Facebook has taken a leap into commerce by building out shops within Facebook Pages, allowing businesses with a Facebook Page a chance to sell directly to consumers. Although the new move into commerce is in its testing phase, some shops already sport a “buy” button, which keeps the consumer on the page from product browsing to purchase. The “buy” button was introduced last year, but Facebook’s new aim is to make the shopping experience more robust and integrated. Facebook currently does not take a percentage of sales.
BuzzFeed reports that, “bringing storefronts directly to Facebook Pages could have a transformative effect on online commerce, as retailers embrace the platform not just to inform their customers, but to sell directly to them.”
For Facebook, success in commerce would be a huge growth engine. Whereas digital advertising is predicted to reach $60 billion in 2015, according to eMarketer, online commerce is estimated to be worth $350 billion this year.
In addition to the “buy” button, Facebook debuted money transfer functionality in Messenger and, says BuzzFeed, is “reportedly working on a virtual Messenger assistant that will help people research and buy products.”
Commerce has come to other social media sites, including Pinterest and Twitter. Google also introduced its own “buy” button. According to Google’s AdWords blog, the move was an easy call. “To help smartphone shoppers buy with ease from their favorite retailers, we’ll be testing Purchases on Google. When a shopper searches on mobile for a product such as ‘women’s hoodies,’ she may see a shopping ad with ‘Buy on Google’ text. After clicking the ad, she’s taken to a retailer-branded product page hosted by Google. Checkout is seamless, simple, and secure, thanks to saved payment credentials in her Google Account.”
Forrester reveals that consumers spend 80 percent of their time on the top five mobile apps, forcing retailers to find ways of reaching customers through those most used apps. Facebook is the destination for 13 percent of all time sent on mobile apps, making it a compelling partner for sellers.