Facebook shops were launched with an expectation to re-boot e-commerce infrastructure using a messenger app in COVID-hit economic climate and support businesses big and small worldwide. However, the initiative which enables purchases directly from a WhatsApp chat, will not be free of cost. Recently, Facebook Inc announced that it is planning to charge all business and hosting services.
Apparently, the scheme was launched to improve revenue streams from WhatsApp which it acquired in 2014 for $19 billion. On October 16, the tech giants had announced shopping and Facebook hosting services, which streamlined a process wherein customers were able to purchases products from businesses on a platform called Facebook shops. This platform was launched earlier this year as part of the changes proposed to generate new revenue pastures.
Facebook Shops will allow businesses of all sizes to set up an integrated online storefront for customers on both Facebook and Instagram. Meanwhile, the hosting services aims to use the cloud computing offering firms, who use its customer service messaging tools, the ability to store WhatsApp messages on Facebook servers. As for these services, the shopping tool would be launched in the coming months while the above mentioned hosting arena will be rolled out in 2021.
WhatsApp’s chief operating officer, Matt Idema, had confirmed that that the shopping platform will be available this year, whereas, the message hosting app would be rolled out next year. He further assured that Facebook Inc will not be using the data on its servers for other business purposes. More than 175 million people interact with a business each day on WhatsApp, Idema said. "The revenue is small today, by comparison to Facebook at large, but we think the opportunity is pretty big," he said.
At present, Facebook Shops are free to use and is designed to make shopping easier and more seamless for both customers and the businesses selling on the platform. The company however, has not given a definite time frame as to when these services will become paid services.
As WhatsApp has over 2 billion registered users already, the businesses will be expecting paid services to kick in in the coming months.