In the past several days there have been very interesting announcements from both Google and Facebook. While unrelated to each other, they are both beginning some testing on new features that will allow people to make purchases right on their respective sites. Facebook is testing the option to effectively put a ‘store’ right on a business page, and Google is experimenting with a ‘buy button’ within the search results that will allow people to make purchases much more quickly and easily.
While they are both in the testing phases right now, it is good to get familiar with them early so if (or more likely, when) they roll out to a wider audience, you can begin to capitalize on them right away. There aren’t too many details on what types of things will be able to be sold, many people expect that marketers will be able to promote their own products or affiliate items using these features, which will present significant opportunities.
Facebook’s Shopping Pages
Reports show that Facebook is looking to build “Shops within Facebook Pages” so that you can sell items directly to ‘friends’ or other followers. This is a smart move since it will help to keep people on their page much longer than would otherwise be possible, and it will also make it much easier for marketers and brands to generate sales more quickly.
Marketers are already using Facebook to get their products in front of their audience, so it just makes sense for Facebook to give them the opportunity to make a sale within the social network. This will also benefit users since it will be much easier to make a purchase. Much of the information that they need to fill out will be able to be automatically added directly from Facebook’s database of user information. During the testing phase, Facebook is not taking a cut of any sales or anything like that, which is nice. So far, it seems that they don’t plan on requiring any commission even after it rolls out.
Purchases on Google
In a similar but unrelated report, Google has also announced that they are testing a feature called, “Purchases on Google.” This feature has been rumored to be coming for quite some time, but this is the first time it is actually out there in a live environment. Google is working with a very small number of high volume retailers to test out their system, which will allow people to make purchases much more quickly and easily.
The feature is designed to help improve the purchasing experience on mobile devices. When you do a search for something, the ads that show up may contain a buy button (or something similar) that will take you to a branded page to make a purchase. Once there, much of the information will be filled out for you, potentially even payment information if you have it on file, so you can make a purchase with just a few taps. This, of course, will be much easier than trying to type everything in on your mobile device.
The testing phase is expected to expand over the coming months and continue through the holiday season. At that point Google will evaluate its success and likely begin rolling it out to additional marketers and brands.
Both of these new features could be significant opportunities for all types of marketers. Keeping an eye on them is going to be very important for the long term success of most businesses today.