As part of an ongoing effort to enter the e-commerce space, Facebook is testing a targeted Shopping feed through its mobile app. But will it pay off?
Facebook has announced that it will be testing a dedicated Shopping feed through its mobile app. The announcement was made earlier this week through the social network’s blog. The Shopping feed is part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts to enter the e-commerce space.
Facebook has described the feed as “a single place for people to more easily discover, share and purchase products.” So far the testing is limited to a small number of US businesses whose products are eligible to appear in the feed. However, Facebook has stated that it will explore incorporating additional content into the experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.
The Shopping feed showcases a range of products that eligible businesses have chosen to highlight, with the range personalised based on a user’s individual Facebook data.
According to Facebook, the mobile shopping experience can often be difficult to navigate. Customers can experience slow load times and too many steps on the way to checkout. In an effort to address this, Facebook is already testing a host of features designed to facilitate the shopping experience across the platform.
Beyond the Shopping feed, Facebook is testing a new ad experience called Canvas. Clicking on these ads will take a user to a fast-loading, full-screen page within Facebook with a range of browseable products, rather than immediately shifting users to an external retailer website.
The dedicated Shopping feed provides a place to bring all these features together and a single place to browse the various products being showcased across the social network.
At this stage, Facebook doesn’t plan to take a cut of the shopping revenue. However, by having a more direct hand in users’ shopping experiences, Facebook can make its advertising more targeted and more effective. This will make Facebook more attractive to advertisers, particularly those eager to increase their mobile sales. If the Shopping feed takes off, it may also make Facebook more appealing to vendors, many of whom have struggled to gain significant customer penetration through the social network.
Facebook has stated that “we want to build native experiences that make it easier for both people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales.” Given Facebook’s struggles to enter the e-commerce space and a perceived user reluctance to fully embrace the social network as a shopping medium, it remains to be seen whether the efforts pay off.