Facebook “Wants” to get a foothold in the ecommerce market by offering retailers (and consumers) a new window.
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With one billion consumers looking in (ok including a few pets).
Facebook is testing a new feature with retailers, allowing Facebookers to ‘want’ consumer items and create “wishlists” with images based on preferences a la Pinterest.
The feature could allow The Social Network to make a major entry into the F-comm (Facebook commerce) market it so desperately craves, and with its 1 billion strong audience, it has a lot of consumer eyeballs at its disposal.
Facebook is testing its new ecommerce tool with several US retailers, including Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics, and Fab.com, it confirmed this week.
“Collections can be discovered in news feed, and 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,” the network said.
“We’ve seen that businesses often use pages to share information about their products through photo albums.”
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Retailers can share info on products via a “Collections” tool which will be featured in user newsfeeds, which Facebookers can then ‘want’, add comments, like and share with friends.
The goodies can then be purchased via the social network, and also opening up a massive new online marketplace for retailers.
However, one major retailers aren’t convinced of the merits of F-comm platform, so far.
“At this stage, Facebook offers limited empirical benefit as a desktop commerce platform for large, low cost retailers who already have strong brand consideration, good online and instore traffic and e-sales growth,” a leading Aussie retailer told Channel News today.
“Facebook, as we currently understand it, and environments like eBay have very punitive commissions they charge 3rd party sellers.”
However, although social networks may not drive sales directly, it does help retailers get an “uninhibited” picture of consumer product ‘likes’ and attitudes towards the company.
“As a brand engagement medium Facebook is a useful source of feedback and indicator of uninhibited attitudes towards our brand, particular products, services and categories….and does help us form views about execution.”
“Twitter is also a great source of real time feedback,” the retailing exec believes.
The ‘Want’ button is a “smart move” by Facebook and one that “makes sense,” Telstyte analyst, Sam Yip, told Smarthouse.
“Facebook is now adding another P to the 4P’s of marketing – People – which will activate the online consumer.”
‘Wants’ is the next evolution of the wishlist and generally is a positive development for retailers if it is rolled out, and a good source of consumer intelligence.
Over the past two years the real online retail success stories have been the one with the “potent mix” of e-commerce sites connected to social media, like Groupon and other group buying sites, says Yip, which share offers with friends via social media, use Facebook ‘likes’ and other tools.