As announced on 17th July, Facebook will integrate a new e-commerce feature in their existing advertising section by adding a ‘Buy’ button.
Facebook explains that it will not only reduce one extra click for conversion, but will also be beneficial for users in the sense that it will make it easier for them to explore and find products which are popular in their friend’s lists. Facebook added that it will help shoot up sales and inspire more sellers to use Facebook advertising.
Shopping experience now and then
The major difference this new feature will bring in the shopping interface. The user will not be directed to the merchant’s website; instead, the purchase will be managed by Facebook via the same interface. A third party payment facility will be integrated to ensure that no card details which are being shared with the Facebook are shared with the advertisers or merchants themselves. In fact, there will be privacy options so that the customers may choose explicitly whether to save his/her payment details for future transactions or not.
While this exact feature is completely new, Facebook has already tried something like this in 2012, when it launched a virtual store. Although, it was removed because of lack of interest; if it had been continued, the in-app purchase might have performed better as it was an extension of Facebook’s existing advertising on its News Feed.
Presently, the feature is being tested out with mostly small to medium enterprises in the US. The basic aim behind the launch of the feature is to help businesses increase sales through social media platform and the firms running the tests for this button are not being charged by Facebook. But this move can be seen as a step towards developing more commercial partnerships with companies and brands around the world.
Spencer Izard stated the move as a great step taken by the social network, but added that it is not a replacement for a real dedicated e-Commerce website for merchants. He further stated:
“Enabling the connection between customer and seller to be one step closer through the buy button in Facebook is definitely a sound business step for the company, by keeping people longer in Facebook. Also, the current form of the buy button is understandably targeted at the small and maybe medium retailer/seller. The inclusion of a buy button obviously provides benefits for impulse buying in a social context but in its current form is not scalable or appropriate for the business demands of a retailer who require full eCommerce platforms.”
Twitter also Banging In
Twitter also did somewhat similar thing recently when a ‘Buy’ button popped up and Amazon also allowed users to add products to their shopping cart via the Tweets.
Even, Twitter recently announced that they acquired payments infrastructure company CardSpring, which appears to be their move towards enabling them to generate real-time payments through their infrastructure. The business described its new partner as:
“A great fit with our philosophy regarding the best ways to bring in-the-moment commerce experiences to our users.”
The social media companies’ payment announcements describe their significant moves towards e-commerce world, but the future is quite unpredictable.