It seems that online shopping will soon become a major part of Facebook, as the social networking giant is testing a feature that allows users to buy items directly from businesses’ Facebook pages. The company intends to handle the entire shopping experience, including checkout, and is working with a number of retailers to test the service.
The storefronts will exist on brands’ pages and allow Facebook users to complete purchases without leaving the site. The move puts Facebook in more direct competition with the likes of Amazon, eBay and Google.
Emma Rodgers, Facebook’s product marketing manager, said the upcoming feature will give merchants the opportunity “to showcase their products directly on the page” and allow users to purchase them there and then via Buy buttons.
Facebook has been using Buy buttons for about a year now, but so far they've only been inside of advertisements in the news feed. Moving the service to dedicated pages where users can browse and purchase items seems like a logical progression for the feature.
Facebook spokesperson Mike Manning said it's too early to offer a timeline for when it will expand more broadly to include more retailers or be surfaced to more users. He declined to name the businesses participating in the initial test, but noted there are a range of different-sized retailers and e-commerce companies currently involved.
Facebook is not the only social platform to integrate e-commerce features; Pinterest and Twitter have recently introduced their own Buy buttons, and Google just announced that it would be rolling out a new feature called Purchases on Google, which will make it easier for consumers to buy products directly from mobile search ads.