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Facebook experiments with ‘buy button’ for Shopify merchants

Facebook has experimented with different online commerce approaches in the past. Now, it’s settling on a deal with Shopify for its latest experiment. Recently, according to TechCrunch, the social network has unveiled a “buy button” on both page posts and promoted-post ads for Shopify merchants. The implications of this could be potentially huge: If this Shopify experiment proves successful, Facebook could expand this model to almost everyone.

Shoppers who are browsing Facebook news-feed pages and see Shopify page posts or promoted-post ads, and like what they see, could purchase from the retailer directly through Facebook, according to a Shopify blog announcement. This eliminates the usual step of having to leave the social media site, go to the retailer’s site, and complete the purchase there.

Facebook users can efficiently go through a checkout process directly in Facebook when they click the new buy button. They can buy immediately if their payment info is already on Facebook, or they can input it to finish the purchase and then go back to using Facebook.

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Not only would this be more convenient for Facebook users who want to stay on the social media site, but it also takes away a headache for Facebook, which wants to keep as many people from leaving its site for even routine actions like buying something.

Up until now, Facebook had only experimented with its buy buttons with selected merchants. This Shopify rollout represents its biggest buy-button test yet.

It’s clear to see what Facebook’s tactic involving ecommerce is all about. It’s part of a larger strategy to eventually take in the entire Internet. When you look at other Facebook tools like its in-line video player, Messenger games and apps, and Instant Articles, you see that Facebook doesn’t want you to leave the site. Thanks to its Shopify deal, the company’s expanding this strategy to even shopping.

In the past, the company’s experiments with ecommerce didn’t fare so well. Its Gifts Store test shut down last year, after lasting just two, short years. After that, it attempted to auto-fill your payment details as you checked out using third-party mobile apps.

With Shopify, its third strategy is revealed: Getting outside retailers to sell right on Facebook. We’ll see if this experiment turns out better.