Authors and publishers have been selling books on Facebook for over six years now by setting up shops with 3rd-party services, and now Facebook wants to get into the act.
Buzzfeed reports that Facebook has finally woken up to the idea that commerce is possible any place where people congregate:
The company is building out shops within Facebook Pages, essentially mini e-commerce sites that give businesses a chance to set up second homes within its walls. The shops are still in the testing phase, but some already feature “buy” buttons that allow the entire shopping experience to occur within Facebook — from product discovery to checkout.
“With the shop section on the page, we’re now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page,” Facebook product marketing manager Emma Rodgers told BuzzFeed News.
If it works, bringing storefronts directly to Facebook Pages could have a transformative effect on online commerce, as retailers embrace the platform not just to inform their customers, but to sell directly to them.
That's interesting, but not for the reason everyone thinks.
Facebook shops are not a new idea. As I've previously reported, people have been selling stuff on Facebook since at least 2009. They've been using services like Streetlib, Aerbook, and Gumroad to install shops on existing FB pages, and in some cases also using payment processors like Paypal to make the sale.
No one knows how much is sold on FB each year, but at this point it has to be in the tens of millions of dollars - if not more.
And now Facebook wants a cut of those sales.
The social network is under increasing pressure from stockholders to increase revenues. That's why FB has gotten more aggressive in suppressing un-promoted posts, and why Facebook added buy buttons to updates last July.
It's 2015 and most web retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, and even B&N, have third-party sellers listing products on their respective sites. One could look at that fact and say that Facebook is late to the game, but it's also worth noting that a lot of those sellers have a presence on multiple sites.
It shouldn't be hard to encourage them to also set up shop on Facebook as well.
image by ell brown