Facebook tests buy button on Pages to help small businesses sell you stuff

The social network's e-commerce efforts go beyond the News Feed and into your favorite businesses' pages.

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If it seems like every social network wants you to buy more stuff, well, you’re not completely off-base. Now those efforts are moving beyond ads into actual buy buttons, with Pinterest and Twitter piloting efforts to let you buy items straight from your main feed. Facebook is putting its own spin on the shoppable social network by turning Facebook Pages into their own storefronts.

Facebook has tested buy buttons attached to sponsored posts in your News Feed, but this new initiative lets businesses turn their pages into e-commerce sites, Buzzfeed reported Wednesday. The move gives businesses a way to monetize their Facebook pages without paying for sponsored posts, and because every step of the transaction is hosted within Facebook, buying an item will presumably be easier for shoppers. Facebook is testing the initiative with a limited number of businesses, and hasn’t yet shared the names of those businesses.

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Facebook is already using buy buttons in your News Feed, but its new initiative is a little different.

The network is still offering the buy button on posts in News Feed, and is also working on a personal assistant (codenamed “Moneypenny”) within Facebook Messenger that would help you look for and buy products. According to The Information, that service would be the digital equivalent of a personal concierge in a department store like Nordstrom, and would enlist real people to assist shoppers.

Why this matters: Shopping on a social network like Facebook, a place where you already spend a disturbing amount of time, may sound appealing, but it’s unclear whether there’s any real demand for it. Buy button tests on Pinterest, Twitter, and Google are in their very early days, with no meaningful data to report yet.

Would you buy from your favorite retailers if they were selling items on Facebook? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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