Facebook said Monday it’s testing two new major ways to shop on its app.
The social media site will test an in-app “Shopping section” that it says will be a “single place for people to more easily discover, share, and purchase products.” Retailers and products in this dedicated shopping feed will be customized according to shoppers’ interests.
Facebook is also testing immersive ads, which the company is calling “Canvas” ads, that load and play more quickly with shoppable content that run within Facebook, instead of directing users to a retailer's mobile site.
Shopping via social media is still a frontier in retail, but social media sites are going full throttle trying to figure out how to make things happen. Twitter, for example, recently unveiled a major expansion of its buy button program, and Facebook itself has tested the same type of buttons on its site, along with rolling out "shop" sections on businesses' pages. According to Facebook, nearly 50% of its users come to the site to search for products.
For Facebook, these two new products are another way the site can make its users more "sticky" and spend more time on the website--whether they are shopping, reading news articles, or catching up with friends. The moves are in the testing phase and therefore limited, but they solve a couple of problems now stymieing mobile commerce: lagging, slow-to-load ads and sites and a fractured shopping environment.
"Across each of these formats—from proven ad products such as carousel and dynamic products ads to new tests—our goal is to make it easier for people to discover relevant products on mobile while also driving results for businesses," Facebook said in a blog post.