Facebook’s ‘buy’ button lets you purchase products in posts
Facebook has introduced a new feature that will let users buy products directly from its website.
Shoppers can click a “buy” button to purchase items in adverts or other posts without leaving the social network.
Facebook, which boasts 1.2bn users, said this will “help businesses drive sales”.
The website has followed rivals into the highly lucrative ecommerce sector, with eMarketer predicting that US online retail sales will total $304.1bn this year.
In May, Amazon launched a service that lets customers add products to their shopping carts through a Twitter hashtag, while the microblogging service itself has hired Ticketmaster executive Nathan Hubbard to explore ways to let people buy items directly
“Not so long ago, people assumed that Facebook would be best suited for building awareness and engagement, not for influencing conversion or sales,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.
“With this step, Facebook is becoming even more firmly established as a major player in direct response advertising.
“It’s a definite sign that Facebook wants to restart its efforts to become an ecommerce company as well.”
Facebook also made a point of reassuring users that the new feature is safe and secure. On Wednesday, online marketplace eBay said its sales had been hit by a well-publicised cyber-attack that exposed the data of around 145m customers. Earlier this year, US retailer Target revealed that the personal details of up to 110m shoppers had been stolen by hackers.
“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure,” Facebook said in an online post.
“None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.”
The service is initially being tested with a few small and medium-sized businesses but could be rolled out if successful.