Facebook is testing its long-rumoured ‘Want’ button, a retail-friendly accompaniment to the ‘Like’ button that could help the social network boost revenue through sales commissions and ads.
Facebook is working with seven retail partners in the beta test; Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics, and Fab.com.
Facebook users in certain territories have been able to click “want” and “collect” buttons upon products from the retailers.
Items that users “want” will be saved in a collection or wish list. Also the wanted item will appear on the users’ timeline. In turn, Facebook friends will be able to look at a users’s wants/collections/wish list and treat them.
During the test phase, Facebook will not get a commission for wish list purchases by Facebook friends. However, it is likely the social network will take a cut when the feature is rolled out properly.
Although Facebook won’t get a cut of sales, Robert W. Barid analyst Colin Sebastian told Reuters that the “Want” button provides other opportunities for monetisation. “In addition to potentially collecting a transaction fee for referring users to an e-commerce site, Sebastian said that retailers might also pay Facebook to promote products featured on users’ wishlists, similar to the way the Facebook’s current ads function.”
The “Collections” wish list feature will be gradually rolled out to all US users. When the wish list feature is fully integrated into Facebook.
A statement from Facebook said: “People will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook.”
The Collections feature won’t be a social plug-in or available outside of the Facebook site for now, the company said. It will be viewable by Facebook users on their News Feeds.
At last year’s F8 developer conference, Facebook dropped some hints that its Like button would be morphing into a series of more specific descriptions of how a user interacts with content and media on the site and elsewhere, for example including an option for a user to mark down that they had listened to a song.
There was some talk at the time of the addition of a Want button for products, but more speculation centered around different variations of how a user might be able to signify that they’d consumed media.
The three buttons “like”, “want” and “collect” are being tested separately, users will see only one of these variants under a product image.