Facebook and Instagram Launch New E-Commerce Feature

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. relevant / ˈrɛl ə vənt / (adj) – closely related or connected to something

    I enjoy stories that are relevant to my everyday life.

  2. merchant / ˈmɜr tʃənt / (n) – one who sells things

    You can contact the merchant directly through her website.

  3. in the long run / ɪn ðə lɒŋ rʌn / (idiom) – after a long period of time

    Spending money to hire assistants will save us more time in the long run.

  4. incorporate / ɪnˈkɔr pəˌreɪt / (v) – to include something as part of another thing

    The tech company was the first to incorporate fingerprint recognition into its phones for security purposes.

  5. keep track of (someone/something) / kip træk əv / (idiom) – to watch or monitor something closely

    The company created a tool that can help them keep track of their sales.


Read the text below.

Facebook and Instagram have introduced a new e-commerce platform called Shops.

The new feature enables customers to find and purchase products directly from a Facebook page or an Instagram profile. It is expected to turn the social networking sites into online shopping platforms.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they created Shops to aid businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic. According to him, he expects that Shops will continue to be relevant in the future as more and more people are starting to do business online.

In a statement, the company described Shops as customizable online pages that merchants can create for free. Shop owners can upload catalogs of their products and select which items to display. They can also design their pages to advertise their brands.

Customers can choose to either mark items they like or place an order. Items can be bought directly from Facebook or Instagram, while other stores may require visiting their official website to make actual purchases.

In the long run, Facebook and Instagram plan to allow looking through store catalogs via chat windows. They are also developing ways to encourage shopping through live streams. Businesses can feature items in live videos while links to the items from their catalogs appear below each video.

Facebook and Instagram are also planning to incorporate loyalty programs into the platform. They would like consumers to easily keep track of points and rewards that they have gained from their purchases on the platform. Facebook and Instagram are also working with third-party platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Woo to help business owners manage their Shops.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Shops will be able to compete with established online shopping platforms (e.g. Amazon, eBay)? Why or why not? Discuss.
• Would you be willing to open a business on Shops? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What are the possible downsides of the increase in online shopping platforms (e.g. tighter competition online)?
• Do you think that majority of businesses will eventually move fully to online platforms and no longer have physical stores? Why or why not?