Facebook is giving social commerce a serious second try. In a recent development reported by BuzzFeed, the social network is testing a shopping experience that allows users to buy items directly from business’ Facebook pages. The company is building shops within Facebook Pages, essentially mini e-commerce sites that give businesses a chance to set up a second store within the walled garden of Facebook.
From product discovery to checkout, Facebook wants to handle the entire shopping experience just like Google wishes to do with “Purchases On Google” which we reported earlier in the day.
“With the shop section on the page, we’re now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page,” Facebook product marketing manager, Emma Rodgers told BuzzFeed News. The shops are still in the testing phase among a small number of users and a handful of retail and e-commerce companies, but some already feature “buy” buttons.
Giving more inputs about the feature, Facebook informed that on mobile, the shopping features will appear in a new “shopping” section on the page, as pictured in below image, while on desktop the shopping section will appear as a separate tab on the page in the same area where the Timeline, About, Photos and other tabs are currently located.
The shopping section will showcase products in a format that appears to be similar to the way photos are laid out. If someone wants to buy a product, retailers will have the choice whether the actual transaction will take place within Facebook or whether you’ll be redirected to the company’s website.
For retailers who would want to continue the shopping experience inside Facebook, the payment and checkout experience would be same like it happens for Buy Button – a feature Facebook had launched earlier last month with the goal to help businesses drive sales directly through Facebook via News Feed ads and Page posts without leaving Facebook.
Facebook is trying to keep the entire test under cover but the news comes at an interesting time when almost every social network is trying to make commerce happen on its platform, thereby taking retailers into confidence and opening a new revenue source for themselves. From Google to Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, every network is trying to make commerce happen on its platform.
This is another push from Facebook to marry commerce with social networking. Earlier Facebook tried introducing features like Collections feature with buy buttons, on-site payments to charities with its Donate Button and the most recent being the testing of an “Auto-Fill With Facebook” feature that automatically enters your payment details when you’re making a purchase in a third-party eCommerce app.
With the proliferation of mobile activities and mobile driving eCommerce, Facebook added peer-to-peer payments in Messenger earlier this year, and rolled out a business version of Facebook Messenger that allows customers to interact with businesses, including retailers. Recent reports have suggested the social network is also in the midst of testing a shopping assistant feature for Messenger.
However, the fate of all these investments lie in the hands of the user who is yet to give a nod to commerce on social networks. But if Facebook can crack the entire shopping experience with minimum iterations, users wouldn’t mind. Thereby giving the social network a new big revenue source.