| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Oct 8 Facebook Inc is
testing a feature that lets users of the social network create
"wishlists" of home furnishings, clothing and other retail
products, laying the groundwork for what some believe could be
an eventual push into e-commerce.
Facebook said it is working with seven retailers, including
Pottery Barn and Victoria's Secret, to test the new feature that
will allow certain users to flag images of desired products by
clicking a special "want" button.
"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," Facebook
said in a statement.
The feature, which Facebook has dubbed Collections, could
help Facebook play a bigger role in the online commerce market
by encouraging its 1 billion users to buy products for their
friends and by sending shoppers directly to online stores.
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not receive a
fee when someone purchases a wishlist item on Facebook from a
But Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said the new
Collections feature could open up new sources of revenue for
Facebook, whose stock has taken a drubbing as concerns about its
long-term money-making prospects have mounted.
"E-commerce is one of the best ways to monetize the
Internet," said Sebastian.
"Thinking about how large they are as a platform and how
engaged people are, there are lots of levers they haven't pulled
yet in terms of monetization," he said. 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.
Shares of Facebook, finished Monday's regular session down
2.4 percent at $20.40. Earlier on Monday, BTIG analyst Richard
Greenfield downgraded Facebook to a "Sell" rating.
In a note to investors, Greenfield cited concerns about the
company's advertising business, particularly Facebook's nascent
efforts to expand the business onto the mobile devices that its
users increasingly access the service from.
Facebook's new Collections feature will gradually be offered
to 100 percent of its U.S. users, Facebook said.
Some users will see the "want" button as part of the test,
while others will see a button inviting them to "collect" an
item or to "like" an item.
Unlike Facebook's existing "like" button, the feature that
Facebook is testing will showcase the "liked" item within a
user's Timeline profile page.
Facebook is also testing the Collections feature with Neiman
Marcus, Michael Kors, Smith Optics, Wayfair and Fab.com.