Mark Zuckerberg: “Facebook Not Yet an E-commerce Competitor to Amazon”

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Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), was one of several highlight speakers at the Viva Technology conference in Paris that ends today, where he joined other visionaries like Tim Cook, Peggy Johnson, and Eric Yuan.

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At the virtual event, he was asked whether Facebook Shops --the company’s e-commerce endeavor-- was following the trail of Jeff Bezos’ online store behemoth, to which he said: “I don’t think we are making a dent in Amazon yet.”

Seizing the Pandemic Crisis

Zuckerberg’s conglomerate launched Shops a year ago, and it now has more than a million active shops, engaging hundreds of millions of people. Facebook aims at helping small businesses thrive in these turbulent, COVID-ridden times, so they can set up “a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram,” according to the company website.

“Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their catalog and then customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand.”

Facebook and Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) are part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.

A Different Path and Model

However, Zuckerberg says that Facebook Shops is slightly on a different approach to Amazon since it tries to be “open and partnership-oriented.” And while it doesn’t offer all the online tools Amazon does, “we have built some really good ones where a lot of businesses can drive sales through our ad products.”

But Zuckerberg is aiming at the long run, as Facebook Shops is working to roll out innovative shopping tools to achieve sounding differentiation.

At the Paris event, he talked of users being able to sell products via shops on Messenger and WhatsApp in the future, and even potentially through both virtual and augmented reality –tools Facebook itself is working on.

These technologies, he says, “will be a big part of the next major computing platform after phones and PCs (…) 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.”

Tough Competition

However, for now, Facebook Shops is trying to give any business-–especially small ones–-the space to showcase their products across Facebook’s entire family of apps, so they can create a storefront on Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, and Messenger.

With regards to the rise of e-commerce during the pandemic, Zuckerberg said: “Much of the commerce has shifted towards the online channel. In fact, it has been a lifesaver for many companies and we are proud to be able to serve them during this period. It is still very early, there is much more we want to do in this field, but e-commerce will continue to grow.”

Still, Zuckerberg acknowledged that e-commerce is a tough landscape today, as with the soaring growth of platforms and new consumer habits, “there is a lot of competition.”

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