Facebook is testing putting its ecommerce efforts front and center, which could mean big things for businesses looking to use Facebook to sell products.
Back in October, Facebook announced a new shopping feature where users can see things to buy from both business Pages and Groups. Businesses listing products on their Pages can appear in the section, greatly expanding their ability to be seen by potential customers.
The feature doesn't appear to be be widely available to everyone at this point.
“On Facebook we’ve seen that people are coming to our platform not only to connect with friends and family but also with products and brands,” the company said at the time. “In fact, a survey suggested that nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products, with a majority of them discovering new products in News Feed, Pages, and Groups.”
“This behavior—that’s already happening on Facebook—gives us a chance to make people and marketers’ experiences better,” it added. “We want to build native experiences that make it easier for both people to discover products on mobile and businesses to drive more sales. Some of our efforts are fully launched and are already creating value for people and businesses. Others are in early test phases. These tests will evolve as we get more feedback.”
As you can see from the image above, the "Shopping" feature is hardly front and center, but that changes with a new test Facebook is conducting, which puts a "Marketplace" icon right in the center at the bottom of the Facebook iOS app.
— Bryant Garvin® (@BryantGarvin) December 30, 2015
It appears where users are used to seeing the Messenger icon, which has been bumped up to the top in a similar position to how it appears in the Android app. All of the icons appear at the top on Android, and there is certainly room for the Marketplace icon to be squeezed in without having to eliminate anything else.
According to The Verge, the Marketplace button takes you to a shopping page, where you can browse and buy items from Pages. The publication shares a comment from Facebook:
"The experience will continue to evolve as we learn more about what’s useful for people and effective for businesses," a spokesperson told The Verge. "We’re still in the early stages of testing and will continue to update the experience as we learn more about what works best."
While it may be a while before most users and businesses have access to this (if they ever do), it certainly represents how Facebook is thinking about the future of business use.
The feature will clearly give businesses some major opportunities to attract shoppers.