Independent retailers are taking advantage of a new, free online selling service launched last month, known as Facebook Shops.

The social media platform lists shops and their products across its business pages, Instagram profiles and targeted adverts for customers to browse.

Retailers need a website in order to sign up, but Facebook confirmed to betterRetailing that those with an existing Facebook account, or Instagram profile, will automatically convert to a shop.

How to use Facebook to promote your shop

“Before customising their store, a business will need to have received an email or notification that they can now use Facebook Shops,” said a spokesperson.

Amrit Singh of Nisa High Heath in Walsall said he will be focusing on how he can use the service to promote his business.

“Online was always our focus – we wanted to start with our own delivery app and then cover all platforms,” he said.

“The coronavirus, however, has pushed us to do this quicker. I’ve hired three people to manage and process our online sales. We are actually finishing off creating an Amazon account, but I’ll be adding this to the mix now.”

How to use social media to promote your shop

Facebook brought forward the launch because of the pandemic to help small businesses continue serving their customers.

Eventually, the feature will be available to use on WhatsApp. “Many businesses are already using WhatsApp to help close sales with customers,” said a spokesperson. “In the future, we’ll make it possible to purchase something within WhatsApp.”

Facebook reassured retailers that sellers must adhere to its commerce and advertising policies, and if anyone is caught profiteering, their listing will be removed.

How to list your shop on Google Maps