Making an impulse buy of an item you see advertised when you’re scrolling through your News Feed is about to get a whole lot easier. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced on Thursday that it was testing a “Buy” button on ads and Page posts on its desktop site and mobile app to enable users to make a purchase without leaving Facebook. The button, which the company calls “a new way for people to discover and buy products on Facebook” and “a new feature to help businesses drive sales,” is currently in limited tests with a number of small and medium-sized U.S. businesses.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine reports that Facebook isn’t charging those businesses to test the button, though the company “was not disqualifying that option” in the future. It’s likely that if/when the feature rolls out, Facebook could at some point charge a fee or a percentage of revenue for businesses to use it. The button enables consumers to complete purchases without leaving Facebook by keeping a credit card on file with the social network, entering new payment details to save for future use, or making a purchase without saving payment details. Facebook won’t share payment details with other advertisers, and stresses the security of the service, noting that users don’t have to save any payment data with Facebook.
Constine notes that the Buy button isn’t Facebook’s first effort to bring ecommerce to its social network: “It tried a Pinterest-style Collections feature with buy buttons that led off-site back in 2012. It enabled on-site payments to charities with its Donate Button last year. Most recently, it’s been testing an ‘Auto-Fill With Facebook’ feature that automatically enters your payment details when you’re making a purchase in a third-party ecommerce app. Now it’s experimenting with letting you make purchases of physical good from for-profit ecommerce retailers entirely within its walled garden.”