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Introducing Facebook Shops (fb.com)
432 points by davidbarker 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 264 comments





Small businesses operated either individually or by less than 10 people. A bunch of customers buy products/services from these businesses. So they need a better way to:

Engage with their customers

Sell and manage product/service deliveries

Target specific customer audience

Show products/services availability

Whatsapp could be the right solution not facebook apps.

Also a combination of Yelp and Facebook/Whatsapp could lead replacing small business websites(I'm not telling that no smb website should exist) that going to make a fortune. The platform needs to accomplish these three things :

The ability to list core info like contact details, hours of operation, and service offerings in a minimalist fashion.

The ability to solicit feedback (not ratings) from customers in a low-friction, high-upside way.

An ad system that let's a 60 year-old luddite set up a campaign in less than 3 minutes without having to call anyone.

There's a lot to tell but I'll leave you with these thoughts.


I have always thought about what it would take for Whatsapp to lose their place as the dominant chat app and you finally nailed it. If I ever start getting ads or requests for reviews or anything remotely related to someone selling something to me, as a personal message because of automated Facebook tools, I'd get myself and everyone I know off the platform in a matter of seconds.

On the other hand, for information requests they already have Whatsapp for businesses and it works fine, several luddites I know use it.


> I have always thought about what it would take for Whatsapp to lose their place as the dominant chat app and you finally nailed it.

Unfortunately, that's not how these things work. I don't know of any mainstream platform that died because of ads.

You have to keep in mind the fact that the average person on this site has a total different attitude to technology and its warts than most other people.


Personally I would argue that regular TV has largely died both because better alternatives have come along but also because of ads. Last time I tried watching a movie on the telly, there were nearly more ads than actual content. That alone may not have been the reason for younger generations migrating away from it, but I'm sure it played a big part.

My understanding (from a comment I heard on GCN) is that Strava expanding their subscription model (vs transitioning to an ad-based model) is in part due to their fear of losing users due to ads. But then again, cyclists that use Strava probably have the same attitudes toward technology as HN readers (myself included).

Tangentially, I know they mentioned the "adpocolypse" for YouTube but recently it's insane the amount of adverts being shown. It's really putting me off using it.

But as you say, mainstream platforms with no competitors seem to get away with it.


I've been youtube pro subscriber for a while. Zero ads, it's heaven. Really transforms the youtube experience.

Ad block also gives zero ads on YouTube.

... Without compensating content creators. So unless you want ads baked into videos then premium is the way to go.

Someone should build an ad blocker that still registers that you've watched the ad, so that content creators get paid (someone correct me if this is what's already happening).

If they do both they can repeat Cable! Win win!

Does this also work for YouTube in smart TVs etc.?

Does it permit playing of videos audio-only? I use backing tracks on my Honor Play but it has terrible screen burn so after an hour of instrument practice my screen looks like the comments section (which keeps moving on YouTube)


It does work on smart TVs. You get can use backing tracks without them being on screen by either using the regular YouTube and putting it in the background or using Youtube Music, included with YouTube Premium, which has an option to play audio only.

Why not just use an adblocker?

Harder to do in the youtube app. You need a pihole server.

NewPipe blocks Youtube ads on mobile https://github.com/TeamNewPipe/NewPipe

XDA Dev team released an Android app called "YouTube Vanced" that is an ad-blocked YouTube app that you sideload (plus a couple of other minor changes like additional themes)

I have one of those but I can't seem to block them effectively. I think the advert URLs are not specific to adverts, ie they're the same as normal YouTube videos.

Any tips??


On Android there are third-party apps that are not available on Market but are very popular.

Most wrap YT's website, add an Adblocker, and block certain APIs that prevent Picture-in-Picture, background playback, etc.

The small downside is that these apps can't use play services and thus you can't login to leave likes, comments, etc. Though you can use "Share" to open the same video in browser where you can login normally.

Google creates a shadow profile for you in that 3rd-party app, and after a few videos you watch the quickly associate you with your other profiles / shadow profiles. So, in a matter of hours or days YouTube will start recommend you content tailored to you, even though you are not logged it.

Works remarkably well.


Thanks! Do you have the name of one of these popular YouTube alternative apps? I don't want to download SpyWareYouTube.APK

ICQ?

> I don't know of any mainstream platform that died because of ads.

* Traditional television.

* Online websites of traditional newspapers - they wouldn’t have moved to paywalling if advertising was working.

* MySpace (not directly, but a contributory factor).


Traditional TV died? Not in the countries I've visited recently, as far as I know this may be a US-only thing.

> they wouldn’t have moved to paywalling if advertising was working

they surely make something on advertising because the ads are present even behind the paywalls.


I subscribe to the NYT - and I don’t like the fact there’s ads behind the paywall either - but at least they’re static ads for boring things like ING Bank. Comparing that to my local TV news’ website with Adblock disabled is night-and-day: auto-playing video ads embedded in content, clickbait “one weird trick”-ads, and no end of Share buttons either.

When we were in Vietnam we organised all of our transport over WhatsApp, except for the billing which we then had to go to a (it felt sketchy, but probably wasn't) online payment form.

If that had been baked into the conversations it would have been one of the best customer experiences we could have hoped for. Appreciate feature creep would then be a concern, but depending on how they could limit it, it could be absolutely fantastic.

(We then also got "personalised" follow up messages asking us to review, which is somewhat inevitable - but that had to be done on a case by case basis. I agree, we could only put with with a small amount of automation before things turn south quickly).


This is a great post. But the biggest opportunity here is to build an aggregate SMB platform to take on Amazon. In my local downtown, I see a ton of mom and pop stores, but they don’t get a ton of foot traffic. I sometimes imagine unlocking their inventory that can allow for some inherent advantages like same day pick-up and supporting local businesses

I’ve had similar thoughts.

If I could find out who has what in stock and at what price before I leave the house and if I could reserve it, it would definitely encourage me to shop locally more.

I’m put off by the thought of a wasted trip. The suggestion of “we could order that in for you” is obviously not great either when I can probably order it in faster myself.

I hardly ever browse in a real shop anymore because I feel like I’m waisting their time if I don’t buy something.


What about calling them?

I thought I heard about Shopify doing something like this, an aggregator for stores using Shopify, but apparently I misremembered.

As someone who works with such a small business the main problem is finding customers who are a good match as you say.

But if you fix it for everyone, then you're back to a crowded market and it'll be hard to stand out yet again. Instead of SEO and marketing you will optimise to whatever helps on the new platform.

Sometimes it feels very much like a Red Queen's race [0].

I also hate the current ad systems since they can be overwhelming, however, they are fairly easy to use. What is not so easy is avoiding blowing your whole budget because you don't know what you're doing with fine grained targeting. This is not because the systems are bad per se - it's that someone else will come along, target more efficiently than you, and will indirectly bid up keywords etc so that you are no longer making a good ROI on your own ads but they still can. So it's catch up or get out.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Queen%27s_race



Good post. I really think a lot of people here either haven't run a small/medium business or are woefully out of touch with the needs of the people that run these kinds of businesses.

Your post helps ground and frame the discussion appropriately.


This sounds great in theory, but eventually there will be many businesses paying for the top spot and a standard listing will become irrelevant.

Crucial information from Shopify:

"Merchants will get control over customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram, while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify."

"Consumers will be able to easily find, browse, and buy products through a purpose-built, immersive experience in these apps they use every day. Checkout will be powered by Shopify for merchants, with Shopify also offering Instagram Checkout to select merchants testing the new feature."

Facebook wants to capture all discovery through FB and Insta directly competing with Amazon and Google Shopping.


> Facebook wants to capture all discovery through FB and Insta directly competing with Amazon and Google Shopping.

I don't have a Facebook account. As a result, I cannot "discover" anything on the platform. Facebook continues to become a less popular platform and their name continues to loose value thanks to constant involvement in scandals. I may be a minority, but I suspect I'm part of a growing minority.

I can't imagine many shops using this as a primary storefront and I can't imagine this offering much value to small businesses as a supplemental storefront.

Besides, who would be naive enough to trust Facebook with the primary storefront for a serious business? They have no obligation to create a good experience for sellers. All they care about is feeding the ad machine with more user data.


there was a period when i thought similarly (pretty soon, facebook won't be "cool" anymore) but it came and went. people are complaining more about facebook's disturbing moves, but they're not doing anything about it.

I think it's happening. It's just very slow. Most people wont delete their account. They'll just start using it less and less.

Facebook hasn't been "cool" for a long time. It's not a platform most people want to be on. It's just so ubiquitous that many people feel obligated to be on it. Unless that changes, Facebook (the social media site, not the company) will continue to die a very slow death.


Exactly the case for me. I just routed facebook.com to 127.0.0.1 in my hosts file. I realized that I was going there out of habit and I always felt worse when I was done. It's been one of the best things I've done this year.

Yet Facebook Shops would integrate to not only Facebook but also Ins, Whatsapp, isn't it?

Discovery is where the money is at. If FB can dominate discovery they will effectively commoditize the product listing, inventory management layer.

Meh. People who don’t use facebook can’t discover anything. I know many who removed their facebook account and are not going back.

That’s not to say there aren’t many on facebook who will use this.


It seems like you want to sell through multiple channels without being too dependent on any one of them? This could be a very good channel for some early adopters, but then the economics of it could change pretty quickly.

There's been a Shopify->Facebook/Instagram integration for ages. Personally, I found it to be pretty garbage - but I'm sure they've gained a ton of data while running it.

Facebook Shop just sounds like the next evolution of this.


FB should be merciful and buy shopify before murdering them

I think there's a place for FB Shops, mostly with "small-small" businesses, think "kiosks in the middle of the mall" or "plastic two-colour sign stapled to electrical poles" type of small, but any reasonable business that cares about it's brand and wants to maintain control over itself would still likely be attracted to a more flexible and powerful platform like Shopify..

You give up a lot of control when you use FB, they control branding, UI, UX, etc.. if you don't care about those things and you just want to sell stuff, that's probably fine..

I say this of course without knowing what the future holds for FB Shops..

Facebook is basically already the shopping mall food court and bus stop, they're just adding the stores now I guess..


I don’t know. I realise I’m atypical but I don’t use Facebook products.

I won’t shop with sites powered by Facebook so there must be at least some segment of the market that Shopify can still hold.


FB should pay 100 billion for Shopify??

For 1 million "merchants"? in other words $100k per merchant.

Many of these are t-shirt & mug sales sort of people.


Don't they also have a checkout platform coming in the future? Wouldn't that be a good Shopify competitor.

"We’re also working more closely with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce..."

Is Facebook Shops not a direct competitor to Shopify? Or is this just "embrace, extend, and extinguish"?


My guess is that they will try to integrate Shopify sites into the platform, to give the FB Shops platform some momentum, then gradually push the non FBS stores down the page. My reasoning is that they are emulating Google.

Alternatively, they could be looking to make FB Shops an advertising platform, similar to Amazon Seller Central, where they don't care who you buy from, but they want each seller to pay for ads and/or payment processing.


Although being a simple shopify drop in replacement would have its advantages in simplicity, there is probably more long term potential if they embrace multi-channel sales, and become a storefront management tool ala https://www.ecomdash.com/ and https://www.shipstation.com/ Some people are going to keep shopping on amazon, some on ebay, some on walmart, some on etsy, some directly on websites.

Im not saying that's what they are doing, but its a way to skim off all transactions instead of trying to force business into facebook.


Probably the right answer. If you have a shop that's getting some sales on etsy, amazon or ebay or wherever else you're not going to want to close it down in favor of facebook – you'll just open a second storefront there.

Your guess appears to be wrong. I couldn't find anything about FB Shops using Shopify platform. Only that you can stock your store from the Shopify store.. which is a tool that Shopify provides. In other words, Shopify is using the FB Merchant and Store APIs. Like anyone can.

It seems like a bad deal for Shopify sellers. They must pay FB 5% and Shopify 2% of each transaction. If they jettisoned Shopify, they'd just pay FB 5%.


Amazon cares who you buy from. Amazon Basics pushes out sellers.

Not just Basics, they have so many other brands of their own that most customers will never even know that.

For a lot of stores, Shopify is just an API for your store. There's a big trend in ecommerce of going "headless" and using Shopify's API to push your products out to many channels. In that sense, Shopify is merely a special database (similar to Salesforce) to track your customers, orders, products, inventory, discounts, etc which is then pushed out to channels like Facebook Shop or Amazon.

Yes, its interesting shopify have a product called Lite (https://www.shopify.com/lite) which does not have any UI

Nothing lite about the payment terms. You pay them over a 100 a year plus part of every transaction.

For keeping a database of photos and descriptions & integrating with APIs?

Doesn't that seem overpriced?


Shopify seems to overcharge for that sort of functionality.

Merchants are paying Shopify per transaction while customers shop on another site & pay using Google Pay, Paypal, FB Pay, or Apple Pay.


Interesting - sounds like gumroad?

https://gumroad.com/


I don't get it. If you buy something from Facebook Shop does Facebook take a fee or Shopify for example. I'm guessing Facebook is trying to get rid off websites and essentially Google and hoping all discovery happens on Facebook and Instagram.

I'm wondering how Facebook Shops is going to impact Shopify,Amazon and Google Shopping in the long term.


Facebook is going to handle everything (search, display, cart, checkout, payments) and will charge 5%.

Shopify is doing nothing on a transaction level & yet they have a stock that requires growth, so they are charging 2% per transaction.

I kid you not.


They will probably do it for free, and then just limit visibility unless you pay to advertise the products.

I read the tweet from Shopify CEO and I thought Facebook went and partnered with Shopify only. Turns out that is not true.

Anyway out of all those listed, I would think Shopify has the biggest to gain. While I dont know enough about the possibility of Facebook doing Triple E, at least All of a sudden Shopify's insane valuation makes a little more sense and justifying the possible potential. Currently market cap at ˜90B and trading at ˜50x revenue.


Wow, I haven't been following Shopify, but their stock is going gangbusters.

A mid level employee who joined around their IPO, with ~$300k of stock vesting over four years would be worth almost $18MM today.

Wow.


Just thank J Powell and Trump.

Not really.

Shopify is only using FB's merchant APIs: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/commerce-platform/ And that's it.

They are allowing Shopify merchants to publish their inventories to the FB store. In exchange Shopify wants 2% of every transaction and 30 bucks a month or 9 bucks for their "lite" version.

Or you can just use FB directly to stock your store & pay Shopify zilch.


I wonder if slashdot has a Borg avatar for Zuck yet...

This image works pretty well: https://i.imgflip.com/288d4p.jpg

Looks like slashdot beta may not do avatars. Fuck slashdot bêta.

No props/photoshop needed.

Savage.

Both partner and potential competitor?

Depends how serious FB wants to invest in building out their own e-commerce backend platform. Not sure it is that valuable to them when IG is the more differentiating part of the product.


Why not just fork Magento? I bet with Facebook's infrastructure you could get it running at Shopify scale for a few million bucks a year.

Nowadays it's more "embrace, extend, and acquire"

It's a really interesting question. My gut tells me that Shopify is looking for a suitor and this is facebook's way of de-risking (validating?) a potential investment.

Shopify is definitely not looking for a suitor - no way. They still have so much growth potential - that rocketship is looking to add more channels. Once on Shopify it's tough to leave - that whole switching cost.

A lot of Shopify's competitive advantage comes from being a giant, Canadian tech company. Similar to Blackberry before it, the government is extremely generous and investors price the stock accordingly. If Shopify moved to the States or was acquired by an American company I think it would take away that unique appeal.

Also the founder is an egomaniac and would never sell.


I just wish we could read on HN tomorrow:

"Introducing Antitrust action against Facebook (justice.gov)"


That's not likely to happen under this President unless MZ says something nasty about him.

Otherwise you'll probably have to wait until the next admin at least.


This is likely to happen neither under a Biden administration nor under a Trump one.

Elizabeth Warren's campaign focused on tempering the powers of Facebook and other tech giants. However her campaign failed to gain serious traction, for various reasons.

> Elizabeth Warren's campaign focused on tempering the powers of Facebook and other tech giants

While she made that point, I would say that was more rhetoric than serious intent. That's not only because of Ms. Warren's strong party-establishment loyalties, but more significantly because of her stated intent and practice of being financed by large pro-corporate donors (albeit not Facebook) and her disinterest in combating the political influence of the tech giants on the donation-recipient side.


It's fascinating to see these tech giants fight each other for control over the Internet empire. Eventually I think we will see 1 by 1 they will fall, and a couple will remain. This is Facebook's attempt to take on Amazon and Google both at once, and given their huge user base and method of engagement, they may just have a shot at it.

I can see it now. Scroll Instagram to see photos of your friends wearing new clothes, "like" the photo. Get an ad the next day for that same product now available from a Facebook Shop for 40% off. Use your Facebook Credits to buy it.


They might also implement object detection within photos and match things in the photo to products you could buy... on Facebook...

Google could do this with Chrome... They already have the "right click, search google for things looking like this image".

All they'd need to do is make the UI more discoverable and make the search results include products, and they'd be $1B up on revenue...


i don't think the "search by image" tool is doing as much computer vision as you think it is -- it seems to mostly match shapes and colors.

That is a core selling feature of Shops:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2686633214905269


I don't need to bother reading dystopian sci-fi anymore, it's all happening around me.

One of the frightening things is when you notice that, as society becomes more dystopian (e.g. more totalitarian, more extremely unequal in the division of wealth etc.), there doesn't develop the strong awareness that it _is_ dystopian. It that the sense of what's normal and acceptable degrades. At best you get this weak sense of a general malaise.

So either people are clueless sheep that don't know better or they simply don't care. The first seems pretty patronizing to me and the latter means we are in minority with our definition of dystopia.

I think neither is true. It's just that people adjust and much of their - our - norms and expectations are socially constructed. And it's difficult to imagine a society conducting itself differently when you haven't lived in it.

Feeling powerless forces us to recalculate our tare weight.

I think they just don't care. I had a look at Marx's ideas of people being in a certain class and engaging in a class struggle, rising up.

But it didn't happen because people are mostly just selfish.

They don't care if they're in a certain "class", they don't care if they're being sold to, they generally don't care if they're being tracked. They just care about being able to do what they want to do.

As long as it doesn't interfere with their life too much (or even if it does, if there's no alternative), they don't do anything about it. And with the modern population, as long as it is extremely easy they will do it.

I am not sure if this is good or bad, or just an inherent part of human nature.


What’s dystopian about it, exactly? People buying and selling online seems pretty awesome and desirable to me. Small business owners able to sell and build brands without real estate overhead, and reach customers across the entire country/world without the expense of mass marketing is wonderful in my opinion.

It sounds nice but it won't be long until FB starts charging these small businesses a large percentage per transaction.

But we already have a company gobbling up all the e-commerce demand out there and charging small businesses large fees: Amazon. Having more platforms where businesses can be found by customers is a good thing, and will provide downward pressure on fees.

As someone with an Etsy shop this got me excited for a second, but unless I missed something, this is just some sort of link from your FB Page to some integrated shop? We use Etsy because we get all these sales from people using it to search for stuff, but I guess if we only have 80 people and spend no money on FB ads or trying to grow our page, this is essentially completely useless as we already have links to our shop...

We were hoping this was some sort of shop built into marketplace that was curated or searchable or something, since we've had some success selling on there, but it's a complete garbage pile and dealing with people is awful and doesn't scale very fast. People flake out like crazy, no way to manage messages well or anything. Missed opportunity.

Maybe for Instagram, having a shop built into your profile could be awesome instead of saying, "link in profile" then having your user search for the product they say starting at your site homepage.


If you make a shop on FB Shops, please know that you do not need Shopify to do that. Shopify provides no benefit and charges you per transaction.

This is long overdue. I bet they’re working on a PayPal competitor and eventually their own in-house data driven credit system.

If you think you were being tracked across every mouse hover and scroll now, imagine what it’ll look like when there’s this much on the line.


> I bet they're working on a PayPal competitor...

They've allowed money transfer through Messenger for sometime now. The UX is probably the best I've had. I prefer sending money that way because it's through the debit card (easy set up), free, and instant.


In Europe at least they've rolled this back from the only 2 countries they tested it in (UK and France). You can still do donations to organizations in most countries, but no p2p money transfers.

Any reason why? Seems to be a strong digital payments ecosystem in the U.K. and Europe that would've made it work well.

This new offering feels a natural outcome now that the core product (fb.com, Messenger) user base starts to saturate. Previously they could just focus on international expansion on existing product, now the approach needs to shift. And that might be the reason why FB has so little in house built products v.s. products via acquisition, compared to Google.

So there's a growth pressure across the company's structure chain. From this point on, it would be interesting to see what other products FB would launch to leverage their huge social network. My 5 dollar bet would be cloud infra that compete with AWS and Azure - the selling point would be, hey join FB Cloud Infra and we'll help you reach 2 billion FB users!


Zuckbucks. FB going to start its own federal reserve.

I was thinking “Facebacks”, but yes that’s the singularity.

Facebuuks

they tried and I think still trying to roll out Libra...

With the rise of services like Shopify, Etsy, etc. why are independent product manufacturers in the US / Europe still using Amazon? Is it the lack of the supply chain / item delivery that Amazon provides so well or is it something else? Hearing about how Amazon undercuts pretty much every seller on their system makes me think that sellers would be willing to jump in a heartbeat if given a viable alternative.

Facebook Shops seems like a Shopify clone to me ... but I'm not sure as I haven't really used Shopify (and I keep mistaking it for Spotify).


Because that's where the customers are. Above all the Prime customers. And customers can have a lot more trust in Amazon's shipping speed and returns policy, than when ordering from an unknown.

A ton of people, when they want to buy something, put it into Amazon's search box. If a product doesn't show up there, it might as well not exist.

Also, Amazon reviews. I can't count the number of times I've chosen not to buy a product because Amazon's reviews warned me away. Ordering something from a small shop where there are no reviews, or the reviews seem fake or too positive? I feel like there's a much greater chance of being taken advantage of with a shoddy product.

End of the day, on Amazon I generally know exactly the quality I should expect, that it will arrive on time, and that I can return it if there are any issues.


Shopify is pretty good, but if you have a small independant shop the hard part is getting visitors. On that basis etsy is better, because it gets a lot of traffic, but I think facebook will be even more popular.

I'm a member of a couple of local groups, largely for buying/selling kids clothing/toys. Something like that wouldn't work so well on other platforms - getting cheap stuff locally.

Of course etsy has its own problems, with a large number of their shops just being fronts for aliexpress resellers.


Many potential customers use Amazon as a search tool, as well as a source for (slightly) trustworthy reviews. If you are off Amazon, you miss out on those customers.

In addition to that, making your own webstore used to be more complicated and difficult than it is now; platforms like Shopify have really lowered the barrier to market entry.


That's true. Amazon unfortunately has gained way too much market share for someone to forego being a seller on there.

It's the logistics network. Being able to just ship your product to an Amazon warehouse and then have them handle the rest on the cheap pretty much guarantees that using Amazon will come out cheaper.

Combine that with Amazon handling the bulk of customer support, returns, and payments and you end up making more money on Amazon than anywhere else.

I've actually tried to get a company to price match their own store on Amazon and they told me to just order it on Amazon because it was better for them.


I purchased an item directly from a manufacturer's own website, so there's no middle-man and no fees lost to selling on another platform. The price difference between that and Amazon was so staggering, I returned the original purchase and re-purchased, this time from Amazon. Same product, but it was significantly cheaper on Amazon.

You will almost never get good prices from the manufacturer itself. That would undermine their standing with sales partners. So you will always get the rather high list price.

I also know companies that are going the complete FBA route now. Even if you order on their web shop, you get your item from Amazon.

Amazon is often cheaper.

When you account for the cost of a part time web dev and designer, as well as Shopify plugins and fees, I imagine the merchant probably prefers for me to buy on amazon.


> why are independent product manufacturers in the US / Europe still using Amazon?

They do it to sell to people that are shopping on Amazon in spite of every problem with it. Never being undercut by Amazon isn't important to these sellers. Think, "I don't want to live in a world where someone gets undercut by Amazon better than us".



I already have enough trouble with businesses that think Facebook is the internet. I wonder how many customers businesses lose by only engaging with Facebook users?

Not many. Most of their customers also think Facebook is the internet.

Yes tie yourself to a large platform that can and will shut you down for political/social reasons.

Or just stick a paypal button on a static site.


Yep that worked well for Wikileaks

Yep, Wikileaks is still around.

Their store is at https://wikileaks.shop/ or https://eu.wikileaks.shop/


Hm, unlike classifieds, shopping is not a social activity, in fact most ppl would not like their friends to know what they re purchasing.

And the shops would need to either duplicate inventory or lock it in facebook.

They 've tried this before, and failed

https://mashable.com/2012/02/21/facebook-brands-closing-stor...

I don't think it will be better this time


> in fact most ppl would not like their friends to know what they re purchasing

Not true by my experience. In fact, lots of people go shopping together. Sure, some stuff is private. But most clothes, electronics, computer games, household, furniture etc etc is stuff people buy and share around all the time.


Has anyone seen anything specifically mentioned about an API? I did a quick search and didn't see anything mentioned, but if they integrated with 3rd party tools, either they have an API or they already programmed a feed scraping tool of some sort.

I suppose if there is an API, but they haven't released public documentation, it might be possible to find out details about many of the endpoint from WooCommerce's code.


As someone who’s been burnt by using their IG API before when they decided to shut it down out of nowhere, I won’t trust their API for this.

For my personal selling, I wouldn't trust the API's:-). However, I have a product that helps a particular retail vertical list their items for sale online. I imagine my clients wouldn't mind having their items automatically cross-posted to Facebook's shop as well. (So, if Facebook kills the API, it would kill a feature in my product, but not my whole product.) That's why I was wondering about the API. I'll probably need to do some reading and searching today when I get some time!

FB, just came with a bang. with how prevalent fb is internationally. they can capture majority of the market share. sad day, for open solutions like woocommerce. & if FB had managed to get libra, off the ground, then they would be transacting more amounts of currency than anyone in the world. I won't put Shopify in the discussion, as they are only available in select 1st world countries.

Woocommerce fails to deliver a product that doesn't require a developer and or thousands in add-ons. It works for a very basic shop but after that you will need to hire a developer.

It's $45/month from the company behind WordPress for the majority of companies that don't need that level of customization. Past that, it's probably still cheaper than rolling your own solution or doing a panicked migration off Facebook Shops when they start closing the doors.

What took it so long for FB to do this? This is honestly one of the first things they should have done.

They are waiting for Libra.

Another BigCorp trying to put a gate around an existing market, this time it's retail. Yuck.

"Is your store doing well? Have you expanded to a couple of other locations successfully? Is it time for you to create a broader franchise? ... Don't worry, we've been watching, and we already made this information available to big stores in your area who were willing to pay for the privilege. That's why Big-store-chain is already negotiating a better contract with your supply chain. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. Thank you for your business." - American Edge. It's our edge, not yours.

That advert is an incredibly tone deaf advert. Support the little guy! Yes, support little Mark Zuckerberg and his sole control of a $600Bn company. Has it ever occured to anyone in a multi billion dollar corporation that maybe it doesn't come across well to pretend you're fighting for the little guy. Why not take a break for once and just say "Hey, we're fucking enormous, no one even browses the web anymore, they browse facebook, so we've deigned to give you the smallest sliver of access to our amazing hoard of treasure - customers (in exchange for 90% of your profits)". At least it would be honest.

As always, when you’re everyone’s favorite punching bag: damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Would love to know how you got to them taking 90% of the profits. Are they even charging commissions or is this a scheme to drive more ads purchases?

I love it, spend a decade engaging in scummy behaviour, and then have people completely ignore that and claim that you're just a punching bag. Do you know how you become the everyone's favourite punching bag? Stand by and watch whilst people use your platform to commit genocide, and then tell everyone you're looking out for the little guy.

Damned if you do enable a genocide, damned if you... oh no, just the first one.


This would be a great rebuttal to someone who said “I like that Facebook helps people kill people” but is a pretty weak rebuttal to someone calling out you making up fee structures for the product and your silly moralizing over a company launching... checks notes... a way for people to sell things on the internet. The horror.

Shopify will be the loser here.

FB will use them, chew and spit them out.

FB only wants shopify now because it has all the data, inventory, categorization, etc.

The next logical move would be to buy a company like wix, then target smb with their sales and marketing team to help them make digital storefronts on FB, integrate with their social platform and then ditch shopify.

Edit : Also, there is no way to tell if your competitor is paying to get your data and costomer info.

This will lead to an overall weakening of the mom and pop store operations, where they are disrupted ever more easily by the competition.


True. Square bought Weebly for this.

I don’t see this as a positive for FB at all.

To me, this looks like FB has finally accepted defeat in the social networking space. Over the years it has been deteriorating at delivering on its core mission of connecting people and supporting personal relationships.

I don’t think FB of the past would have green lighted this project, the hit on its brand positioning is significant. It will only accelerate people’s disassociation between FB and a social network.

Effectively, at this point they’re just cashing in on their brand equity and milking their user base.

They’ll pay in terms of churn and decreased LTV.


Do you know about Facebook Watch, their streaming service with real original TV shows? Their switch from 'just' a social network was years and years ago

Didn’t know they had original TV shows, but I thought at least they will build social features into Watch.

Shopping on the other hand, is a private and individualistic activity.

I feel this is far removed from their core mission.


> is a private and individualistic activity

Some people go to malls as a social activity. Others like to read product reviews by people (sometimes well known bloggers), or watch youtube videos. Sometimes people even ask their friends for product recommendations. Shopping is to some a very social thing.


> Shopping on the other hand, is a private and individualistic activity.

Not for me. Especially if I'm buying something fun/non-boring.


For luxury, apparel and experiential, likes and engagement drive interest while more reviews deter interest as who aspires to own something everyone has already?

Seems like a win to me... They get to diversify and they can handle payments etc... so you get that 1-click experience. I am not sure how they will handle shady vendors / returns though... Amazon invests a lot in the customer experience but will FB?

It considers itself a media conglomerate and has done for some time now. Social connections is just one piece of what they offer.

FB as in Facebook, excluding Instagram, which has traditionally been positioned as more of a open platform of discovery.

Why have 2 different shops on Facebook and Instagram, it will lead to more confusion. Also what about for folks who don't use either of those services?

Plenty of brands were already doing lead-gen to their products through Instagram, whether through ads, or just by creating a photo/video of their product that started trending (in a way similar to how you'd expect a pretty craftwork to trend on Pinterest.) I think Instagram even already has the inline "purchase the thing this is a picture of" flow—though right now it's just in the form of a modal webview to the partner's shop product page for the relevant item.

The "Instagram Shop" part of the offering they're describing, sounds less like an independent system, and more like a way for independent creators to get the same benefits as those large partners, where they can take a picture of the fancy sweater they made, have it appear on trending, and then there can be a "Buy" button right there on the post everyone's sharing. It's an Instagram integration for the Facebook Shop system.

I also don't think there's going to be a separate "Instagram Shop" landing page for a given account, per se; if there is an index view, it'll just be a collection of the buyable items posted by a given Instagram account. The expectation, though, would be that "buyable" posts would just be part of a brand page's regular feed of posts. The "buy button" is just an enhancement to what the account was already doing, rather than a whole separate storefront to set up.

I'm guessing, in the end, what you'd really be purchasing via the Instagram hosted inline purchase flow, is a Facebook Shop product SKU. You'd probably get an email from Facebook Shopping about your product, etc. In other words, "Facebook Shop" would be a payment processor / hosted commerce backend, that happens to have a flagship front-end UX; and Instagram would be an alternative front-end UX.

> Also what about for folks who don't use either of those services?

Given the way they seem to be building it, there's definitely some backend core with an API that looks a lot like Shopify's API. I'm guessing they'll offer third-party developer access to that API.


As far I've seen from the video you can mirror you Facebook Shop on both Facebook and Instagram meaning they will look and feel the same.

"Also what about for folks who don't use either of those services?" Then obviously you won't use Facebook Shop, you can use Amazon or any other ecommerce service.


What, all 12 of them?

More seriously, I don't think they're requiring exclusivity.


Tangentially related:

>'GrokNet', the AI behind Facebook Shops, looks for body type, skin tone, location, socioeconomic class in photos

https://boingboing.net/2020/05/20/groknet-the-ai-behind-fac....

Is there good reason to be concerned on this level?


The WeChat-ification of FB is going forward. There is still so much to do, but I for one am happy that total control over society's interaction by a single company is slowly coming over to the Western world.

(For reference if you don't have wechat or alipay in China, you might as well live as an hermit because fewer and fewer places will accomodate you)


Facebook has had the shop option for quite some time now on the Facebook pages. I have used it, it really sucked. What's new here? Checkout option? The Instagram shop is new that's for sure. But I am not sure how that will perform.

Discovery was a real issue. I hope they have improved it now

The more low hanging fruit these companies pluck, the more obvious it becomes how much of the internet wants to be connected to real identities.

Facebook is largely a real person <-> online person connector and a very crude version of everyday items such as photographs, calendars, small shops, etc.

Except computers lift the constraint of copying being expensive in the real world, while the internet lifts the constraint of copied object being expensive and slow to move around.

While Amazon provides inventory and delivery infrastructure to businesses and an internet storefront for customers, Facebook hardly provides anything that isn't trivial to copy - they rely solely on network effects and as a result - can largely be seen as a middleman parasite, worthy of extermination.


Another nail in the decentralized web coffin. The big steam machine is working at full power.

If Facebook Shops allows you to sell digital products like PDFs, then it very much has my attention.

I really hope they don't poison that market as well.

Well, to be fair, there are digital product marketplaces that are still essentially monopolies (DriveThru, Kindle). I doubt Facebook is going to take over those markets any time soon.

What products are there currently for doing this beside Gumroad?

DriveThruRPG and its sister sites are the ones that stand out to me. But I operate in the tabletop RPG industry, which is fairly niche.

I still remember that time when Zuck publicly admitted that he was aiming for Facebook to replace the internet, which was clearly promptly scrubbed from the internet (it is one of those regrets that I did not save the video even though I realized it was important, while not realizing we actually had memoryholes already). It seems more than ever that he is well on the way to doing so, as it becomes ever less likely that any kind of relief or resolution will come from captured regulators, let alone captured and bought off legislators. Pretty soon, real competition will be dead, it has little life left in it as is.

The main source of revenue for FB is advertising. They are able to offer Facebook Shops at a loss to get the market share. Many small businesses are mainly present online as a shop on a platform and a FB page. This is bad news for Etsy.

Instagram shop charges 5%+ transaction fees... (more if the product is priced below $8) is this going to be the same pricing model?

Because if so it's a non-starter for myself and anyone comfortable with the stripe api and/or shopify at least.


I dislike Facebook, but this is a really smart way to grab a market share. Most businesses need minimal online presence so FB front is sufficient.

I won't see those businesses, but I know I am a minority, when it comes to this.


Random non rant:

Thank you for being self aware enough to know that you are in the minority when it comes to not having Facebook.

Most posts by people who don’t use FB and post to HN feign ignorance and say something like “I haven’t used FB in 10 years. Does anyone still use it?”


I don’t use Facebook, but bragging about that and questioning whether anybody else still uses Facebook feels a lot like asking if anybody still buys Apple phones.

I vaguely recall a HN comment on a different subject which drew a parallel to the famous Yogi Berra quip, “Nobody goes there anymore, too crowded.” It sounds like one of his classic oxymorons, but there is a deeper implication with respect to tastemakers/early adopters/elite users who flee anything once it has its “Eternal September.”

Yes, it’s too crowded, but what we’re really saying with a line like that is, “Too crowded with the wrong kind of people.”

But for me, Facebook is crowded with plenty of the right kind of people. Lots of my climbing tribe coördinate trips on FB, and I miss out on that. There are multiple Volvo enthusiast groups on FB, and I miss out on get-togethers if nobody remembers to text me.

So, scarface74, I’m with you on the importance of being self-aware about the fact that while we may not use a thing for ethical reasons, or because it no longer adds value to our lives, but nevertheless it is still crowded with people who have perfectly valid reasons for liking it.


I don't use Facebook either. Wondering at what point we're not in the minority?

Out of the 7.8 billion people on Earth "only" 2.6 billion are used by Facebook so technically we're already there.

3 billion.

World internet population is 4.5 billion and ~1 billion live in China.

Ouch!

sounds encouraging

I no longer use facebook as well and I know a lot of people in my age group not using it. But having said that, a lot of people, specially older people still do and they have valid reasons for it. May be shops will be targeted towards them.

Facebook is like LinkedIn. Everyone has an account, but not everyone cares about theirs.

You keep your Facebook account for the rare occasion that it’s useful. I logged into mine to keep up with old friends during covid, rather than waiting for reunions to find out if someone died.


I don't trust Facebook, but I use it. I don't spend money on Facebook. I don't intend to have a financial relationship with Facebook. There certainly are some benefits of using Facebook for certain purposes.

> I don't intend to have a financial relationship with Facebook.

You wish it was that way but you do have one. An increasing number of businesses submit their financial data to Facebook and Facebook uses that data to track your offline activities. Few months ago they made some of this info available to you.


Can you elaborate on this?


Funny that, I don't trust Facebook, so I don't use it.

Minority of what exactly?

As pointed out downthread, a lot more people on earth don’t have FB than do.

I’d also wager plenty of people who’ve stopped using it still technically “have” an account but never use it.

So how do you define that “the majority” use Facebook?


Each month, 3 billion people (de-duped) use one of Facebook's products.

https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

First subtract China where it isn't available and you're down to a possible market of 6.35 Billion. But then start subtracting the number of children in the world, the number too poor to spend any money on anything FB would be selling or advertising and random other places where it might be blocked.


That’s a lot of words to say “the majority of Facebook users are using Facebook”.

That you just ignore the country with the largest population because Facebook doesn’t operate there is a big tell.

Also, why would you assume the kind of products people might sell and thus their pricing? I’ve seen (and bought!) stuff online for ~ 11THB. 35 US cents.

You can say a lot of people use Facebook and that’s fine. But if you’re going to say “the majority of people” you really need to define which people you’re talking about.


No business cares about trying to reach people who don't have money to spend on their products. It's kind of common sense that FB isn't trying to reach 5 years old. Also, it's kind of common sense that Facebook doesn't have many people in China where it's banned. Out of the FAANGM's, the only one that competes with Facebook is Google and they aren't in China either.

But to be even more blunt. FB no more cares about people spending 35 cents online than Apple cares about people who only want to/can buy a phone that cost $100.


Facebook has >50% of their TAM, which works for me as a definition. TAM: - over 13 years old with internet access and not in China.

I think it's pretty clear what was meant even if it might not technically be a minority/majority.

For the markets that Facebook is common in, it has enough of a user base that it can be an all-in-one for a small business.


People in tech love to brag about not having / using FB :)

The irony. And these are the same people that conveniently don't realise their paychecks are enabled, at least in some small way, by Facebook. It's not everyone, but it's most.

I haven’t used FB in 10 years. Does anyone that matters to your business still use it?

You are right, it is a great move. I do not like it either, nor use it, except when I need to find small commerce sites in my city. I know they do not have their own webpages, so it is useless to look them on Google, but they all have a Facebook Fan Page. With this move, Facebook will get even more business, and less and less small companies will see the need to build and maintain their own sites. It is also a great move against Shopify

I see this as a good move too. I've only recently had to start re-using Facebook just because so many of our local restaurants have been posting information about new hours or menus, etc (covid-related changes) only on their FB page. Even for those businesses that have a separate web site (and domain), they most often publish updates to only FB. It would make sense for FB to formalize this de-facto relationship.

It also will blur the line between sponsored reviews and sales. So imagine when you watch a review for something on YouTube, or see someone share a product on Insta, you just straight up buy that item/service from their page. You’ll now have your payment hooked into these platforms and they can take advantage of serious impulse buying.

Could subvert Patreon in a way also. The implications are there I think.


It looks quite seamless from first glance. Was eventually going to happen I think given how much time people spend on these platforms. Instagram influencers will have an easier time and may perhaps forgo Shopify-built sites for the sake of simplicity by routing fans to their Instagram marketplace. Can see YouTube introducing YouTube-shop to keep people within the Google ecosystem and compete with Facebook.

> Can see YouTube introducing YouTube-shop to keep people within the Google ecosystem and compete with Facebook.

Next, Youtube to partner with IKEA to bring you a virtual reality furniture shop /s


> really smart

Maybe effective? Smart implies a bit too much imo. For a while now, users have been using pages to promote their businesses and using FB pay for transactions. It seems this was inevitable, and I'm more surprising how long it took than how "really smart" it is.


I work in banking. Everything we do, that's easier elsewhere, is harder in banking, because it's a bank (regulated, money, etc).

Everything Facebook builds has to scale to billions immediately. Could be a contributing factor to why it took them this long to do this.


That makes a lot of sense. Does raise the stakes quite a bit too, which makes the decision maybe a little bit difficult. So the engineers who make the thing happen are for sure smart. And the researchers who prove it should be profitable are also pretty smart. But the idea itself -- trying to take over some other market that they already have a foothold in -- is pretty obvious.

Why would it? They can do controlled rollouts if they want. Core design has to scale, but I seriously doubt they'd be planning for millions/QPS right out the gate.

And using the big E-commerce platforms. Reducing opportunity for a software developer with his own platform to connect to it, what is basically just a product feed + order confirmation endpoint.

And more useless noice on Facebook of everyone promoting their take-away.

Ugh

Ps. I buy local, the take-aways across the street. Not the 30 places from my old hometown.


> Creating a Facebook Shop is free and simple.

That’s just PR speak. The truth, as it will be realized soon (if not suspected already), is that this will not be free. It will take away the freedom of the businesses and hold them to ransom for Facebook’s own benefit. Neither will it be simple to move out when the realization hits.

It’s a trap, IMNSHO!


I wonder how they will handle returns and such like when you sell on eBay or Amazon. eBay started out as simply a middleman who helped bring buyers to sellers, and then stepped out of the way. When bad sellers started scamming people too much and eBay started to get a bad reputation, they imposed very strict rules that made sellers lives much more difficult, even the honest ones.

The PR speak says it will be simple. Sure. If your customer satisfaction metrics drop below 99.99999998% you lose your business. Simple!


Game theory would suggest that even if all individual business participants know this, they will still opt to sign up anyways because they're making locally optimum decisions.

The paradox of advertising is well known as well, yet ad spend continues to go up.

Unfortunately there aren't many solutions to the dilemma, there's always the illusion of choice but the reality ends up being coercive nonetheless.


Could you suggest some reading material on this please?

Of course it's free, you only have to agree to relinpquish your soul by clicking this button.

Some time ago I was thinking what would it take to bring down Facebook and one of the ideas was for social platform to allow direct sales for hobbyists/small shops. They managed to patch this vulnerability now.

How can developers leverage Facebook/Insta shops for business opportunities?

FTC is asleep at the wheel, with Facebook.

Did you know they're doing dating, gamestreaming, classified ads....list goes on longer than my patience.


In the light of this, it's much more obvious why they stared exposing the Facebook brand in their Instagram and WhatsApp properties.

What does this mean for Squarespace and companies alike who strive to make shopping experiences for small and medium businesses?

Uber buys GrubHub, Facebook creates a Facebook Shop vertical for restaurants and food. Most places have a Facebook page anyway.

Interesting that their preview doesn't show any stars/reviews. I wonder if they will add this feature in the future?

how are those going to magically just-work without logistics and conflict resolution?

Could you explain what you mean by conflict resolution?

Do you mean payment chargebacks, refunds and fraud tickets?


(unfortunately) worked pretty well for amazon, and the concerns were the same

what do you mean? isn't the logistics and conflict resolution of amazon, pretty much best-in-class?

As one of the first Amazon customers I strongly disagree

This is a very smart move. Zuck proving he's the best allocator of capital in the consumer Internet space once again.

Im not in the HN bubble so much, I did delete for a few years.

Recently installed it to get on a few silver bullion trading groups as there is a shortage and boy are those groups super valuable for buying and selling.


Any idea how to apply for the early access to this api?

Looks like a challenge to Amazon minus the warehouses!

Does this work for subscription based businesses?

A whole class of retailer that will be blocked at my router. The Balkanization is well underway.

My thoughts exactly. I’ve blocked Facebook in my DNS hosts file & thankfully Firefox has a Facebook fence to isolate their trackers.

Out of curiosity, has doing this disrupted your web browsing experience in any way? I'd like to do this but I'm kind of afraid of alienating 75% of the web that relies on the FB JS SDK for something (I'm not really sure if this is the case, but it might be?)

EDIT: thanks for the responses. Will block at DNS :)


By "disrupt", do you mean "improves immensely"? It depends on how much FOMO you suffer from. For instance, the folks that I used to do music jams with (picture middle-aged folk playing bluegrass) have moved to FB Live(?) for some things. I don't see those, nor participate. That's okay, we do our own non-proprietary chat once a week in lieu of live jammin'. Local animal shelter posts stuff on FB, most of which I can live without.

Does shit break because something, something FB SDK? Nope, at least not shit I care about, and not FB.

But for the most part, I get to mostly forget that FB even exists.


Indeed. What's the point of having values if you're not willing to be burdened with some costs?

Since FB lacks strong values it gets imposed on the wider community, but such is life. The only true option is using or building alternatives. Trying to chain the monster, where every individual positive attributes always has to be controlled and directed from some other central body, whom we then also have to trust with even more power, sounds like a losing game to me.

Not using FB isn't that difficult anyway. There's plenty of group messaging apps that achieve much of the same.


Are you replying to me, or just hijacking to make a general point? Because FB gets blocked at DNS at my house, I could have saved you some typing on "values".

One friend of mine was visiting and noticed the same thing on my wifi. We got into debate where he argued to be freedom loving individual and I being in support of censorship. Now okay, I backed down with my "censorship" but unfortunately to quote RMS it ended up being "negative in the freedom dimension". Kinda regret it now that I was kind enough to give wifi access.

I was commenting in support of not using FB, which is supporting what you're saying...

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification (and the stealth edit ;-). I'd delete my original question if it wouldn't leave your comment dangling.

Thanks, this sounds great to me.

The only problems I could see is that some services that ONLY auth via Facebook will not work.

Having stated that, consider if you eliminate Facebook from your life and have issues on the web, and the answer to those issues is not "create a Facebook account" then it should be relatively safe to remove Facebook from your life.


Yep, I've already deleted my FB account since like 2014 but I know that a lot of sites load their SDK in order to track still. Thanks.

no problems blocking FB JS.

You could remove the DNS block and only block it from loading from 3rd party sites using the built-in Firefox support or a suitable WebExtension (and also block it in non-browser apps if desired by setting up a MITM proxy with a certificate only trusted by the browser and user agent filtering).

To me, it seems like these tech giants want the internet to start and end with their platforms. Facebook is becoming (or has become) people's experience of the "internet", it has a lot of what people want.

My concern is there isn't yet a law or enforced guidelines (similar to the GDPR) about machine learning, and what happens when it gets things wrong.

Recently, we've seen with a postcast app and pushbullet being threatened on Google. What happens if an AI or system decides it no longer likes your shop, or factors outside your control cause it to be flagged?

A commenter worried about MLM's, which is a valid point. Will we know the identity of the FB user who made the shop? How does the ownership process works? (I.E who actually "owns" the FB shop on FB and get admin controls).

I refuse to engage with and use FB, it may be that some shops become entirely FB oriented and forget "mycoolshop.com", because FB provides all the tools a business owner needs.

Sad, but slowly we're seeing the death of the internet we all wanted and possibly knew for a time in the early part of the century.


Brace yourself for the tide of MLM FB shops

Yikes, Facebook is the perfect petri dish for these sorts of things to take off.

What is MLM?

Multi-Level Marketing, e.g. that person from grade school who messages you out of the blue to ask how you're doing, and then tell you how much better you'd be doing with daily injections of IsoLeanIonigenTonicWater which you will also want to sell once you feel amazing/thin/virle/whatever.

I used to program in a co-working space for fun where the company next to me was trying to build one of those schemes with some sort of ionized water. The CEO was perpetually convinced that if he "just got 400,000$ in funding" everything was going to be great. All the employees seemed to hate it there. Was pretty annoying to listen to, but not as annoying as the guy a few cubicles away who was trying to sell gold.

Yikes, do you know what happened to him?

multi level marketing aka pyramid schemes

Is it US only?

US Only and selected shops for now.

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