On October 12, Facebook announced it would test out a new shopping feature on its site. The feature, called Canvas, will begin testing in select areas of the country.
The idea behind Canvas is to cut out the middleman between Facebook and retailers. When users click on in-feed ads they will no longer be directed to the company’s website, but instead be able to purchase directly through Facebook. It also allows for users to browse through other items that the company sells. Currently, there are a limited number of brands. It is mostly larger retailers such as Target and Niemen Marcus. If Canvas is successful, however, the number of retailers could expand.
Facebook developed the feature in response to the needs of the user. Many users no longer look at Facebook solely as a place to connect with family and friends. According to Facebook’s research, nearly half the people who visit their sites were actively seeking new products. This feature will meet their needs as well as drive sales for the businesses they are purchasing from.
Facebook is not the first social media site to join in the e-commerce game. Both Pinterest and Twitter have seen success with shopping features. Facebook is, however, the largest with around 1.23 billion users. Adding a shopping feature could entice even more users or convince current users to spend more time on the site.