While Google managed to constantly attract the eye of governments across the globe, the company that seems determined to build a single portal for all internet activities is Facebook. The platform, which started as a way for college students to get to know their classmates, has grown to offer a large variety of services. Whether you are looking to find a date (Facebook Dating) or a used videogame (Facebook Marketplace), you can likely accomplish it on the platform. But, if you are a small business trying to sell products, it's not that easy on Facebook.
That changes now, however, as Facebook has introduced Facebook Shops. This new feature is intended to allow businesses to open digital stores on the platform. Businesses, especially small businesses, will be able to list products through their stores, either directly or indirectly. The system is designed to integrate with popular online shopping systems.
This concept is similar to that of the Facebook Instant Articles feature for publishers. As a publisher, you create your content on your own website. A more direct and unified version of the post is made available through Facebook, making it easier and faster for users to access while maintaining the publisher's branding. Shops will allow something similar, allowing online stores to import their products into the platform, allowing users to remain on Facebook while still shopping for the store's products.
The feature will not be exclusive to the Facebook platform, either. It will be introduced as Instagram Shops in the near future. While the feature may be the same, the target demographic is obviously different. Instagram's users tend to skew younger, and the feature there could be used as more of a competitor to Etsy than to Amazon.
Shops will only be available to valid corporations with a TIN and a business bank account. This will help mitigate to a small degree the dangers of online stores, especially those who act as drop shippers for questionable products. With a registered corporation and a business bank account, there is more of a chance of tracking down the representatives if something goes wrong.