“Facebook is ramping up efforts to entice companies… to sell wares on its pages and convert more of its 500 million users into online shoppers,” writes Business Week’s Olga Kharif.
It’s the most direct way yet that Facebook is looking to make shopping a more social experience. Kharif talked to Facebook’s David Fish, who’s running a group at aimed at creating commerce partnerships. Facebook has already met with 20 companies, and aims “to help retailers set up shop on its pages and build tools that let web users interact while buying.”
Facebook wants to create social commerce on the web. Shopping is best when it’s a shared experience. If you’re looking for a new TV, getting validation from a friend is a good thing. If you’re looking for a new outfit, you want to be told it looks good before dropping money on it.
Now, Facebook wants to help retailers spark new purchases through pages driven by “recommendations from friends who ‘like’ to buy.”
“It’s not natural to go to Facebook to shop—yet,” Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research told Business Week. “But it’s not a long step.”
That’s an important distinction. People are already going to Facebook to socialize with friends, and if they see something their friends have “liked” or purchased, they may be more inclined to follow suit. It’s in Facebook’s best interests to keep them on the site, which is why it makes sense to offer the experience directly. It’s also in retailers’ interests to engage people where they’re at, which right now is on Facebook. They can also use that store front as part of their social media strategy to engage customers directly.
Facebook’s Fisch is part of a group “meeting with retailers to help Facebook develop software that lets users solicit advice and product reviews from Facebook friends in real time, even while they’re shopping on other sites,” writes Khalid. That’s good news for retailers because their potential customers can tap into a pool of their friends and make a more informed purchase.
The Forbes article also highlights the company “Payvment,” which writes software “that can turn Facebook pages into storefronts.” There’s value there because people can have the instant gratification of making a purchase if they just got a good response from friends about a product.