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Facebook has long been viewed as a gateway to new customers and sales. Now after being absent for several years, the number 1 social network in the world is bringing back something that could push it even further: storefronts and “buy now” buttons on pages.

The move – which was confirmed to BuzzFeed News – is the latest in a series of attempts to bolster Facebook’s commerce strategy. According to Marketing Manager Emma Rodgers, the shop section on pages is “…now providing businesses with the ability to showcase their products directly on the page.” If successful, this can go a long way towards making the platform not just a way to market themselves and attract customers, but to sell to them directly. Facebook does not take a cut of the sales by doing it this way, but the hopes are that it will attract more advertisers to the platform.

During this time, Facebook stores are only testing “in the double-digits,” with more to be promised at a later date. Specific pages were not mentioned.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tested stores on their business pages. Back in 2009, 1-800-Flowers had set up a storefront on their page, and while the conversion rate may have been high amongst those who found it, not many people knew about it. Through 2012, brands such as GameStop, JC Penny, and Nordstrom opened and closed their Facebook storefronts citing factors such as poor traffic and familiarity with e-commerce on their own websites.

Therein lies the biggest challenge when it comes to Facebook stores. Out of its millions of users, not many of them associate Facebook with shopping. What they’re hoping this time around is being able to bank on the advent of smartphones. The platform accounts for roughly 1/3 of mobile traffic, and on its app, stores have been strategically placed below the toolbar and About section. Having a social store could entire buyers who may not want to be redirected to a website. It’s convenient, and that can go a long way.

Can it be more successful than last time? Will it catch on? Judging by history, there are plenty of skeptics, but thanks to advances in technology, there are plenty of optimists. We’ll revisit this one again when the testing period is over. To be continued…

*SOURCES:

Cohen, David. “Facebook Tests Stores on Pages.” SocialTimes. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/stores-pages-ecommerce/623522 July 16, 2015

Kantrowitz, Alex. “Facebook Takes Big Step Forward On Commerce, Builds Shops Into Pages.” BuzzFeed News. http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/facebook-takes-big-step-forward-on-commerce-builds-shops-int#.bsgMZDP3z July 15, 2015

Seetharaman, Deepa. “Facebook tests online stores, again.” The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/facebook-tests-online-stores-again/story-e6frgakx-1227448725882 July 20, 2015