Yesterday (Oct. 12), Bloomberg reported Facebook is testing new mobile shopping functionality beyond its simple "buy" button.
The new shopping features allow you to tap through from a retailer's ad in your news feed (as shown in the above screenshots) to a full catalog from the retailer. On a specific item listing, you can purchase the item on the retailer's website (Target.com in the above example).
Facebook is allowing users to shop select retailers' sites without having to launch a browser or a separate app.
"That feature is intended to help users browse items faster through Facebook, rather than get redirected to the marketer’s website," wrote Bloomberg's Sarah Frier.
Facebook is also introduction a full "shopping section" to its mobile app. The new section will be accessible via the same menu as "Events" and "Groups" within the app.
The company will be testing these new shopping features throughout the holiday season. Facebook will not be taking a cut of the revenue from these new features, for now. The model is clever in that, by keeping shoppers on the site while they browse, Facebook captures valuable, Amazon-like browsing data before a sale can be converted. Facebook can of course use this data to improve its ad targeting as well as increase the value of its platform to partner retailers.
Facebook isn't taking a cut from purchases in the testing phase. But even afterward, the real money might be in the Amazon-like browsing data it captures.
The social commerce arms race continues to ramp up. "Pinterest Inc. this year introduced a way for people to buy certain products directly from its site," Frier wrote. "Twitter Inc. allows people to buy items from some tweets, and in September announced a partnership with Stripe Inc., an online payments processor, to simplify mobile e-commerce."