Facebook pushes further into ecommerce with dedicated shopping section

Facebook is encouraging consumers to shop for more items via Facebook without having to leave its app as it introduces a range of new ad features.

Currently fewer users make purchases on mobile phones, preferring to browse rather than buy, because the mobile web can be much slower than desktop and making a purchase harder. Emarketer estimates that mobile purchases account for just 2% of retail sales.

“For people, the mobile shopping experience is often difficult to navigate. Customers can experience slow load times and too many steps on the way to checkout. This is bad for people and bad for marketers,” says Facebook in a blog post.

Facebook is hoping to change that with a trial feature that will host a retailer’s product catalogue within its ‘Canvas’ ad offering. Canvas ads look like a Facebook post but can open up into a full screen mode that allow users to scroll through pages of videos, text and images.

The aim is to enable retailers to showcase a range of products that consumers can sift through until they find something they’d like to buy. They will then be redirected to the ecommerce site to make a purchase.

Facebook is also introducing a new shopping section of the app that will appear in the dropdown menu alongside items such as ‘friends’, ‘events’ and ‘groups’. Plus brands that use Facebook will be able to display products for purchase directly on their own pages with users able to purchase them directly on Facebook through a “buy now” button.

The hope is that consumers will use the features to discover new items, rather than relying on products appearing in their news feed. That in turn should drive more advertising revenue from brands looking for sales.

Matt Idema, VP of monetisation product marketing, says: “People are increasingly discovering products on mobile and Facebook, yet the shopping experience could be better. What we’re doing – with proven products like carousel ads and new products we’re testing – is making it easier for people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive sales.”

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  • Elisa Jimenez 13 Oct 2015 at 3:05 am

    I think it’s a good idea for Facebook get into the ecommerce market. The possible customers already know the user-friendly Facebook layout, so it will be easier for them to navigate throughout the page and find item that they would like to get. People who used to buy online just using the computer, will be likely to buy also using their mobile, as it’s quick and easy. Also is a more reliable way of shopping. The customers can be redirected to the ecommerce site or to the Facebook page of the seller brand, which will increase the trust of the potential customer.

  • Daniel 13 Oct 2015 at 7:46 am

    I think that this idea is really going to take off and be a
    huge success. I personally have experienced trouble purchasing items on my
    phone because it usually takes to long and if I’m not somewhere with Wi-Fi it
    usually uses up a bunch of my data. I think that making it an easier way to
    shop off a phone will provide a greater opportunity for people to purchase
    items and will increase the number of online purchases via smartphones. I also
    think that it is interesting that Facebook is the company doing this, with Facebook
    being a major social network I really didn’t expect this to happen. I personally
    believe that it will work out really well for Facebook because it will
    encourage companies to advertise their products on their pages allowing Facebook to charge more money for ads bringing in a larger profit for the social media

  • Mary Kavan 14 Oct 2015 at 7:22 am

    Facebook adding on an commerce section? I honestly don’t know if people would use it. They are trying to become a mix of Pinterest and Amazon, while the attempt to merge the platforms could be useful, I doubt it will have the same kind of features that make the other two so preferred. Facebook has been working on adding a lot of new things to their platform to try and make a bigger come back as the “must need” social media format. As much as I think it might be useful for some people, I don’t think (this part at least) is going to be used by many. I think it will also be interesting to see how well people accept the idea of “buying” on Facebook. For instance, when Snapchat released their “snapcash” feature, everyone thought it was ridiculous and no one uses it because no one trusts it. Will people trust to buy things on Facebook? Also, they say they are trying to reduce the amount of steps that consumers have to go through to buy a product…but in order to use part of this application it involves searching for items, clicking on it, and then being redirected to the retailer’s website where there are still just as many steps as there would have been otherwise? I don’t think that’s actually accomplishing their goal, there.

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