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Will consumers adopt Facebook’s ‘Buy’ button?

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July 24, 2015 | by Judy Mottl

The news of Facebook adding a “buy” button so its zillions of users can shop as they share recipes, photos of their latest vacation or gossip about the high school reunion last weekend has industry watchers lining up on one of two teams: Those who believe the leading social network has potential to become a leading retailing presence and those who say it won’t happen and the crash and burn will be fast.

Over at Forbes, which reports on an online debate at RetailWire, the opinion battle has already begun with David Biernbaum, senior marketing and business development consultant at David Biernbaum Associates, claiming Facebook users will “shop til they drop.” But SAP’s Global VP of Strategic Communications Tom Redd says “No — simply no.” Redd believes the shopping feature will crash and burn quick as users realize it’s just another way for Facebook to scrape data on users and offer a very insecure option to shopping online.

Facebook announced its pilot/test buy button feature last Friday, claiming it’s a way to help businesses drive sales. The button, available on the desktop or mobile Facebook app, will let users buy a product right off the social network site.

“We’ve built this feature with privacy in mind, and have taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases,” according to a Facebook announcement, which notes the test is currently only available to a few small and medium sized U.S.-based businesses.

“We’ll share more information as we gather feedback,” stated the post.

Facebook’s retail play comes months after Twitter implemented a similar buy button on its microblogging site, with Amazon one of the retailers taking big advantage of the opportunity.

Industry watchers seem to be split on whether mobile and online consumers are already set in their ways regarding what sites are used for what and where they like to shop versus where they like to socialize. The melding of the two, say some, is only a win-win for retailers as it just presents another sales channel. The only one who may be hurt if the test goes negative is Facebook, said others.

On the Facebook announcement page the initial comment and feedback is mostly semi-positive. One fan writes “It’s great to see Facebook entering the marketplace space.” Another, however, doesn’t view it as anything more than Facebook trying to find a viable revenue stream.

“Work on a method to suck less money from users, and bring back the good old times when Facebook was our #1 social media website,” wrote Mahmoud Ghazayel, a journalist at 24Media.

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