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The Drum

Facebook ups charm offensive to woo retailers with raft of new shopping features

Facebook is looking to cement itself as a credible e-commerce platform among retailers with the launch of new features, including faster landing pages and a shoppable section that curates products.

First up, Canvas which has been positioned as an antidote to issues that currently prevent consumers making final purchases via mobile, namely slow load times on sites that aren’t optimised for the mobile web (which, in other words, require too many clicks).

Now, clicking on an ad in Facebook’s News Feed results in a fast-loading, full-screen page with more information on a product and the option to browse other products. From there, a second click directs users to the retailer's site. They can also click the ‘Buy’ button in the News Feed ads to purchase a product directly, without leaving Facebook.

Secondly, a new shopping section has been created to allow retailers to pull together different products under one tab within the recently launched ‘Shop’ feature on Pages.

In the coming weeks it will also begin testing a single place for people to "discover, share and purchase products."

“We’re testing with a limited set of small businesses in the US who are also testing the Shop section on Pages. Their products will be eligible to appear there. Over time we’ll explore incorporating additional content into this experience, such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups,” it said in a blog post.

In a bid to prove that its e-commerce efforts to date have been fruitful, Facebook lauded the success of its Carousel formats which let advertisers showcase multiple product images and links in one ad.

Facebook claims these drive an average 30-50 per cent lower cost-per-conversion and cited US retailer Neiman Marcus as an example. It used the Carousel format to drive three times more conversions and 85 per cent better click-through rates compared to other advertising efforts, according to Facebook.

Meanwhile, at Advertising Week New York, Mondelez International predicted that the social network will become its biggest digital sales channel after the Oreo-maker let customers buy Philadelphia products direct from videos earlier this year resulting in a five per cent boost to sales.

However, this will mark the first Christmas that retailers have had a suite of commerce options to play with from all the major social networks. Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube have all rolled out ‘buy buttons’ and similar features in a bid to woo brands, with the likes of Land Rover, Pernod Ricard, Best Buy and Adidas all taking a bite.