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.”