Facebook has announced a major ecommerce move today that sees the launch of Facebook Shops. The company is pitching it as a way for businesses to create one online store that will work across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Facebook shared all the details about the new ecommerce platform in a blog post today, highlighting the pandemic as a key factor in small businesses trying to figure out online sales.

We want to give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying. And we want to help small businesses adapt and make it easier for people to discover and shop for things they love.

Right now many small businesses are struggling, and with stores closing, more are looking to bring their business online. Our goal is to make shopping seamless and empower anyone from a small business owner to a global brand to use our apps to connect with customers. That’s why we’re launching Facebook Shops and investing in features across our apps that inspire people to shop and make buying and selling online easier.

Here’s how Facebook describes the new Shops pages that will be free to create:

Facebook Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand. This means any seller, no matter their size or budget, can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.

Notably, a new “Instagram Shop” tab will be coming to the bottom bar tab of the app “this summer” that will replace the Activity tab. That could definitely see some resistance from users. The company will also bring shopping to both Facebook and Instagram Live videos.

Other features that are in the works include a customer loyalty program.

This is the latest effort from Facebook in its strategy to unify its platforms and comes after recently launching group video chat software with Messenger Rooms that will also come to all of its services.

Facebook Shops are available to a limited amount of businesses for now with a wider rollout “in the coming months.” Read more about Facebook’s new ecommerce platform here.

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Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.