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.
In an online discussion Friday, panelists on the RetailWire BrainTrust were split on the perennial question of whether Facebook can successfully convert users into shoppers, with some unconvinced that the feature will work — at least on a large scale.
“Consumers have fallen into a pattern of segmenting how they use social media,” said Chris Petersen, PhD., president of Integrated Marketing Solutions. “Facebook is still the portal of choice for interacting with family and friends, not a primary place to search for and buy products. Could a buy button work on Facebook? Yes, it if is an impulse buy or the consumer is at a point in their purchase path where they are ready to buy. But how many times do you go onto Facebook looking for product pages or purchase options? Even if a friend recommends something, where do you go? Typically not a product page on Facebook.”
“My view is that although there’s a mass market, Facebook is best used as a supplementary site for things like flash sales, specials or loyalty pitches,” said Ken Lonyai, digital innovation strategist and co-founder at ScreenPlay InterActive. “It cannot deliver the experience of a well-honed website and falls horribly short on maintaining brand ID. Smart merchants will use it for what it’s good for and not see it as a lazy solution to creating revenue.”
“No – simply no,” said Tom Redd, global vice president of strategic communications at SAP SAP. “People will review and learn with the tool, but after they see how Facebook is going deeper into their lives and personal data as they shop via Facebook, it will stop. Even Millennials will start to say no more. Once the scams with shopping on Facebook hit and the lack of security shows, it will all come to a screeching halt.”
About the Author
RetailWire gathers the sharpest minds in retailing to analyze the latest trends and issues.
Powered by Facebook Comments