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Technology Trends: Shopping on Facebook & Instagram - Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: Shopping on Facebook & Instagram

Executive Leadership Articles

Technology Trends: Shopping on Facebook & Instagram

Food delivery via mobile app has taken off in the past couple of years, where services receive users’ orders for a variety of non-delivering restaurants, then pick up and deliver the meals. Mostly limited to big cities, the apps have proven popular with professionals working late, young adults living alone, and Millennials of all stripes. Now hungry smartphone users won’t even have to exit the apps they’re already immersed in, as more social media apps make it easy for retailers to connect with customers through sponsored content and other recently introduced features.

For some time, national pizza chains like Papa Johns have had chat bots--program that chat with Facebook users in its messaging app--that question users about what they want and then finalize the deal for delivery. Now Facebook is allowing retailers into its semi-new marketplace section, opening up more possibilities for goods and services to find their buyers.

The marketplace section until now has operated like Craigslist, providing users with searchable goods sold by other Facebook users in the same geographic area. A kind of online garage sale, it has been a source not only of used cars and electronic gear, but cottage-industry entrepreneurs willing to (for example) bake some cookies or prepare a meal for pickup later in the day. Yes, the marketplace has turned into more than an online flea market; it’s also an online lemonade stand and bake sale.

According to an article in Recode last week, the marketplace has been open only to individual user pages, and not available to business pages, but that’s slowly changing as Facebook figures out what people want to buy.

Instagram has also gone through a little bit of a change. Where sponsored content used to be limited to visual ads, those ads now provide clickable links. An Instagram photo by a new restaurant in your area has a “get directions” link that opens up the mobile device’s resident maps app, with the location already tagged. A photo from a band you admire has a “listen now” link that takes you to an external webpage, opened in Instagram, showing all your one-click purchase options based on your music streaming (and shopping) preferences. A retailer’s photo of some good-looking jeans has a “buy now” link that takes you right to the website for all your choices.

It works better in some instances than others. Some websites are optimized already for the smartphone user, but some are still just shrunken-down interfaces with their regular website, which can take a seeming eternity to open up and navigate through. Still, buying on Instagram is catching on, and you hear references to it in conversation with the under-30 crowd every day. Once an impossibly difficult platform for sharing links (hence the crazy “link in bio” captions on so many photos), Instagram is making it easier for consumers to connect with the products they want, as long as those products are paying for the sponsored content.

Facebook, meanwhile, doesn’t make any money on transactions in its marketplace (outside the way Facebook always makes money, with data collection and targeted ads), as it’s not involved at all in the payment processing. It connects buyers with sellers and lets them exchange money in their preferred way. A free platform for buyers and sellers with a userbase as enormous as Facebook’s could be impossible for either to stay away from.

Reference link:
Recode: https://www.recode.net/2017/8/18/16166012/facebook-marketplace-craigslist-ticket-sales-auto-shopping

 

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