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Gloucestershire Business News

Facebook launches service to rival Amazon

The world's biggest social media site is set to take on the world's biggest online retailer with the launch of Facebook Shops.

The new free service started in the UK and Ireland earlier this week across Facebook and Instagram, with plans to launch across Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp soon, as reported by Charged Retail.

Aimed particularly at small businesses, Facebook Shops aims to support retailers which have had to close their doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Facebook Shops tool will allow retailers of any size to launch an online storefront for free across its range of social media platforms. Online storefronts can be run by third-party platforms, such as Shopify or BigCommerce, so that retailers can seamlessly integrate their existing stores.

Customers will find a company's Shop page on their Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as in stories and promoted ads. Shoppers can save items they like or place an order directly in the shop. Some businesses will redirect customers to their own website to complete checkout, while others will allow shoppers to checkout via Facebook.

Businesses can interact with customers using Facebook Messenger, Instagram Chat or WhatsApp.

Facebook's chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said during a live stream: "Our business model here is ads. So rather than charge businesses for Shops, we know that Shops are valuable for businesses. They're going to in general bid more for ads and we'll eventually make money that way."

With more than 160 million small businesses already signed up to Facebook's various platforms, it may not be long before Shops threaten's Amazon's supremacy in the online marketplace.

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