Continuing its push to bring retail closer into its ranks, Facebook is testing Canvas and Shop – two new mobile-oriented tools designed to make it easier for the social networking site's 1.44bn global users to discover products in-app.
The main aim of Canvas is to help streamline the mobile shopping experience, which is too often hampered by slow load times and too many steps to checkout. According to Facebook, 60% of all retailers' overall online traffic now comes from mobile, but just 12% of checkouts are completed on the devices. Using Canvas, after clicking on an advert in a news feed, users will see a full-screen experience where they can browse in-app, quick-loading multiple products from the same retailer before being redirected to that retailer's own e-commerce site to make a purchase.
Notably, the focus of Canvas is on product discovery rather than purchase (within Facebook itself). Hence why it doesn't currently link to the platform's Buy Button – a tool that lets users buy single products directly from ads without leaving Facebook (see The Social Media Sell, 2015 for more). It also avoids conflict with another new tool called Shop.
Shop sits on Facebook's Pages – a section where Facebook users 'like' to follow businesses or figureheads in order to receive company updates. The concept allows brands either to add a link to their own retail websites, or allow users to buy directly from their Pages. For brands participating in the trial, Facebook is also testing a new shopping product aggregation feature in its Favourites section: a single place for users to view all their shopping-related content from Newsfeeds or followed pages. Eventually, according to Facebook, it will explore incorporating additional content such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.
For more on the topic of selling via social media, see: Virtual Added Value, part of our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend, Instagram for Retail Brands, Pinterest Reveals Buyable Pins, and SS16 Catwalks: Digital Innovations.
For more on retail opportunities for consumers on the go, see Start-Pause-Go: Retail in Hyper-Flow and Future Innovations in our Industry Trend Anywhere Retailing, and The Streamlined Sell in Roaming Retail.