Social networking mammoth Facebook might be in for an initial venture into e-Commerce with the launch of the Buy button on its core mobile app, allowing users to make in-app purchases for products and virtual services from retailers.
The Buy button is intended to enable Facebook users to snap up offerings that can catch their interest without having to click away to another site outside Facebook. On the part of the retailers, Facebook is not yet going to charge them for the service, which is expected to boost their sales. However, Mark Zuckerberg is not discounting the prospect of asking businesses fees for facilitating in-app marketing of their products as advertised.
Buy button is still in its testing phase, so there is a good chance that the new feature will get axed once Facebook determines it is not catching the attention of many, or it could become a harbinger of a new business for Facebook and its billion users: ecommerce. Will that mean it is also taking on Amazon? We will find out then.
Right now, what we know with certainty is that the Facebook Buy button is developed for users to complete the entire purchase of a product, including payment and submission of details for delivery. The source of revenue for Facebook will come from the conversion rate, which is a lucrative business model, as is done by PayPal. Users can choose to enter their credit card information into the feature’s vaulted ecosystem so as to avoid entering the same data in future purchases, or just check out if her or she feels it is unsafe to store those pieces of information on Facebook’s enclaves.
Facebook, on the other hand, promises that the Buy button is foolproof for any attempt at intruding into the privacy of users. That means user data would not be transmitted or exposed to the advertisers. However, there is no guarantee for that.
This is also not the first time that Facebook tried to introduce an ecommerce feature to the social network. In 2012, a Collections feature was mounted on the site, which allowed users to make off-site payment. However, that was short-lived. Later, it unveiled Donate Button in 2013 for on-site payments to charitable organizations. That did not live long too. Then most recently, it created a fresh functionality for users to make purchases in third-party apps automatically by entering once their payment details into auto-fill feature.
Facebook plans to finally charge small and medium size enterprises if the Buy button proves to be a successful feature.