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Storefronts - Welcome to the Facebook High Street

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The ongoing developmental race to better implement shopping into social media continues to gather momentum. For most of us, it doesn't really mean much yet, the face of online shopping hasn't been morphed too drastically by this revolution, but rest assured, it will be. Google, Pinterest and Twitter have their own machinations, but predictably, Facebook have been the most dedicated to this cause.

Now they've taken a big step by turning various business pages into 'storefronts', so to speak. It's still in the embryonic phase, but what it essentially allows businesses to do is set up a secondary online store which is all run within Facebook. This is the first big step towards turning e-commerce into social commerce. It's a largely unproven theory, but so much product promotion is already done though Facebook that adding the ability to actually shop around and buy products is a no-brainer.

Facebook rely heavily on digital advertising revenue now, as well as just general traffic figures (one kind of begets the other) so creating a compartmentalised zone where traders can trade and buyers can be is universally beneficial. They've also recently updated their ad buying options, just to make the deal even sweeter. Advertisers can now choose only to pay for promos which feature the 'shop now' button, site visits, mobile app installations and video views. Anything that just carries the standard like/share option won't cost.

As well as being attractive to advertisers with less money to play around with, it will further still encourage all brands to keep their content within Facebook, since they'll have to pay more if they want people to navigate away. That might not be an enticing option to those who rely on web traffic for revenue, but for the ones selling actual goods, Facebook just got a lot prettier. Like 5 tequila slammers prettier.

The divide falls between businesses adapting to social media and social media adapting to businesses. The former used to be the rule but it's fast becoming the exception. Supposedly, when the site was brand new, Mark Zuckerberg had virtually no interest in monetising Facebook. Funny, that. The danger is that all this development will just move in wider circles. Facebook innovate to accommodate businesses, businesses use Facebook more, Facebook innovate further, Callum goes into a boredom-coma.

The thing that will break the cycle is the trajectory of the money Facebook pull in from all this e-commerce. Hopefully a lot more of it will start to move towards technological research and development into things like AI and VR. Y'know, things that are actually interesting.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Storefronts - Welcome to the Facebook High Street Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, July 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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