Facebook is starting the holiday shopping period with a new series of e-commerce-focused events aimed at encouraging the use of Facebook and Instagram stores, while also looking to provide more support to SMEs, with a focus on black-owned businesses.
First of all, Facebook is launching a new series of daily live shopping events, on Facebook and Instagram, that will showcase the latest trends and gift offers.
According to Facebook:
“Some of the biggest brands, including Benefit Cosmetics, Cocokind, Macy’s, Paintbox Nails, Tanya Taylor, Ulta Beauty, Vuori and Walmart, will host videos that allow you to purchase the latest holiday trends from the comfort of your home. ”
The project is an extension of Facebook’s initial live shopping experiment, which it launched back in May, as a means to increase interest in e-commerce.
The FOMO live streaming factor, combined with limited offerings, can spur a stronger response to purchases, and Facebook will seek to increase this as a greater consideration when shopping through this new showcase.
Instagram will also present trends on the Shop tab “from drops to collections curated by the creators you love”.
In addition, Facebook is also launching a new discount program for customers who shop through its apps.
“This season, we are bringing exclusive gifts to stores that will be available when people sign out on Facebook or Instagram. You may find gifts from Facebook and Instagram, such as a 20% discount on your first purchase and free shipping, when you complete the appropriate purchase directly in our apps. And when you make an eligible purchase directly on Facebook or Instagram, you can refer up to 10 friends to take advantage of the exclusive offer. ”
It’s not clear which brands or purchases qualify for these discounts, or whether Facebook randomly applies them (and pays the difference), but again, the alerts will work to boost its purchasing power and encourage greater shopping behavior through its apps.
Facebook also wants to provide more help for black-owned businesses, which have been significantly affected by the pandemic.
“This year, we will continue to support the companies that need it the most, starting the return of #BuyBlack on Friday to encourage people to support small businesses owned by blacks. ”
Facebook originally launched #BuyBlack pressure in October last year, based on research that showed Black-owned small and medium-sized enterprises were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its flow effects.
According to study conducted by at the University of California last year, about 40% of black-owned businesses were forcibly closed in the early stages of the pandemic, compared to 17% of white-owned businesses, while Report commissioned by Facebook published in October showed that Businesses owned by blacks closed twice as fast as other small and medium-sized enterprises.
And with a quarter of minority-led companies are expected to make half of their annual sales during the holidays (compared to 14% of other small businesses), a difference that is once again evident, which is why Facebook seeks to give these companies special focus and help where it can.
“From November 5, you can join the #BuyBlack Friday show every Friday in November. The show will show segments of live purchases from black-owned companies, including Shaquandin hot pepper sauce,, Takura House i Obia Naturals, with special guests and other surprises. You can also check out the #BuyBlack collections, available weekly on the Facebook Shop tab from November 1st and on the Instagram Shop tab from November 5th.”
Lastly, Facebook is adding some new features to the Marketplace, including new appointment scheduling processes and a new saved search option that will alert you when new ads arrive that match your criteria.
The new meeting options aim to provide greater security in the process, and the main addition is the ability to create a meeting plan with buyers and sellers through the Marketplace, then share it with your Messenger contacts to let them know where you’re headed.
“To create a meeting plan:
- In the Messenger thread with the buyer or seller, tap More Options at the top.
- Touch Create Meet Plan.
- Select a method and add a meeting time. You can also include a location or add notes.
- Touch Send plan to share the plan in your chat with the buyer or seller. ”
You can then share the same meeting plan with any of your connections, providing an extra layer of security and safety.
Which is important, because as ProPublica reported last month, ads on the Facebook Marketplace are increasingly becoming the focus of criminals, and even lead to violence and murder, in some of the worst cases.
According to ProPublic:
“Since the start of the pandemic, criminals across America have exploited the Marketplace to commit armed robberies and, in 13 cases identified by ProPublica, homicides. In one known case, a woman was allegedly killed by a man selling a cheap refrigerator on the Marketplace. The profile of the alleged killer remained online with active ads until ProPublica contacted Facebook.”
The new measures aim to provide a certain level of additional security in this area – but still, it is difficult to see that they are overly effective, given that meetings on the Marketplace are still needed, which will continue to expose users to potential crime.
On the other hand, perhaps by communicating with sellers and buyers that you have documented a meeting plan and potentially shared it with others, this will act as a deterrent. However, it seems that Facebook will have to consider this process more, based on the findings of ProPublica.
Another new feature of gathering on the Marketplace is an opportunity for sellers to show that they prefer a local exchange of items, “such as a public gathering or return or takeover to reduce personal transactions”.
The measure is more precisely aligned with COVID mitigation measures.
It’s interesting to see that Facebook’s e-commerce elements are evolving, and while they don’t seem to have become a key element of the app experience yet, it looks like the holiday season will be a great opportunity for Facebook to unveil its latest tools and take advantage of high demand as people want to celebrate again with family and friends.
This could become a key turning point for Facebook’s purchasing ambitions, which could accelerate development and improve its processes in several key areas.
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