Does Facebook Plan a Leap into E-Commerce with New ‘Want’ and ‘Collect’ Buttons?

on Oct 10, 2012

Billion-user strong social network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is testing a new feature for businesses’ brand pages that allows users to create wish-lists of clothing, home furnishing and other retail products, laying the groundwork for what some analysts believe could be an eventual push into e-commerce.

**Pinterest-like Collections**
Facebook’s new feature is officially called “Collections” and involves two partners to the social network’s omnipresent ‘Like’ button – ‘Want’ and ‘Collect’ buttons. Via the ‘Want’ button users will be able to add selected product images to their online wish-list, in a style similar to the fast-growing photo-sharing website Pinterest. They can also ‘Collect’ products, creating a collection gallery that would be visible to their friends. Similarly, Pinterest allows its users to “pin” images from its own site, and around the web, to their own virtual pin boards, which can be viewed by other users. Finally, Facebook is introducing a special version of its famous “Like” button which will showcase the chosen items within the user’s Timeline profile page. When Facebook members “want”, “collect” or “like” a product in “Collections”, they will also be offered the option to be redirected to the retailer’s online store where they can make an actual purchase.

**Facebook’s New Feature Tested on Retailer Brand Pages**
!m[Facebook Teams Up with Retailers to Launch New Pinterest-like Feature ](/uploads/story/552/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)Seven retailers’ Facebook pages are part of the first group testing the new platform. The social network teamed up with Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Smith Optics, Wayfair and to built ‘Collections’ based on existing behaviour from their Facebook fans:

“We’ve seen that businesses often use pages to share information about their products through photo albums. Today, we are beginning a small test in which a few select businesses will be able to share information about their products through a feature called Collections.” Facebook said in statement.
**Push into E-Commerce **
Following the news about the launch of ‘Collections’, some analysts said that Facebook’s new feature will help the social network to break into the online shopping market by sending users straight to online stores and helping businesses engage with their customers. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not charge the brands using the feature and does not receive a share from purchased wish-list items. But Robert Baird analyst Colin Sebastian told Reuters that ‘Collections’ could open up new sources of revenue for Facebook:

“Thinking about how large they are as a platform and how engaged people are, there are lots of levers they haven’t pulled yet in terms of monetisation.” In addition to potentially collecting a transaction fee for referring users to an e-commerce site, according to the Robert Baird analyst, retailers might also pay Facebook to promote products featured on users’ wish-lists, similar to the way the Facebook’s current ads function.

Facebook’s shares have fallen to little more than half their $38 initial price since its Wall Street flotation in May. Much of the slide has been caused by concerns about the company’s long-term money-making prospects and doubts over the effectiveness of its advertising programmes. According to analysts, Facebook’s successful move into e-commerce could also help improve investor sentiment again.
There was however no-one from Facebook available for comment on the much lobbied for ‘Dislike’ button. Srictly off the record, iNVEZZ staff believe that this announcement will send the social media giant’s shares into orbit!