Facebook continues its push into e-commerce by testing several new ad features that will allow users to buy products without ever having to leave the app.
The social media giant has been gradually expanding into payment/e-commerce territory as a way of diversifying its platform’s capabilities. Earlier in the year it started allowing people to make payments over Facebook Messenger and started testing its buy-button in the summer.
There were also rumours of the company launching its own e-commerce festival in India, a move that would have pitted the social media powerhouse up against Google India.
Now Facebook is stepping up a gear and potentially setting its sights on bigger fishes such as Amazon and eBay.
“On Facebook we’ve seen that people are coming to our platform not only to connect with friends and family but also with products and brands. In fact, a survey suggested that nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products, with a majority of them discovering new products in News Feed, Pages, and Groups,” the company said.
Facebook says that the current way people interact with products on its platform is not conducive to high conversion rates. It says the mobile websites consumers are directed to often take a while to load and aren’t optimized, increasing the chance that people will drop off.
Canvas is something the company hopes will be able to tackle this problem. After clicking on an ad, people will see a fast-loading, full-screen experience where they can browse through a variety of products, before going to the retailer’s website to purchase.
More of the buy-button
The company has already been widely testing this capability and now People on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” button in ads in News Feed to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving the social network.
Pages’ Shop section
According to Facebook, their pages rack up over one billion visitors every month, which is why it is adding something called Shop Section. The new Shop section helps retail businesses bring their products to the forefront of their Page, while the new Services section enables professional services businesses to showcase a list of their offerings at the top of their Page. Businesses can choose to have this section link to their own retail websites, or they can test a way for people to buy directly on their Pages.
Single place for ‘product discovery’
In the coming weeks the company will begin testing a single place for people to discover, share and purchase products. It will be testing with a limited set of small businesses in the US, which are also testing the Shop section on Pages.
Their products will be eligible to appear there. Facebook said over time it will consider incorporating additional content into this experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.
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