Facebook and Instagram have worked with British conceptual designer Jo Sedley to support small businesses on Facebook's ecommerce platform, Shops, by creating unique shop window displays.
Thirteen businesses from across the UK have had their windows transformed with designs created to showcase each unique business story. The displays are digitally shoppable, using a unique QR code to take prospective customers to Facebook and Instagram, where they can browse, shop and support local stores online.
Presenter and business owner, Maya Jama, visited Marjorie Watts' zero-waste store, Healthier Without, in Streatham, to launch the project, which has been devised by Facebook, Hope & Glory PR and Studio Stilton. Using pine wood found in and around her local area, Sedley created a wave using the material to symbolise a sea of change. The window also incorporates the blue and green of nature to further emphasise Watts' love for Earth.
The other stores in the project are Coccolino in Norwich, England; Curious Candy in Bangor, Northern Ireland ; Crumtons in Bangor, Northern Ireland; Just Into Crafts in Llanelli, Wales; Angie's Baby Cwtch in Llanelli, Wales; Humbugs Coffee and Crafts in Dudley, England; Head in the Clouds in Bishop Auckland, England; Tinkers Treasures in Bishop Auckland, England; Oceanic Beauty Salon in Stockbridge, England ; Revive Interiors in Doncaster, England; Little Shop Of Heroes in Dunfermline, Scotland and Sew Yarn Crafty in Dunfermline, Scotland.
These transformations come as research reveals that consumers are likely to shift away from shopping on their local high street as restrictions completely lift. Despite 81% of people sharing a passion for supporting the businesses on their doorstep, and more than two-thirds (68%) saying this passion grew throughout the pandemic, more than half (55%) admitted larger chains may creep in as time becomes limited (29%) and they are commuting to and from work again (21%).
Steve Hatch, vice-president for Northern Europe, at Facebook, said: "We believe that small businesses deserve to be found, both on the high street and online through our free tools and personalised advertising.
"The past 16 months have been tough for small firms and many had to pivot to digital shops quickly so they could reach customers locally and further afield. These stunning window creations celebrate strong and resilient bricks-and-mortar shops who have used our technology to build their community.
"Our hope is that these transformations encourage people across the UK to continue supporting small businesses as things start to return to normal."
Facebook is also rolling out a one-to-one mentoring programme in 10 towns for 50 small enterprises. In addition, the social network is running a national "Boost" programme with the goal of training over 300,000 UK businesses in digital skills by the end of the year.
Facebook launched its ecommerce platform Shops service last year, as a space where small businesses could set up a free online store during lockdown. Last month, Facebook revealed plans to extend Shops to WhatsApp, where consumers would be able to communicate directly with small businesses before making a purchase.