Facebook, the rollout for Shops in WhatsApp will start soon for several countries. Shops listings in Marketplace will be available only in the US for now.

Instagram Visual Search

Facebook will also roll out an AI-based Visual Search feature for Instagram.

“A lot of shopping discovery begins with visual discovery. You see something that you think is awesome, and then 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 artificial intelligence can really help out with […] We’re getting ready to start rolling out and testing an experience (on Instagram) that we’re calling visual search,” Zuckerberg announced.

Br24 Facebook brings Shops to WhatsApp: View of Instagram Visual Search
Image: © Facebook

Visual Search will help users to find similar products on Instagram based on images and videos. Simply by tapping on a picture or video from their camera. Facebook isn’t the first company to use this technology. Pinterest Lens and Google Lens enable users to scan real world items, or use uploaded photos and videos, to find similar products.

Visual Search for Instagram will roll out for testing in the US in the coming months.

Personalised Shops Ads

Zuckerberg also announced “Shop Ads: we’re launching new ads to personalize the shopping experience and point you to a Shop’s curated collection.” The feature aims to provide unique ads and individualised shopping experiences based on people’s shopping behaviour.

Br24 Facebook brings Shops to WhatsApp: Example of Facebook's AR try-on feature in Shops
Image: © Facebook

In addition, Facebook expands the already existing ads with product tags and will build additional features for Collaborative Ads.

What else?

Facebook is also expanding it’s Augmented Reality (AR) features. In the future, there will be easier, faster and more cost-efficient ways for brands to create AR try-on experiences in Shops, as well as new tools to integrate AR product catalogues for Dynamic Ads on Facebook.


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