Are We Ready For Social Media “Buy” Buttons?



Social media sites have made no secret of their desire to convince people to purchase things discovered in ads, photos, and other content shared to their services. However, the big names are finding that more difficult than expected, even with the added sales activity from the holiday shopping season.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have spent much time developing ways to make shopping easier by eliminating the need to navigate outside the social network with various “buy” buttons over the last year. The idea is that if you build purchasing features directly into the social service, people will be more likely to make a transaction than if they were redirected to an online retail site or brand’s website. The problem is that consumers aren’t changing their shopping habits as much as hoped.

Various “buy” buttons that have appeared on the social networks in the last year are not so good in term of performance. Facebook’s button is still seen as a test, Twitter’s isn’t encountered very often even by its most fanatical users and Pinterest’s have led to fewer than ten purchases a day from a retail partner.

Facebook stated that it’s still testing its commerce tools, and that it’s focused on discovering new products as well as allowing people to purchase them with a “buy” button — in an interview. Twitter didn’t respond, while Pinterest posted a prepared response:

“Since launching Buyable Pins 6 months ago we are encouraged by the early results for merchants. Although it’s still early days with the program we are hearing from merchants that many of their customers coming through Buyable Pins are new and we are driving higher mobile conversions. We look forward to continuing to deliver value to our partners through the holiday season and a fun, easy shopping experience for our Pinners.”

It’s worth noting that criticism of these “buy” buttons doesn’t come amid a holiday shopping slump. Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping habits were “perfectly average,” and that an estimated 34 percent of purchases from the last week were made by shoppers on their smartphones.