Facebook Delves into Mobile E-Commerce

by Matt Klassen on October 13, 2015

From its controversial efforts to hook the unconnected billions on its carefully gated online community to its attempts to control media content, Facebook is committed to creating an online ecosystem so expansive that, if things go right, you’ll never have to leave the firm’s social network to do everything you’d like to do online.

Over the last year or so we’ve seen Facebook launch its global Internet.org platform (now called ‘Free Basics by Facebook) in an effort to bring a select number of helpful apps to the unconnected billions, knowing that if people start to associate free Internet with Facebook, they’re less likely to ever want (or need) to venture beyond Facebook’s digital walls. So to Facebook took significant steps to corner the media market, by enticing media content providers to allow the social network to host their news stories directly, instead of simply providing external links to them.

Now Zuckerberg and Co. have taken things one step further, looking to move further into e-commerce (or perhaps we should call it social commerce) in hopes of developing a platform that would allow users to easily and efficiently shop directly from the Facebook mobile app, hoping to compete with the likes of Amazon for your e-commerce dollars.

Granted mobile e-commerce (or what has become known as m-commerce in its own right, and will now likely become social commerce, or, God forbid, f-commerce) is not overly popular these days—accounting for less that 2% of retail sales—predominantly because the process is slow and cumbersome. But that’s exactly where Facebook thinks it can entice people to use the social network for online shopping, promising to smooth out the entire process for both consumers and businesses.

“We’re looking to give people an easier way to find products that will be interesting to them on mobile, make shopping easier and help businesses drive sales,” said Emma Rodgers, Facebook’s head of product marketing for commerce.

What that would look like would, in essence, be very similar to the company’s attempts at directly hosting news media. Instead of seeing an advertisement on Facebook, clicking on it, and being redirected to the advertiser’s external website to possibly purchase the item, users may soon be able to click on a ‘Buy Now’ button, making the purchase directly on Facebook.

Of course with everything else Facebook does, the goal here is simple: By keeping people using Facebook for longer—that is, by keeping people trapped inside the social network’s ecosystem—the more likely those users are to get their eyeballs on advertising, which in turn increases Facebook’s ad revenues.

“From Facebook’s perspective, they’re addressing a pain point for retailers,” said Catherine Boyle, an analyst at eMarketer. “They will attract serious ad dollars with this offering.”

It’s for that reason, I believe, that Facebook will thrive in the e-commerce market, because very much like Amazon, Facebook cares nothing about its retail profits, using this as simply yet another platform for keeping users and businesses suckling from its social networking teat.

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Previous post:

Next post: