Facebook announced yesterday that it will be testing some new features to offer an in-app shopping experience to users. With users spending a significant amount of time on the social media site, Facebook will aim to cash in on creating a seamless shopping experience, without leaving the site.
According to Facebook, almost half of its users “actively look for products, with a majority of them discovering new products in News Feed, Pages, and Groups.” Accordingly, it is experimenting with features that will integrate a shopping experience within Facebook itself. The company notes that the redirected pages from ads often take a long time to load. With the new Canvas feature, clicking on an ad will open up a variety of products in a fast-loading, full screen interface. Users will then be redirected to the retailer’s website to buy the product. It will also be testing a separate Shopping feed that is solely focused on discovering, sharing and buying products. “We’re testing with a limited set of small businesses in the US who are also testing the Shop section on Pages. Their products will be eligible to appear there. Over time we’ll explore incorporating additional content into this experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups,” Facebook said.
The Shop section is a recent addition, wherein businesses can display their products on the Facebook page, allowing users to buy directly. The new Shopping feed is similar to how Instant Articles work for news. Last year, it had introduced the 'Buy' call to action button for product ads on Facebook. Customers can purchase the product by clicking on it, without leaving Facebook. The transaction, however, is handled by a third party. The feature is also available on Twitter.
Facebook is trying to leverage its expanding user base to attract more businesses to use its platform for selling products. It is also trying to appeal to users plagued with slow and buggy shopping experiences on third party websites. It wants “to build native experiences that make it easier for both people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales.”