Facebook has been a huge driver of web traffic for years. Back in 2013, it drove 21.25% of all the traffic sites received, meaning nearly one-fifth of the consumers who visited blogs and retailers came from the social network. Now, Facebook is looking to cut right to the economic chase. It’s turning its business pages into virtual storefronts.
Buzzfeed reports that Facebook is testing new, miniature e-commerce sites embedded within select retailers’ Facebook pages. New “shopping” tabs and “buy” buttons allow consumers to purchase an item they want, possibly completing the entire transaction right there. The idea of this test is to put the entire consumer experience into Facebook.
On mobile, the new feature will appear in a “shopping” section, while on desktop, it’ll appear as a separate tab, where the About tab, Photos tab, and other tabs are located. In the new section, companies can show off their products in a way that’s similar to how Facebook lays out photos. If a user wants to purchase something, retailers will be able to redirect them to the company site, or allow them to complete the entire transaction there on the Facebook page.
“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 of Facebook, told BuzzFeed News.
Although the new feature may seem like a dramatic move for the social network, several other monolithic media companies, including both Twitter and Pinterest, have begun diving into the world of e-commerce. Even Google unveiled a new buy button that’s being built into its ads.
Right now, Facebook isn’t planning to take a cut of the profits of the new feature, but as Buzzfeed notes, “the company’s history does contain instances where it’s rolled out products with favorable terms for businesses only to roll back those terms when it decides it needs to make more money.”