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Facebook’s new shopping features could boost sales for small businesses

The social network is becoming the shopping network: Facebook is now letting businesses sell items and services directly through their pages at no extra cost.

Facebook’s Shop section for Pages, which lists the items a particular business sells and allows general users to put in an offer for a product via Messenger, is being rolled out to merchants in “high-growth and emerging markets.” The countries set to receive the feature include Thailand, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, India, Argentina, and Taiwan.

The Services section allows businesses to do exactly the same in regard to the services they provide. This particular function is currently only available to professional services providers, but will receive a general roll-out in the coming weeks, reports VentureBeat. As you can see in the screenshots below, businesses can provide both photos and prices for the goods or services they sell.

Facebook_Services_Section2

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Alongside its integration of bots, these new features mark Facebook’s latest bid to boost business and customer engagement on its platform. The end goal will likely be to stop users from navigating to external websites for retail purposes. Smaller businesses will stand to benefit the most from the new sections, as they counteract the need for a website altogether. Additionally, with both Facebook (for mobile) and Facebook Messenger boasting a billion users each, it could expose businesses to an untapped customer base.

In the past, Facebook only permitted select businesses to sell products by creating paid ads. An estimated 60 million businesses are believed to have a presence on the social network.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has reached out to local businesses. In December, the platform launched a listings tool much to the ire of Yelp. Meanwhile, Instagram (which Facebook owns) has also been stepping up its features for brands and business users.