Facebook continues to simplify the concept of buying things easily and quickly. Instagram Shops and Facebook Marketplace are already prominently displayed in the apps’ bottom navigation tabs, but now, you can also shop on WhatsApp along with other updates.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced three e-commerce updates coming to Facebook products – Shops in WhatsApp and Marketplace, Shops ads and Instagram visual search.
“More than a billion people use Marketplace every month, so we’re making it easier for businesses to bring their stores to Marketplace to reach more people,” Zuckerberg wrote. When customers see a store on WhatsApp, they will have the option to chat with a business before buying something.
At its F8 conference earlier this month, Facebook unveiled updates to WhatsApp for Business; previously, it could take weeks to set up a business account, but now, businesses can sign up in just minutes. Although WhatsApp has more than 2 billion global users, only about 175 million people message with WhatsApp Business accounts daily for queries such as customer support. Given that Facebook was pushing e-commerce on platforms like Instagram, it makes sense that this initiative would expand to WhatsApp as well.
The launch of Shops on WhatsApp will begin soon, and inventory in Marketplace is already available in the U.S. with on-site payment.
The next feature, Shops ads, aims to provide a more individualized shopping experience based on people’s individual shopping habits. Zuckerberg said, “We’re launching the ability for a business to send shoppers where they are most likely to make a purchase based on their behavior.” As of now, dynamic AR ads are available in the U.S.: companies like Huda Beauty and Laura Mercier are using these ads to allow customers to test lipstick shades with AR before making a purchase. These trial experiences are available through API integrations with Modiface and Perfect Corp. Earlier this year, Pinterest collaborated with ModiFace to launch an AR eyeshadow trial.
On Instagram, an AI-based visual search feature will be rolled out for testing in the coming months. “A lot of shopping discovery starts with visual discovery, right? So you see something that you think is amazing. And then, you know, maybe you want to see other products that are like that, or you want to figure out how to get that product,” Zuckerberg explained. “And this is the kind of problem that AI can really help with.”
With this AI, people will be able to upload their own photos, even ones they haven’t posted on Instagram, to find similar items. Facebook is not the first company to use this technology; Cadeera, Wherefore Search or Stye.ai, for example. But bringing this technology to major platforms could change the way we shop, which seems to be Facebook’s current goal.