Facebook testing a “want” button for shoppers
Facebook is testing a “want” button that lets users of the social network create “wishlists” of products, laying the groundwork for what some believe could be an eventual push into e-commerce.
Facebook said it is working with seven retailers, including Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret, to test the new feature that will allow certain users to flag images of desired products by clicking a special “want” button.
“People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook,” Facebook said in a statement.
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The feature, which Facebook has dubbed Collections, could help Facebook play a bigger role in the online commerce market by encouraging its one billion users to buy products for their friends and by sending shoppers directly to online stores.
The Collections feature will gradually be offered to all of its US users, Facebook said, but it wasn’t yet clear if it would be extended overseas.
Some users will see the “want” button as part of the test, while others will see a button inviting them to “collect” an item or to “like” an item. Unlike Facebook’s existing “like” button, the feature that Facebook is testing will showcase the “liked” item within a user’s Timeline profile page.
Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said the new Collections feature could open up new sources of revenue for Facebook, whose stock has taken a drubbing as concerns about its long-term money-making prospects have mounted.
Finding cash on Facebook
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not receive a fee when someone purchases a wishlist item on Facebook from a retailer’s site.
“Ecommerce is one of the best ways to monetise the internet,” said Sebastian.
“Thinking about how large they are as a platform and how engaged people are, there are lots of levers they haven’t pulled yet in terms of monetisation,” he said. In addition to potentially collecting a transaction fee for referring users to a site, Sebastian said that retailers might also pay Facebook to promote products featured on users’ wishlists, similar to the way the Facebook’s current ads function.
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