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Facebook Introducing Shopping to WhatsApp

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this week the launch of four new shopping features to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The features that will be available soon on the popular social media platforms include WhatsApp Shops, Marketplace Shops, Instagram Visual Search, and Shop Ads. Marketplace Shops will be available for now only in the US, while Shops in WhatsApp will be coming to “several countries”.

WhatsApp Shops will allow users to chat with retailers to enquire about products. Marketplace Shops will let retailers create online stores with a checkout within the Facebook app, which will be also integrated with Instagram and WhatsApp.

Instagram Visual Search will help users find products based on images they like, while Shop Ads will “personalize the shopping experience by showing ads that are based on the users shopping behavior”.

The social media giant launched Shops last year as a way to expand into eCommerce. According to the company, the Shops have attracted over 300 million monthly visitors and about 1.2 million monthly active Shops.

E-commerce, AI, and VR

Zuckerberg confirmed that e-commerce is one of the company’s three key areas of focus, along with working on augmented and virtual reality.

The company said it is testing an artificial intelligence tool called ‘visual search‘ so users shopping on Instagram can click on items and find similar products in Shops.

Facebook is also working on ways to use augmented reality to allow shoppers to virtually try on items.

“We are trying to put a supercomputer into a pair of glasses that needs to be able to do 3D rendering and put holograms into the world,” said Zuckerberg.

Facebook’s first pair of consumer smart glasses in collaboration with Rayban, will be launched this year.

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