Social networks have become advertising networks, through and through. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing — social drives higher consumer engagement and can drive sales when implemented properly. To wit, Facebook is rolling out its own “buy now” button to take advantage of its position as world’s largest social network.
Recode reported that Facebook is partnering with the online payment service, Stripe. The goal of this to enable consumers to purchase products on Facebook without having to navigate away from the social network to complete the transaction. Facebook and Stripe have both confirmed the partnership, and Facebook has also confirmed that it is currently testing on the site.
Twitter also confirmed rumors about its own buy button. However, Twitter is testing a buy button provided by Stripe and other companies with “more partners to follow soon.” As noted previously, it makes total sense for Twitter to add a buy button: It’s a great way for the company to monetize because Twitter’s feed is fast, and based on instant gratification.
The strategy could go either way on Facebook. With the constant tweaking of the news feed, marketing content with buy buttons could inadvertently get filtered out. On the other hand, since other networks like Pinterest and Polyvore generate higher average order values, presenting users with a buy button on site could result in higher conversions and higher sales overall.
Social shopping is projected to generate $14 billion in sales by 2015, and if you can get millennials sharing a post with a buy button in it, the result could be a rush of users buying something based on a recommendation they trust. Indeed, embedding the necessary tools could push social shopping beyond the current one percent of the e-commerce industry. But only time will tell whether Twitter or Facebook is the better social shopping network.