Serendipit explores Facebook’s new Shops feature and the growing integration of ecommerce on social media platforms.
Find yourself admiring a photo of an outfit on your Facebook newsfeed? What if you could buy it right then and there?
Facebook is rolling out a new feature where users can buy online from companies directly through Facebook without having to leave the social network. Facebook had attempted something similar in 2011. This attempt was met with little success and shops closed within a year. Companies who used the feature saw that consumers preferred shopping on their regular sites more and saw little benefit to having two places to shop online.
However, there are a few key factors changing the game in 2015. Mobile is becoming increasingly popular and as more time is spent on our phones, less time is spent on online shops on a desktop computer, so companies now are curious to see how they can better reach consumers through mobile. Taking advantage of social media apps, where smartphone users spend a majority of their time, could be one way to do so. In addition, platforms have become a lot more image-based, as with the growing interest in sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, users are finding themselves wanting to buy what they see.
Facebook is not the first site to introduce an ecommerce element to the platform. A few weeks ago, Pinterest introduced buyable pins on its site. Twitter also has a feature that allows users to purchase items found in tweets. And, very recently, Google introduced “Purchases on Google” where users are able to go through potential purchases on Google and complete a purchase through a Google-generated microsite.
Google charges a fee to companies who take advantage of this buy button feature. Facebook, at this time, says it does not plan to take any percentage of product sales done through the Facebook Shop feature.
Social media sites often roll out new features to stay relevant with its users, and Facebook is no exception. It is clear that social media is constantly evolving and it will be interesting to see how Facebook handles its second attempt implementing an ecommerce element to its site.
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