Facebook (FB) launched Shops a year ago and with the pandemic meaning more consumers are shifting online, it now has more than a million active shops today, with engagement from hundreds of millions of people.
Shops make it easy for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both its core platform and Instagram.
But when CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked at the Viva Technology conference in Paris if he was trying to “start a race” with Amazon (AMZN), he said: “There's a lot of competition in a lot of these areas … I don't think we are making a dent in Amazon yet.”
He said Facebook’s approach is different because it tries to be “open and partnership-oriented” and, while it doesn’t have all the tools that companies need in order to grow and sell online, “we have built some really good ones where a lot of businesses can drive sales through our ad products”.
“If we can extend that … that will be great but we will do it in partnership.”
He said Shops has “been a lifeline” for many companies, especially small ones who may not have the resources to build out a sophisticated online presence.
In the future, he envisages that users will be able to sell products via shops on Messenger and WhatsApp as well, and even potentially through the work the online giant is doing in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Zuckerberg said these technologies “will be a big part of the next major computing platform after phones and PCs”.
He has high hopes for AR in particular, which he hopes will eventually be available via a pair of normal pair of glasses, although he realises there are big challenges before that happens.
“We are trying put a supercomputer into a pair of glasses that needs to be able to do 3D rendering and put holograms into the world,” he said. This needs huge amount of computing power, plus the challenge of preventing the glasses from heating up and finding a way to fit a battery into the product that will last at least a day.
For now, he is excited about Facebook's first pair of consumer smart glasses in collaboration with Rayban, which should be out in the next few months, and which he said is "on the path to what we are trying to build".