Facebook has announced the launch of Shops in a new push into e-commerce. Shops is a way for businesses to set up free storefronts on Facebook and Instagram.

According to Facebook, the shops will be powered by third-party services that includes Shopify, BigCommerce, and Woo. They are designed to turn the social network into a top-tier shopping destination.

The launch of the service comes at a time when there has been a rise in e-commerce sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Shops will enable the small businesses that don’t have a website to be able to sell their wares online. In as much as one creates Shops for free, it will still generate business for Facebook in advertising, payments, and other services. Businesses will be able to buy ads for their Shops, and when people use Facebook’s checkout option, it charges them a fee.

Shops can be found on the businesses’ Facebook pages and Instagram profiles, and they can also appear in stories or be promoted in ads. Items that businesses have made available for purchase will appear within the shop, and users can either save items or place an order. One can be able to make the purchases from the Shops directly on Facebook, while others will take you to the business’s website to complete the transaction.

Businesses can handle customer support issues through Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Eventually, the company plans to let you browse store catalogs and make purchases directly from the chat window. It also plans to enable shopping from live streams, allowing brands and creators to tag items from their Facebook catalogs so that they appear on the bottom of live videos. Facebook is also working to integrate loyalty programs with shops.