Facebook is expanding its “Shops" feature to its messaging app WhatsApp in several countries and to Facebook Marketplace in the United States, the company said on Tuesday as it announced changes to its commerce tools. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said it would also introduce personalised advertisements in its Shops service based on users’ shopping behaviour. Facebook also said that it is investing in immersive technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence that will be the “foundation for the way we shop online going forward." The company said that with new discovery tools on Instagram, it is helping shoppers find new products and with AR experiences, it is helping people visualise items before they buy.
The social media giant, which launched Shops last year as a way for people to find and buy products on Facebook and Instagram as part of its push into ecommerce, said it has more than 300 million monthly Shops visitors and about 1.2 million monthly active Shops. The company said it would in the coming months test an artificial intelligence tool called ‘visual search’ so users shopping on its photo-sharing site Instagram can click on items and find similar products in Shops. Users will be able to use this search from content on the app or on photos on their own camera rolls, Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg said during Facebook’s last earnings release that e-commerce is one of the company’s three key areas of focus, along with working on augmented and virtual reality and helping content creators earn money on Facebook’s platforms. Facebook is also working on ways using augmented reality that shoppers can try on items, including from advertisements, Zuckerberg said, speaking in a live audio room on Facebook.
(With inputs from Reuters)