Facebook testing new mobile shopping channel

13 Oct 2015

Facebook is working on a new, single hosting venue for e-commerce, allowing users to shop while they keep an eye on status updates and videos of dogs falling off couches.

Noting that customers have moved to mobile well ahead of lagging businesses, Facebook’s latest plan is to help companies get their products seen.

Bidding to ‘connect people to brands and products’, Facebook is highlighting things like the already-known Carousel, and Canvas, released during the summer but only to a select few group of companies as a test.

However, its plans to create a single shopping channel is perhaps most interesting.

As you can see in the screengrab below, in the options to see events, friends, pages or groups there will also be a shopping stream, which is already being tested on a small scale in the US.

You will be able to access it by going through ‘favourites’ and, interestingly, a search bar means that certain keyword targeting, like Google, may be in the offing.

Facebook shopping

Surprising statistics

Weirdly, the company claims that nearly half of users visit Facebook to “actively look for products”, which sounds incredibly dubious.

This “behaviour”, as Facebook calls it, gives the company an opportunity to “make peoples and marketers’ experiences better”.

So what are the other great plans?

Well, Facebook is highlighting the success of its Carousel format, which is basically when you see an ad in your newsfeed that you can scroll through to see a few different products or services.

The company claims this has helped drive down the cost of advertising, in comparison to conversion. Presumably this is merely conversion towards people taking notice, rather than buying. Carousel has since been included on Instagram, and now hosts video.

Facebook does the work

Interestingly, so well designed is the back end of Facebook that, through Carousel, a company can log in loads of products and Facebook’s own metrics can push the products that relate most to users.

Additionally, Canvas (below) is a type of fast-loading mobile service, with users clicking on an ad then being quickly brought to a “fullscreen experience”, then on to the advertiser’s site.

Facebook Canvas facebook shopping

But the shopping channel, when it comes to full fruition, will be the most comprehensive and, if Facebook is right and half its users want to shop through its social media platform, then that means plenty of money coming its way.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic