Facebook enters e-commerce space with in-app shopping plans


Facebook is setting its sights on ecommerce, revealing plans to introduce an in-app buying option for its users.

Items including clothing, shoes and any other product offered by its advertisers will be available to buy from the smartphone and tablet app and the company is currently testing certain ad formats that will allow people to have what it believes is the best buying experience possible.

Facebook said people tend to avoid buying items using apps because the experience is slow and doesn't always work, but its aim is now to simplify that experience, so buying something is as easy as posting a status update. This is supported by a report from eMarketer that revealed only two per cent of sales are made via mobile platforms.

Features Facebook is considering implementing include ads that show a brand's products without taking users from the app, using tools such as popup ads or expanded pages when they click on an advert from a given company.

Businesses will also have the option of adding a catalogue of products to their company Facebook pages, making the journey more seamless for social networkers and more profitable for organisations. Additionally, a 'buy now' button could be added to Facebook ads, which users can click on and instantly buy products from their newsfeed.

"We're looking to give people an easier way to find products that will be interesting to them on mobile, make shopping easier and help businesses drive sales," said Emma Rodgers, Facebook's head of product marketing for commerce.

Facebook announced trials of some e-commerce features last July, including testing of ads and page posts that allowed customer to buy products without leaving the website.

"None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they'd like to save payment information for future purchases," the company said.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.