Facebook and Twitter now have “buy” buttons

July 28, 2014

Social media websites have become a major focus for many online retailers.

Social media websites have become a major focus for many online retailers. They offer a place to connect with consumers, announce new products, advertise sales and much more. In short, they offer an outlet for consumer engagement – a website where consumers can ask you questions, speak to fellow fans and keep up with developments regarding your company all at once.

Now there’s something new that social media websites are going to offer: the ability to buy products. According to multiple recent reports, both Facebook and Twitter are currently in the process of developing and implementing “buy buttons.” These buttons would be attached to some posts made by business owners and brands on Facebook – and would allow consumers to click directly over to an online credit card payment processing terminal. In short, these buttons would allow for consumers to see a product on social media – and then purchase it with a single click.

One industry expert – Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC, explained to NBC News that Facebook marketing by businesses large and small has become more common than anyone expected. So by instituting the buy button, these websites are pleasing both the consumers (who have demonstrated an interest in following and engaging with their favorite brands via these websites) and the businesses themselves (who are sure to see sales increases as a result.)

“Amazon’s increasingly advertising on Facebook; we’re seeing more and more direct marketing dollars flow onto Facebook than really anybody thought was likely to be the case three or four years ago,” Mahaney said. “They’ve figured out form factors that work well for advertisers and for users, so users don’t find these ads too intrusive, and they’re very action oriented … We think you’ll see more retailers use Facebook as a marketing channel.”

Why are social media outlets trying to change the way e-commerce works?
You might be wondering why social media outlets are interested in e-commerce – and the answer may surprise you. It’s because it may lead to even greater benefits for retailers hoping to sell their products via e-commerce. According to one Gartner research director, these websites are aiming to eventually link credit card payment information to user accounts. In theory, this could make it even easier for retailers to sell to consumers via social media: buyers wouldn’t even have to click over to a payment processing page, they would simply be able to click “buy” and have Facebook do the rest of the work for them.

“I see it as an integral piece of what Facebook is after,” Brian Blau, of Gartner, explained to Mashable. “They want to participate in that transaction. They want to facilitate it. They want to grab your credit card … We have seen evidence that Twitter wants to do the same thing as Facebook – participate in that transaction. They’re just getting started with collecting peoples’ credit cards.”

Another expert noted to the news outlet that the implementation of the “buy” button will make it easier for social media outlets to prove that advertisements hosted on their websites successfully convert buyers.

“Part of the motivation just has to be to make the whole advertising process easier, to prove the returns and the conversion rates,” says Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee. “Sure, if it results in them being more of an acceptable platform for e-commerce… that’s sort of gravy.”

At the end of the day, these developments seem sure to make life easier for many e-commerce websites. On that note, if you sell products online but don’t maintain social media accounts – it seems clear that now is the time to start.

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