With over 1.28 billion registered users, Facebook is by far the largest social media platform the world over.
829 million users logon daily and it has come to be a place where people have a chance to gossip about celebrities, announce some crucial life events, as well as discuss some breaking news. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to say that it’s the present-day town square, even though 18% of the entire population of the world find their way there.
The only thing that this massive social media platform lacks is the village market. In mid April this year, the Financial Times reported that Facebook was slowly wrapping up the regulatory process of being a remittance and payment processor. Then came July this year, and this social network announced the breaking news; they were finally introducing the “Buy” button.
For the first ten years since its inception, Facebook turned its attention on one of the lowest hanging fruits of the internet, that is, advertising. It went ahead to sell banners that anyone could hang around the town square, or gave a chance for brands to temporarily take advantage of a megaphone to shout over the crowds below.
However, those techniques were all the indirect solutions that the advertisers were not really happy about. The truth is that Brands exist because of customers, and not “Likes.” What they were keenly looking for was the “Buy” button, for which Facebook is finally giving it to them.
The skeptics may see ecommerce as but a mere play by Facebook, but one thing’s for sure; Facebook could be the biggest shopping platform the world has ever seen. In the past, it has tried to make some moves towards ecommerce that failed dismally, but reports from regulatory filings indicate that it is ready to go full swing.
You may remember that the first attempt by this social network was on Facbook Credits; a virtual currency formed at the time of Farmville-fueled social gaming boom, but registered a massive failure. Credit may have been short-lived, but one fact holds true; they were never a serious ecommerce powerhouse. Facebook learned from that experience and is now opening up the floodgates for the real thing.
Eventually, Facebook will strike a deal with big businesses and large retailers for the use of the “Buy” button (beta testing has already started with some merchants in the U.S.A), which means that before long, your Facebook news feed could be transformed into one large ecommerce platform.
In addition, people will need to develop some sophisticated approaches to support this shift. Once this change is introduced, the role played by the social media manager may have to change into something more like a salesperson or a merchant. They will need to understand when to talk less and when it’s time to strategically promote a special offer or a sale. They will be empowered, data-driven, and have a direct impact on revenue.
With one-fifth of the worlds population loging on to Facebook every month (Wall Street Journal) this feature will definitely have a major impact in the world of ecommerce.