Facebook to Make its First M-Commerce Move (Aug. 15, 2013)
Aug. 15, 2013
Is Facebook ready to take another stab at payments—this time using mobile apps? The social media giant reportedly is about to test a new mobile payments feature that would enable users who have stored credit card information with Facebook to make purchases directly from e-commerce mobile apps using only Facebook login credentials. The service, set to launch in about a month, would be limited to purchases within mobile apps. Jack Threads, a Columbus, Ohio-based online discount menswear shop launched in 2008, is an initial test partner, according to a report in All Things Digital.
Payments industry observers have been watching Facebook’s efforts to move into commerce closely. A successful play leveraging its vast consumer reach—1.15 billion active users—would have far-reaching effects. So far Facebook has not hit a home run. Facebook Credits, a virtual currency launched in 2010, fizzled out last year. Facebook’s most recent experiment in converting social media activity to sales is the Facebook Card, a gift card launched early this year that users can purchase on Facebook and send to other users, who receive a physical card in the mail preloaded with funds. The card, which runs on the Discover Network, can be used at a network of merchant partners, including Olive Garden, Jamba Juice, Sephora and Target.
It comes as no surprise now that Facebook is looking at other tools to enable mobile commerce, John Grund, a partner with First Annapolis Consulting, tells Paybefore. Facebook’s latest test appears to be “a small pilot” and part of ongoing efforts to test and experiment with what catches on with consumers, he believes. “Facebook is investing in mobile and the Holy Grail is whether members will engage in commerce—making it easy to do so is critical,” says Grund. Security and privacy remain huge hurdles, he adds. “The leap from posting messages to posting payments is a big one.”