Is Facebook ready to become an e-commerce force?
Evangelists have long touted the potential of bringing social media and commerce together, particularly when it comes to Facebook and its nearly one-and-a-half billion active monthly users. Now, according to reports, Facebook members will be able to make purchases through e-commerce shops within its pages without having to leave the site.
"With the shop section on the page, we’re now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page," Emma Rodgers, product marketing manager for Facebook, told BuzzFeed, which first broke the story.
Facebook has long relied on advertising as its key source of revenues. Earlier this year, the company announced it was adding Messenger so members could interact with businesses and track packages. The addition of direct commerce to Facebook pages would appear to make the social site into a one-stop shop for retailers looking to build not only their brand images but sales as well.
To be sure, Facebook is not alone in adding e-commerce functionality. Pinterest offers buyable pins on its site while Instagram ads may include a buy button that takes consumers to a retailer’s site to complete the transaction. This week, Google launched a buy button for ads that take consumers to a checkout page with pre-filled information from their Google accounts.
At this point, it is not clear how Facebook intends to profit from adding e-commerce functionality within its site. Various reports have speculated that the company may look for a cut of transactions once the service has proven itself as a sales driver. On the other hand, perhaps the service will just lead to higher advertising rates for Facebook as retailers buy more access to customers who suddenly have shopping choices galore springing up on pages all over the social media site.
- Facebook Takes Big Step Forward On Commerce, Builds Shops Into Pages – BuzzFeed News
- Facebook Wants to Own Your Life, Not Imitate Amazon – Wired
- Facebook is taking on Amazon with shopping pages – CNNMoney
- Social sites move to boost retail sales – RetailWire
- Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2015 (in millions) – Statista
Will shops within Facebook pages become a significant source of retail sales in the years ahead? What do you see as the challenges and opportunities for retailers looking to take advantage of shops on Facebook?