With fewer customers walking into stores and restaurants during the pandemic, small businesses have had to find new ways to sell and reach customers online. Facebook’s free tools and personalized ads are a lifeline for many small businesses making this transition — and we’ve worked hard to create new products like Facebook Shops to make it easier for them to showcase their products and sell directly.
Today we’re introducing Facebook Business Suite, a new interface to help businesses save time and stay up to date by managing their pages or profiles across our apps. It allows them to post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time, and manage and receive messages, notifications and alerts in one place. They can also easily see what’s working and learn what’s resonating with customers with Facebook and Instagram insights.
Amanda Stefl is one of a number of small business owners around the world that has tested Facebook Business Suite. Amanda runs a Timber Hill Winery in Milton, Wisconsin, and a big part of her business is hosting events for wine lovers. So, when the pandemic hit, she had to get creative — using Facebook Live to run virtual events and Facebook and Instagram to communicate with customers remotely.
Amanda told us:
We’re building Facebook Business Suite for small businesses first, but this is a long-term investment to make this the main interface for businesses of all sizes who use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. It is available for small businesses globally starting today and will expand to larger businesses next year.
After several tough months for small businesses around the world, we are also releasing two new surveys today that provide some good news. Our latest Global State of Small Business Report, produced monthly in partnership with the World Bank and OECD, found that small businesses making more than 25% of their sales online are more likely to report higher sales than this time last year and less likely to have reduced their number of employees.
We are also publishing a study on the impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ purchasing patterns and their use of digital tools to search for and interact with businesses, in partnership with Deloitte. Nearly half of those surveyed said they had spent more money online overall since the outbreak, and 40% have increased their use of social media and online messaging for product and business recommendations. And of those who have swapped at least one of their usual businesses for a new one during the pandemic, nearly two-thirds said they used digital tools to discover that new business.
The survey also found encouraging support for local businesses. Of those who said they had started shopping at new businesses, nearly three-quarters said that at least one was a small business. 31% also said they will increase their spending with small local businesses once the pandemic is over.
The last few months have been tough for small businesses everywhere, and while there are reasons to be optimistic there is still much uncertainty ahead. But whatever happens, Facebook will continue to do all we can to help them adapt, survive and thrive online.