The social media site aims to widen its horizons beyond socializing and sharing content and media. This has led to e-commerce now being merged into social media as Facebook plans to introduce the shop section on its page very soon. The motive is to give immense exposure to one and a half million active monthly user base of the social media site.
Users will be able to shop directly from the site by making purchases within its pages encompassing the entire pathway from purchase to checkout. Products will be offered on Facebook by mini e-commerce shops without directing users to their own sites. According to Emma Rodgers, the product marketing manager of Facebook, businesses will display their products on the shop section of the page. Up till now, the social media has looked upon advertisements as its primary source of revenue which is going to reach $60 billion this year; while online commerce is set to reach a whopping $350 billion.
By means of this development, retailers will be able to offer their products at once to millions of prospective customers making the platform a one-stop-shop for them. People in favor of the decision say that businesses may be able to establish their brand image and increase their sales using Facebook. In addition to this, advertisers could use the valuable data after completed purchases. This entire model could prove to be very transforming and likely to have a revolutionary effect on online retail business.
At the beginning of the year, the social media site had announced the launch of a Messenger to foster the interaction between customers and businesses. This would enable users to convey their requirements and track their product deliveries. The company also introduced money transfer facility in the Messenger recently. Apart from this, a report says that Facebook is currently working on a virtual Messenger assistant that will help people research and buy products.
The e-commerce shops are still in the testing phase, although a few of them have already started displaying the “Buy” button. The company is not charging any commission as percentage of sales from retailers as of now but is likely to do so in the near future.
Although Facebook is very positive about this move and expecting a successful outcome, panelists of RetailWire BrainTrust did not agree completely. In an online discussion held on Friday, the panelists portrayed divided opinions on the topic. Critics did not think Facebook would be able to convert users into shoppers on a large scale. One such critic- Chris Petersen, President of Integrated Marketing Solutions said “Facebook is still the portal of choice for interacting with family and friends, not a primary place to search for and buy products”. Other criticisms include statements like Facebook being merely a supplementary site for flash sales or loyalty pitches.
Even amidst severe criticisms, e-commerce has been encroaching the social media world with Google introducing its “buy” button and Twitter and Pinterest launching their own versions of shops. Facebook will display these shops under the standard toolbar and about section.