Facebook tests 'want' button to boost retail on site

Facebook is testing a new "want" button with a group of retailers in the US, which will allow users to create shopping wishlists as it looks to beef up its ecommerce offering.

Facebook Pottery Barn page: new want button
Facebook Pottery Barn page: new want button

The new Collections feature helps retailers promote their products. As well as "liking" the collections, users can "collect" or "want" products and their actions will aggregate in their timelines and appear in their friends’ newsfeeds.

Products displayed will also include a link which takes the user out of Facebook to the retailer’s ecommerce site where they can purchase it.

The social networking giant is testing the tool with seven US retailers, including lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret, home retail store Pottery Barn and designer Michael Kors. It has not given any indication as to whether it will extend the trial to the UK.

Commerce on Facebook, or f-commerce as it has been dubbed, has been slow to gain traction. Not many retailers allow users to buy products within Facebook, despite initial hype.

In the UK, ASOS and Odeon have launched fully transactional Facebook stores, while Heinz and Magners have trialled selling one-off products on their pages.

Facebook claims that the new move is to help test product discoverability and distribution, rather than driving transactions on the social network. It does not get a fee from the retailer when a user buys one of its products.

The move, which comes at a time when Facebook is looking for additional revenue streams, is likely to prompt speculation of a bigger move into ecommerce further down the line.

If Facebook were to crack ecommerce it would give it highly valuable data on consumers’ spending habits as well as providing an alternative revenue stream to advertising.

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