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Facebook trials new online shopping endeavours

20 July 2015 - 09:39 by Mike Price

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Facebook may be the world’s biggest social network, but it is still trying to find ways of moving beyond its roles as a friendship facilitator.

It has dabbled with e-commerce in the past, although most of its efforts have involved third party advertising and integration with existing shopping channels. But last week, it was reported that the firm is seeking to strike out into the world of safe shopping online, with pages from which products can be purchased directly.

An executive for the company, quoted by BuzzFeed news, explained that adding the shop feature to Facebook pages will bring the retail experience to users more directly, without requiring them to click through to an external site to complete a transaction.

Although the trial is still an indication that this move into e-commerce is in the nascent stages, it is also apparent that other companies that offer safe shopping online will need to take notice of what Facebook is doing, in order to avoid having their share of the market depleted.

Facebook users can already transfer money to one another using the firm’s messaging application, while there are also plans to make it possible to buy products through this same platform.

As well as making it easier for users to make purchases without needing to switch to a different app or head to a third party site, Facebook will be able to make more money from sales commission and advertising, if and when it decides to change the rules governing its e-commerce activities.

It seems that while Facebook is not looking to strike out on its own and become the next Amazon, complete with its own distribution platform, it will attempt to corner more of the e-commerce market and make sure that it is the hub for retail activities.