Facebook is adding a new shopping section to its main app, part of a broader push to capitalise on the increase in online retail in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak. The new section, Facebook Shop, was to start rolling out across the US on Tuesday. It lets people browse product catalogues from businesses and buy items on the social network. Facebook was previously testing the section with a small group of US users, and launched a similar feature on its Instagram photo-sharing app last month. Businesses could already add shopping catalogues to their Facebook pages, but there was no dedicated section inside the Facebook app for browsing e-commerce selections from multiple retailers or merchants. Facebook wins preliminary approval to settle facial recognition lawsuit Facebook also said Instagram’s Checkout feature, which lets users pay for items directly inside the app, will soon be available to all US businesses, a broad expansion after keeping the feature exclusive to certain partners for almost 18 months. The Menlo Park, California-based company is moving more aggressively into e-commerce as a way to enhance its targeted advertising operation and build revenue from businesses beyond ads. Facebook typically takes a fee from transactions completed on its service, but has temporarily suspended those commissions because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Vishal Shah, head of product at Instagram. E-commerce could also improve Facebook’s advertising, making it easier for marketers to generate sales from an ad, thus increasing the ad’s effectiveness. Facebook’s strategy of cloning competitors might be inspired by Chinese tech companies, Zuckerberg emails show Facebook unveiled a similar shopping feature earlier this year that will let businesses create one product catalogue that works across all of the social network’s different apps, including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp . Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has also been more heavily involved in shopping initiatives than in years past, a signal that Facebook is taking commerce more seriously given the expansion of online shopping. “I think there’s definitely an increased amount of energy around shopping, and that’s both the result of more leadership attention but really just what we’re seeing from the data and research around the pandemic and around people bringing their businesses online,” Shah said.