Facebook is once again working on something new—the company is currently building “shops” within Facebook pages. These shops will allow users to browse and purchase directly from Facebook, without ever leaving the site.
According to Buzzfeed, the shops are still in the testing phase, but some already have a “buy” button to allow the purchase to take place inside of Facebook. Ultimately, the goal is to allow businesses to create e-commerce sites inside Facebook, instead of just being an advertising platform.
Social media based commerce is still a relatively new concept, and the results are unproven. However, bringing a store straight to Facebook could have a transformative result. Businesses will be drawn to the site as not just a place to spread the word about their product, but also a place to sell it.
This new project comes on the heels of the money transfer functionality of the Messenger app by Facebook, and the buy button that was part of an independent initiative last year. The company is also reportedly working on a Messenger assistant that will help people virtually find and purchase products.
Currently, Facebook does not receive a cut of the profit from product sales on its site. However, anyone familiar with Facebook knows that is liable to change if the company sees a chance to go back and monetize.
This new initiative to bring commerce to Facebook shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider how many other platforms are trying it. Both Twitter and Pinterest have introduced their own versions of shops, and even Google has introduced a buy button.
At a time where mobile usage is growing every day, it’s only natural the shop feature would be displayed prominently on Facebook’s mobile app—which sees 13% of all time spent in apps. The shops on the app are located right underneath the tool bar, where they can’t be missed.
The shops are currently in a very early stage, but they’re sure to have a big impact on businesses when they launch. Ultimately, it will allow them to use Facebook in a way that is more in line with what they do.