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Facebook Continues Shopping Push, Adds Dedicated Shopping Section

Can Facebook become a shopping destination?

Adam Berry / Getty Images

Facebook is trying all kinds of things to get people shopping on Facebook.

The social network added two new e-commerce features Monday, including a dedicated shopping section offering users a way to find products outside of their News Feed. Only a “small group” of retailers will list products within this section, according to Matt Idema, head of monetization product marketing at Facebook. He added that the products will be customized for each user based on their interests.

For now, only companies that are part of Facebook’s Product Pages trial will be included in the shopping section test.

Separately, Facebook will now host a retailer’s product catalog within its Canvas ad offering, a relatively new type of mobile ad. Under that trial feature, users who click on a Canvas ad can then surf a mini version of the retailer’s website — complete with buyable products — all without leaving Facebook. Target is one of the first retailers to use the new ad.

The intention here seems clear: Facebook is confident that people will one day shop on Facebook, and not just the spontaneous kind of purchasing that occurs when an interesting item happens to trickle through your News Feed. A shopping section is for people actively looking to buy. Of course, whether or not people will go to Facebook specifically to browse products online has yet to be seen. The company also started testing easier-to-find shopping Pages on mobile last month.

Facebook’s recent push into commerce may be driven, at least in part, by growing competition. Twitter is also diving into social shopping. It partnered with Stripe last month to get more retailers using its Buy Button, and followed that announcement with partnerships with Shopify and Bigcommerce as well.

For now, Facebook is only “testing” Monday’s updates, which means it’s still trying to figure out what actually works. There’s also a good chance you won’t notice them, as only a small handful of people will actually get the updates, Idema said.


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