Facebook is testing a new Buy button with a select group of retailers that lets you instantly buy products — without ever having to leave Facebook. When you click Buy, the entire transaction, including entering credit card and shipping information, takes place within the social networking site. Facebook told TechCrunch that while it’s not taking a cut of sales for purchases made with the Buy button, it won’t count out doing so in the future. Facebook’s new Buy button is only being tested with “small and medium-sized business in the US,” the company says.
Facebook once tested Buy buttons that led offsite, but until today, you could only claim offers or buy some gold in a game like Battle Pirates directly from ads or posts. Assuming the tests go successfully, you might start seeing Buy buttons in News Feed ads and Page posts very soon. “We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure,” writes Facebook in a blog post announcing the test. “None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers.”
Facebook’s new Buy button isn’t a wholly original idea. Twitter was caught testing the same kind of button a few weeks ago. Otherwise, Buy buttons aren’t popular on social networking sites, though shopping seems to be taking off on a variety of them, from Instagram to Pinterest. Wanelo, a rising social network-cum-shopping catalog site touts its Buy buttons prominently. People want to shop around inside a stream of items friends have recommended. The question is, how will they do it?