Facebook Meets Pinterest Meets The Fancy Meets Facebook: A One-Stop Network
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Facebook wants to be your one stop online shop, the place where you chat with your friends, look for jobs, give gifts, download apps, search the web, send and receive email, discover and interact with new businesses, and now (finally) buy things.
It’s a little bit Pinterest and a little bit The Fancy: Facebook’s new “Collections” could provide the social behemoth with a potential revenue stream as they provide businesses on Facebook the opportunity to reach out and sell items directly through the site to their customers.
For those Facebook users who simply like to dream, Collections also gives them the chance to collect pretty images of the things they’d like to buy someday (le sigh…). Facebook described the new feature to AllFacebook.com thusly: “We’ve seen that businesses often use pages to share information about their products through photo albums. Today, we are beginning a small test in which a few select businesses will be able to share information about their products through a feature called Collections. Collections can be discovered in news feed, and people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook.”
Facebook will begin rolling out this new feature this afternoon and, according to All Things D, should make this feature widely available in the near future. After all, with a name like “Collections” and stock which refuses to perform up to snuff, Facebook will likely want users to begin shopping this way very soon.
FB has provided a few news sites with some example images of how Collections will look and act, including options to either “Collect,” “Want,” or “Like” the images displayed on a business’s page.
Pottery Barn gets the love in these examples, showing off both a lovely Hadley Ruched Duvet and a Winter Wood Wreath.
Elsewhere in the All Things D piece, Facebook has said they’ll one day offer Collections to all businesses with a page, assuming the new e-commerce portion of the site is a hit.
Users’ Timelines are said to be free of random pictures from random businesses, and will only show up there if the user is following the business or if a friend interacts with them first.
Though the opportunity may certainly turn up later, (there’s no reason to think why this won’t happen) companies can’t turn these Collections pictures into sponsored ads…yet.
As of now, when a company hosts a Collection on Facebook, clicking the link will take the user to a separate e-commerce site. However, Facebook could begin operating as such a site and take a few percentages off the backend whenever a company sells something through their site, a La Apple’s App Store. In addition to Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus and Fab.com are also early to offer these Collections.
Collections mimics Pinterest in that users will be able to store pictures of the items they want to buy in their own, special Collections folder. Collections also mimics The Fancy in that it brings brands and users together to facilitate an e-commerce transaction. So, rather than just present pretty pictures of what could be done or what could be purchased, The Fancy allows users to buy the item straight away from the retailer themselves.
All that’s left to be seen now, of course, is how flexible the idea of Facebook is in its users’ minds. Are they willing to see Facebook as an e-commerce site, or would they prefer to stick with pokes and light-stalking?