Is Facebook’s “Buy” Button The New Era Of Social Commerce?
Facebook recently announced that it was testing a new way for consumers to purchase products through their news feeds.
A select number of small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. are testing the “Buy” button, which is included on ads and Page posts. By including the button as a call-to-action, merchants can allow customers to purchase products without leaving Facebook.
It’s an exciting announcement for merchants, as they’ve been trying to truly monetize Facebook for many years. And after the overall failure of Facebook storefronts, this seems like a great alternative. But will consumers gravitate to it? The RTP editorial team shares their thoughts below:
Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief: I like the in-your-face “Buy Now” function, especially on a platform like Facebook that is not necessarily an intuitive commerce channel for consumers. Shoppers complete their purchases within the Facebook app, with stored credit card information. Facebook reports that this is a secure way to pay, but I imagine some shoppers will be skeptical, considering recent data breaches. And although Facebook is not charging a fee to participating retailers during the test, the company has not ruled this out for the future. So retailers and buyers beware.
Alicia Fiorletta, Senior Editor: The reason why Pinterest is so popular is because brands can easily connect the dots between aspirational content and fun images to their e-Commerce site. It looks like Facebook is trying to cash in on creating this seamless path to purchase. Customer data security is undoubtedly a key concern, but I also think retailers need to think long and hard about how to make the “Buy Now” button a valuable asset, not just another marketing channel. I could see it now: Retailers using the “Buy Now” button to just create more noise on Facebook feeds and frustrate their customers. However, I think there’s an opportunity for retailers to test fun messaging tactics to draw customers in and entice them enough to get them to use the button.
Kim Zimmermann, Managing Editor: I think it could work, but there would have to be some safeguards in place. In-app purchases have run into some trouble and the FTC is now suing Amazon for billing parents over unauthorized purchases made by children. If you neglect to log out of your Facebook account and the kids start making purchases it could be a problem.
Glenn Taylor, Associate Editor: I think it all boils down to the cost retailers are required to pay in order to be featured throughout news feeds. If the service continues to be free for retailers, it provides more than just free advertising and becomes a low-risk e-Commerce outlet to test product popularity. I’m sure Facebook would prefer to monetize the feature at some point, but the social network is going to have to prove to retailers that they can attain a high ROI first.
Brian Anderson, Associate Editor: While shoppers may find this feature as a great way for them to socially shop, it’s still going to take some time before the majority of shoppers feel comfortable buying in such a way. If I were a customer looking into this option, I’d be curious about what would happen if purchases were made accidentally. I’ve accidentally called many people in the past just by having my phone in my pocket; so what will happen if I accidentally make a purchase? I’d have to wait and see how testing goes before I consider buying via Facebook.
Samantha Polak, Editorial Intern: While the convenience is a plus, making purchases over a social app would make me a little wary. I’ve seen many people leave their Facebook accounts logged in on a friend’s or even a public computer. Then there is also the possibility off the infamous pocket-dial, which can only spell out trouble when your payment information is involved. In order for this “buy now” feature to be successful for retailers, I think Facebook will first have to prove to users that their information will always be secure, protected and only used intentionally.
Krystal Vadhar, Social Media Manager: The “Buy Now” feature will definitely be beneficial to retailers in the near future. It makes sense that Facebook would be taking this course of action, with the amount of success with recommended pages and sponsored ads, adding a “buy” button just completes the process! Like many consumers, I believe that I will be tempted to buy off of Facebook because the items will be right in front of us.