Facebook trials social shopping feature with small businesses

  • Technology
  • October 15, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Facebook trials social shopping feature with small businesses
Image source / Facebook

Facebook says only a selected group of users would see items from small businesses in the US, so New Zealand isn’t involved yet, unlike the buy-and-sell function it tested here earlier in the year.

There will also be a product-search tool in the drop-down shopping section that will allow users to search for specific items, rather than just looking at recent posts.

The trial is significantly different from the retail ads that already pop up in your newsfeed in between the conspiracy theory rants from your high school friend that’s turned a bit weird and your mum’s inspirational quote posts.

It requires users to actively seek out products and retailers and choose to shop, rather than the traditional means of an ad appearing in a newsfeed with the hope that someone will get sucked in and click on it. 

"We're going from a paradigm of ads being a push to consumers to being more of a pull,” ThoughtWorks Retail strategy consultant Rachel Brooks said to Washington Post.

"So people are requesting content from brands, shops and retailers, instead of looking at them as more of a roadblock."

This follows the growing number of examples of content marketing, as brands and advertisers strive to make advertising useful to customers so they’ll actively seek it out, rather than avoid it.

Think Netflix’s sponsor-generated content on its new show, Narcos, called Cocainenomics, which was featured in The Washington Post. More locally, Mitre 10’s Easy As DIY videos on YouTube are done using products from its stores.

A key point for brands is the transactions only takes the customer to the retailer’s own website when the customer is about to purchase the item.

The majority of the sales process is carried out seamlessly in Facebook, giving companies less control over how customers experience its brand.

Social commerce has been trialled across every major social network, including Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, but no one has loudly celebrated the success of clicks translating into sales.

Facebook has given some insight, saying department store giant Neiman Marcus used the pre-existing ad carousel format on its site, which resulted in three times more conversions and 85 percent better click-through rates that other advertising efforts.

The lack of companies and social networks heralding the success of their social commerce trials could be considered a sign of it not taking off – yet.

Some think the attempts to engage customers might not work.

Scott Galloway, a New York University marketing and branding professor, suggested to the Washington Post that perhaps people view social networks as the digital equivalent of hanging out at a bar – a place to socialise and shoot the breeze, not buy material things.

It’s well documented that word of mouth is one of the most trusted avenues when deciding where to spend money, as people love to recommend or discuss products or companies within their own circles on social media.

However, those conversations occur in a safe environment between people who trust one another, so some might not take kindly to an unknown brand barging in on that discussion.

eBay recently made a very smart move in this direction with its ‘Help Me Shop’.

The button on items on it site allows customers to invite Facebook friends to assist them with a purchase decision by commenting or voting on their favourite item to help the user.

But not every company is as savvy as the ecommerce giant. Galloway says brands entering customer’s online social spaces could be seen as invasive.

 "Is it just a matter of time [before users start using it], or are social media firms trying to force an unnatural act?" Galloway says.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Kiwi Property makes $138m net profit for the year

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Kiwi Property makes $138m net profit for the year

Kiwi Property has reported a strong full year underlying profit, as it continues to reinvest in its Auckland retail and office properties.

Read more

Thankyou’s latest campaign combines scent and charity work

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Thankyou’s latest campaign combines scent and charity work

Australian charity product organisation Thankyou has launched its latest Kiwi campaign, combining that fact that 100 percent of its profit goes towards helping end global poverty with its use of perfume-grade botanical oils in its products.

Read more

From edible insects to beautiful homeware: Made of Tomorrow’s co-founder talks its new venture

  • Design
  • May 21, 2019
  • Idealog
From edible insects to beautiful homeware: Made of Tomorrow’s co-founder talks its new venture

Most people would be in agreement that bugs, planters and room dividers don’t have much in common, but Matt Genefaas and Dan Craig would beg to differ. The two juggle running an edible insect company, Crawlers, as well as a homeware company, Made of Tomorrow. Genefaas has a chat about what the new furniture range, Space Between, was inspired by, as well as how him and Craig spend their days in slashie roles moving between pushing dried insects to the world, as well as polished mirrors and space dividers.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Why is the next generation so anxious? Here's how young founders can avoid burn-out

  • Opinion
  • May 21, 2019
  • Jennifer Young
Why is the next generation so anxious? Here's how young founders can avoid burn-out

There may be good reason to be concerned about our young entrepreneurs. Millennials and Generation Z have been labelled generation burn-out, generation snowflake and described as narcissistic, entitled, tech-dependent and fragile. They’re also oversaturated with headlines about the raft of issues like climate change they have to tackle, plus concerns about the impact of technology and social media on their mental health. Jennifer Young explores possible reasons why the younger generation is so anxious, as well as what young founders can do to avoid burn-out.

Read more

Vodafone NZ sold to private investors for $3.4b

  • News
  • May 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Vodafone NZ sold to private investors for $3.4b

Infrastructure investor Infratil is teaming up with a Canadian investment firm to buy the local operations of Vodafone for $3.4 billion.

Read more

Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

  • Property
  • May 16, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Readings present revised plan for Courtenay Central

The company that owns Courtenay Central in Wellington says it has big plans for redeveloping the complex - which is closed due to earthquake risks.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit