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Facebook is beta testing a buy button for Shopify merchants


Social network Facebook is beta testing a buy button for DIY ecommerce platform Shopify. The company on its website said that it is working with a group of US-based merchants which will allow consumers to purchase products they discover in their News Feed or on Pages without having to leave Facebook.

Chosen merchants will see the following  message on their Home screen in their Shopify account over the next few weeks: shopify 1

“After adding the new Facebook sales channel to your Shopify account, you can start posting products with buy buttons, promoting those posts with paid advertising, managing all the customers and orders that come in from Facebook, and more,” the company added. Customers can optionally choose to save their payment information with Facebook for future purchases. However, the company does not mention when this will be rolled out in India and rest of the world. It’s worth noting that Facebook had been testing a buy button in July 2014.

Our take

The number of Internet companies and social networks who are adding buy buttons on their pages has implications for online advertising. The buy buttons will fuel a lot more impulsive purchases and with the option of storing payment details it can be done in probably 3-4 clicks making them quicker. Companies can no longer rely on banner ads to result in purchase conversions. It means that every additional step and click is a cost as users will drop off. Viva consumerism then.
With respect to discovery, especially in Google searches, the buy buttons shifts user behaviour from a serendipitous discovery of products on a consumer ecommerce site, to intent based purchases.  On social networks, recommendations to buy could be based on social graph and what your friends bought.

Other buy buttons

– Facebook rival and search giant Google in May said that it is looking to add a buy button on its search results pages for products on mobile devices. The button will appear next to sponsored or paid search results, which are usually on the top of the page, and will be displayed under “Shop on Google”. It is reported that retailers such as Macy’s are in talks to take part in the launch and that the products will still be provided and sold by retailers, and not by Google.

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– In the same month, YouTube said that it will add buy buttons to TrueView ads, where users can click to buy stuff after being redirected to that product page. This will be rolled out over desktop and mobile in the coming months.

– Earlier this month, Social bookmarking website Pinterest unveiled a way to buy items on the website through what it calls “Buyable Pins” marking its foray into ecommerce. Pinterest, on its blog, says that the feature is currently available in the US and users can pay for items through Apple Pay or a credit card. The company says that it does not store card details of users themselves and has signed up with Stripe, an e-commerce start-up that focuses on small and midsize online businesses to handle payments. Pinterest says that it has teamed up with major retailers like Cole Haan, Ethan Allen, Kate Spade and Macy’s and that the feature will be first available on iPhones and iPads in the coming few weeks.

Shopify in India

– In India, Shopify claims to work with Yellow Fashion, Postergully, Mandira Bedi Designs and The Beach Company. The company started its operations in India in June 2013 in association with Singtel.

– It also partnered with Getitbazaar to provide solutions for SMEs to set up an independent ecommerce enabled website and domain name for Rs 25,000 per year, with the payment gateway powered by Getit’s “order processing and payment collection mechanism”, starting at a nominal fee starting from Rs 100.

– In December 2013, it also partnered with Bharti Airtel to its SOHO and SME customers by provisioning the service through its cloud platform.

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– In December 2014,  Martmobi, a company  that creates mobile & tablet sites along with native Android and iOS apps for merchants, came on board Shopify’s platform as an app.  With the tie-up, merchants can create shopping apps and mobile sites for Android & iOS devices, as extensions to their Shopify-based desktop e-commerce websites. The app also offers integration to Google Analytics, Authorize.net and Mixpanel along with payment integration to PayPal, 2Checkout and Braintree among others. The company offers this service across various packages starting at $29 per month and going up to $179 per month.

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