As the world moves to a new normal brought about by the Covid-19, it is no longer business as usual and this has led to  digital transformation across the globe.

According to analysts, the new normal has fast-tracked the 4TH Industrial revolution and for survival in this era, everyone has to adapt to the digital transformation.

Facebook, has also brought in a new feature, that of Facebook Shops.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg just announced that Facebook will be launching Facebook Shops today – the basic idea is that any small business can easily start a shop to sell things directly across their apps. If you visit someone’s shop, you’ll be able to see that small business’s story, see their featured products, and buy them in their apps.

This move from Facebook is particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19. As people are being told to stay home, physical storefronts are having a hard time staying open and millions of people are losing their jobs.

Facebook Shops are free and easy to create. When you set up your shop, it will appear on your Facebook and Instagram accounts to start and soon on Messenger and WhatsApp too. Shops are native and fast, which means no more app-switching to a slow mobile web browser where you have to reenter your credit card when you tap on an interesting product you see in feeds. Facebook is also working with partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Channel Advisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics so that small businesses can easily integrate into a strong, open ecosystem of tools to help them manage their customer journey end-to-end, and it’s up to the business to decide what level of integration they want.

On top of that, the company is building a bunch of features across their apps to help people discover things from small businesses that they might want to buy. They’re building a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram and a destination inside Explore where you can find and buy products you might be interested in. Soon, Facebook will also be launching new Live shopping features across Facebook and Instagram, which will allow customers to shop on Live in real-time.

Lastly, in the near future, Shops will use AI and augmented reality tech to create better shopping experiences. The Facebook app will automatically identify and tag products in feeds so people can easily click-through to purchase when they find things they like. Small businesses will also be able to personalize their storefronts to first show products that are most relevant to customers and use augmented reality to let them virtually try on things like sunglasses, lipstick or makeup to see how they might look on them before buying, or what furniture might look like in their room.

This all adds up to something quite powerful. If you’re running a small business or you’re thinking of starting one – even from your living room – you now have a whole suite of tools available that can help you serve people. As a business owner, you can build out your online presence across Facebook and Instagram. You can use Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate with your customers. You can reach new customers through ads. And now, one can also set up a full online store experience with Facebook Shops. All of these tools are open for business, even when your physical storefront can’t be. Hopefully this helps relieve some of the pressure that small businesses are facing right now and helps them prepare for a more online future.