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Facebook Introduces “Buy” Button

Will people make ecommerce purchases inside the Facebook platform? Maybe.

Recently, Facebook started allowing people to make ecommerce purchases from a group of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses without leaving its page or app. These businesses can place a “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts. The companies can use this feature for free, but Facebook is reserving the option to change to a pay model. Facebook states that the feature was built with privacy in mind. None of people’s payment information will be shared with other advertisers, and people will have option of storing the information for future purchases.

 

Facebook Buy Button-Modify Watches Ad

If successful, this feature could be a boon for marketers. Customers can complete the entire transaction within Facebook. The lower friction means a possible increase in conversion rates. Who wouldn’t want a chance to increase sales? As Josh Constine of TechCrunch wrote, “It’s like the candy they sell in the grocery line. You’re already at checkout with your credit card out, so it’s easy to make an impulse purchase.”

Shortly after this announcement was made, MSN.com conducted an unscientific survey:

Facebook Buy Button-MSN.com poll results

This survey does not represent a large enough sample to be truly representative. Therefore, I looked at the comments on articles about this feature for greater understanding. For the most part, commenters agreed with the basic results of this survey. However, many marketers have great hope for this latest by Facebook to enter ecommerce.

So what obstacles does the Facebook “Buy” button face?

  • People are on Facebook to be social.
    People are on Facebook to catch up with friends and family and share photos and memes. They are not in the buying mindset. Facebook will need to tap into impulse buying to get people used to purchasing on its platform and have people save their payment information.
  • Facebook has a privacy/trust issue with users.
    Facebook has a long history of tension with its users over privacy and trust. The latest issue involved its psychological experiment carried out on 689,003 users’ newsfeeds. Facebook directly collects a tremendous amount of information on its users and buys more data from third parties. Will people trust it not to misuse or sell information? What about a data breach involving saved payment information?
  • Increased reliance on customer reviews
    People are increasingly looking at customer reviews before making purchases, especially more complex or expensive ones. This feature does not offer the opportunity to look at reviews. Users may be more likely to make a purchase if they are already engaged with a brand or have already decided to make a particular purchase.

Time will tell if this latest ecommerce effort by Facebook will succeed. As a consumer, I will not use it. However, as a marketer I cannot write it off yet. Consumers may now be ready for ecommerce on social networks.