Social media giant Facebook wants to push deeper into e-commerce and a so-called buy button could help the company reach its revenue goals. Facebook is testing a new feature it says will help businesses drive sales through its News Feeds and on Pages.
Facebook clearly sees the opportunity -- and market research firm eMarketer spells it out. Worldwide business-to-consumer e-commerce sales will increase by 20.1 percent in 2014 to reach $1.5 trillion, the firm reports, and that growth is expected to come primarily from the rapidly expanding online and mobile user bases in emerging markets.
eMarketer specifically points to increases in m-commerce sales, advancing shipping and payment options, and the push into new international markets by major brands. Facebook could serve as a platform for those major brands and certainly has the international market reach and mobile popularity to push m-commerce forward.
Making a Call To Action
“With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the ‘Buy’ call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,” the company explained in a blog post.
Facebook said it built the feature with privacy in mind and has also taken steps to make sure e-commerce and m-commerce payments are safe and secure. For example, none of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing transactions is shared with other advertisers.
Facebook also stressed that shoppers can decide whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases. This buy now button is still in its early stages. Facebook is limiting the test to a few small and medium-size businesses in the U.S.
While Facebook continues testing, Twitter already has a buy now button on its social media platform and Amazon pushed out the ability to add products to its shopping cart through a tweet in May.
Twitter’s buy now button just appeared for the first time in July. Twitter also hooked up with Amazon to let tweeters shop more easily. By connecting your Twitter and Amazon accounts, the e-commerce giant explained, you are telling Amazon that #AmazonCart requests coming from your Twitter account should be added to your Amazon.com Shopping Cart.
Meanwhile, Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, reminded us that Facebook has tried and stumbled before with e-commerce.
“However this new ‘action’ offers intriguing possibilities for both marketers and Facebook. It won't negatively impact the user experience because the buy button resides within current ad units,” Sterling said. “Retargeted ads within the news feed also offer opportunities for conversions based on prior shopping outside Facebook. So there's great potential here for Facebook. We'll have to see how it is implemented, however.”