Photo: Facebook

Facebook is launching a new online shopping marketplace called Facebook Shops, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: To date, most Facebook commerce has taken place between users via its Marketplace tab, a Craigslist-like feature, but Facebook Shops is at the center of its push to create an e-commerce platform for businesses.

The big picture: The move comes as more people are increasingly migrating to e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • "A lot of these aren't just businesses, they're pillars of our communities that people have poured their lives into. ... One of the ways small businesses are surviving during this period is moving online. I think this is going to be a big part of the future of commerce anyway, but it's more important right now," Zuckerberg said.
  • He also added that more than 160 million small businesses around the world use Facebook services — mostly for free.

The state of play: Facebook Shops launches Tuesday in the U.S. It'll be free for businesses across Facebook and Instagram, allowing them to choose the products they want to feature and customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors.

  • Users can discover Facebook Shops pages on a business' own Facebook page or Instagram profile — as well as through stories or ads. Customers can also purchase through Facebook or Instagram using the company's virtual payments portal.
  • Users can message businesses via Facebook's messaging apps — WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Direct — to ask questions or get support. The tech giant says that in the future, users will be able to check out directly via those apps.
  • Zuckerberg said that Facebook Shops will eventually include augmented reality, allowing customers to try items on from home.

Facebook says it's also introducing Instagram Shop, beginning in the U.S., to help users buy products they encounter via the app's Explore tab.

  • It's also making it easier for influencers to hawk products via livestreams.

Between the lines: Facebook says it's working with commerce partners like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CedCommerce, Cafe24, Tienda Nube and Feedonomics to give small businesses the support they need.

The bottom line: This is Facebook's first step toward creating a competitor to more established online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon.

Go deeper

Natural gas pipeline project cancelled after Supreme Court victory

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dominion Energy announced Sunday it has agreed to sell its natural gas transmission and storage network to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in a deal valued at $10 billion, including the assumption of debt.

Why it matters: The deal comes as Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy announced they are canceling their plans for the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline following a Supreme Court ruling. The ruling removed major hurdles for the companies, but "recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated" for the project.

Trump campaign "strongly" encourages face masks at outdoor rally

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Trump campaign will be providing face masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees at an upcoming rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

  • The campaign said in an email on Sunday that attendees are "strongly encouraged" to wear the masks.

Why it matters: The campaign's first coronavirus-era rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was notable for its lack of masks.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 11,317,637 — Total deaths: 531,729 — Total recoveries — 6,111,910Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 2,852,807 — Total deaths: 129,718 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.