Facebook follows rivals into the cross-border e-commerce sector
Facebook has now surpassed 1.32 billion monthly active users, 654 million mobile users with 81.7% of daily active users located outside the US and Canada. In light of its robust global community, the social network giant recently announced its latest enhancement – the Buy button. The service is initially being tested by a selection of small and midsized businesses in the US and if successful will be the most recent addition to Facebook’s News Feed. Without being redirected to the merchant’s site or app, you can now purchase directly from your News Feed. This functionality is being rolled out both to the standard desktop Facebook site, as well as its mobile-optimised iteration. What’s more, purchases can be completed in one sitting, with users having the option as to whether or not their payment details are saved, thus ensuring payment experiences are safe and secure.
“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases,” Facebook states in a press release.
Rather than clicking away to a merchant’s site and opening the gap for consumers to change their mind, the Buy button lets you complete the entire purchase flow within Facebook. With the hope to boost conversion rates and attract retailers to the social network. You simply just click Buy, Confirm and voilà your purchase is complete!
This functionality coins the new term social commerce. Social commerce in Asia-Pacific is thriving in 2014, with e-commerce players investing heavily in social media platforms. Meanwhile, social networks are diversifying activities in e-commerce, with Facebook taking advantage of Amazon and eBay’s low presence in Asia-Pacific. In Thailand, there are currently over 10,000 Facebook e-commerce pages selling products and services, with some of these turning over $100,000 monthly. The social commerce phenomenon is sweeping the region, with significant growth also occurring in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Earlier this year, the Jakarta Post reported that Indonesia’s internet users enjoyed the highest level of satisfaction in online shopping out of 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in 2013. Facebook is already among the most popular ‘e-commerce’ sites for Indonesian consumers.
Development of social commerce in Asia-Pacific is a couple of years ahead of social commerce in Europe and North America. In China, 75% of internet users post at least one review or rating per month compared to 20% in North America and Europe. In the near future, e-commerce revenue in China will overtake the United States and become the number one global e-commerce market in the world. In China, social media platforms are rapidly integrating native e-commerce capabilities while those established in the e-commerce space are getting into the social platform business.
According to eMarketer, Facebook is predicted to account for 22.3% of the global mobile advertising market this year, up from 17.8% seen in 2013. “Commerce is really important and it’s a growing part of our business,” states COO Sheryl Sandberg. It’s clear to see Facebook are positioning themselves as not only an e-commerce company but a major player in direct response advertising. With over a billion registered users around the world, Facebook’s social commerce potential is significant.