Mark Zuckerburg

Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg went live on May 19th to announce the launch of Facebook Shops in partnership with Spotify.

Zuckerberg said COVID-19 was not just a health emergency but has become the biggest “economic shock we have felt in our lifetime.”

As people were told to stay home millions of people lost jobs and small businesses closed or suffered great financial loss, Zuckerberg said.

“This creates a deeper crisis for our communities, for our ability to feed and take care of our families and for our mental health and wellbeing,” Zuckerberg said.

The economic devastation of the pandemic might be greater than the impact on society’s health, he said.

“One finding is that 31 percent of small businesses have stopped operating,” Zuckerberg said.

One of the ways businesses are surviving is moving more items online, he said.

“You can still take orders online,” he said and added that many businesses that had been doing sales online are now operating online only.

“Now with ‘Shops’ we’re adding a new way for businesses to sell directly,” Zuckerberg said. “We are uniquely positioned to help businesses.”

He went on to introduce the components of Shops which he described as an “Open ecosystem,” for selling.

“It’s easier for small businesses to set up shop and sell things online,” he said with the new platform. “You can see their story, feature products and buy their items right there.”

“It’s free and easy to create,” he said and the Shops platform will match with Instagram and whatsapp.

“Set up an online shop once and have it available across all apps,” he said. “You can list on one and checkout on another.”

Zuckerberg  said live shopping can now happen in live time. More than 800 million people engage in Live presentations on Facebook daily such as product launches. Now, while watching a live presentation customers will be able to make a purchase while watching and “Shop on live in real time,” he said.

Zuckerberg invited Shopify Founder Toby Lutke in on the discussion to talk about the story behind the businesses.

Shopify is a software service that offers users to create a website and use their shopping cart solution to sell merchandise.

Lutke said there has been a democratization of success for entrepreneurs because of social media communication and that shops are really “stories.”

“Small businesses need a way to find new buyers,” he said. And by sharing the story behind a shop business owners “create much deeper relationships with their customers by having them come back again.

“Merchants are a very important ingredient in the world of commerce,” Lutke said.

“Once you see a video of a founder describing why the product truly needs to exist or what they saw that other people may not have seen, you're not just buying a product, you’re buying into and adopting a community.”

Facebook and Shopify have united to optimize the selling experience for entrepreneurs and to create an open ecosystem.

Facebook shops launched on May 19th across Facebook and Instagram, said Zuckerberg in closing his live video.

“I’m excited to get this into a lot more of your hands,” he said.

I know these tools are not going to be able to undo all of the economic damage that’s been caused by COVID but I hope we can at least help build some of the infrastructure that businesses need not only in this moment but in going forward as well.”

See the new platform information here:

https://about.fb.com/news/2020/05/introducing-facebook-shops/

View Zuckerberg’s announcement here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/videos/10111929914173161/UzpfSTUxNjI1ODA4OToxMDE1NzUzMTY0NzY4MzA5MA/

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