Facebook Gives Users Ability to Shop Directly On Site

Jul 20, 2015 10:34 AM EDT | By Juliano Dario

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See something you like on your Newsfeed? Pretty Soon you might be able to buy it right on Facebook. Last week, Buzzfeed reported that the social media giant was working on an integrated shopping feature, which is currently being tested in a small, closed beta.

The new features will allow brands and retailers to sell products right on their Facebook pages.

"With the shop section on the page, we're now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page," said Facebook product marketing manager Emma Rodgers in the Buzzfeed report.

The move mirrors that of other social media networks such as Pinterest and the Facebook owned Instagram, which both added shopping functionality earlier this year.

Facebook touts nearly 1.5 billion active monthly users, so it would make sense to try and turn some of them into shoppers. Will the platform will ever become a serious player in the online retail landscape? It seems Analysts are split down the middle.

After the Buzzfeed announcement, Retailwire gathered some industry experts for an online discussion on the news. Here's what some had to say:

Consumers have fallen into a pattern of segmenting how they use social media. Some media are in fact "social" where consumers go primarily to chat, gossip and catch up with friends and family. Facebook is still the portal of choice for interacting with family and friends, NOT a primary place to search for and buy products." - Chris Petersen, PhD, President, Integrated Marketing Solutions

"Most Facebook users will say negative things about this concept and idea, but most Facebook users will shop until they drop. You wait and see!"- David Biernbaum, Senior Marketing and Business Development Consultant, David Biernbaum Associates LLC

"My view is that although there's a mass market, Facebook is best used as a supplementary site for things like flash sales, specials or loyalty pitches. It cannot deliver the experience of a well-honed website and falls horribly short on maintaining brand ID." - Ken Lonyai, Digital Innovation Strategist, co-founder, ScreenPlay InterActive

Should Amazon, Ebay, and the rest be worried about Facebook's move in to ecommerce? Or will it be ignored by users? We'll have to wait and see. 

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