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Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Facebook Canvas
Image source: Facebook Canvas

Continuing its push to bring retail closer into its ranks, Facebook is testing Canvas and Shop – two new mobile-oriented tools designed to make it easier for the social networking site’s 1.44bn global users to discover products in-app.

The main aim of Canvas is to help streamline the mobile shopping experience, which is too often hampered by slow load times and too many steps to checkout. According to Facebook, 60% of all retailers’ overall online traffic now comes from mobile, but just 12% of checkouts are completed on the devices. Using Canvas, after clicking on an advert in a news feed, users will see a full-screen experience where they can browse in-app, quick-loading multiple products from the same retailer before being redirected to that retailer’s own e-commerce site to make a purchase.

Notably, the focus of Canvas is on product discovery rather than purchase. Hence why it doesn’t currently link to the platform’s Buy Button – a tool that lets users buy single products directly from ads without leaving Facebook. It also avoids conflict with another new tool called Shop.

Shop sits on Facebook’s Pages – a section where Facebook users ‘like’ to follow businesses or figureheads in order to receive company updates. The concept allows brands either to add a link to their own retail websites, or allow users to buy directly from their Pages. For brands participating in the trial, Facebook is also testing a new shopping product aggregation feature in its Favourites section: a single place for users to view all their shopping-related content from Newsfeeds or followed pages. Eventually, according to Facebook, it will explore incorporating additional content such as items listed for sale in Facebook Groups.

Guest post Stylus.com by Alison Gough & Katie Baron

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“Facebook is making it easier for you to shop directly in Facebook. That way, you have one less reason to leave Facebook.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook x Shopify
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“Evangelists have long touted the potential of bringing social media and commerce together, particularly when it comes to Facebook and its nearly one-and-a-half billion active monthly users. Now, according to reports, Facebook members will be able to make purchases through e-commerce shops within its pages without having to leave the site.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook x Ecommerce
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“You add people on Facebook for a lot of reasons, though it’s not always because you want to see their posts and pictures all the time (sorry, Aunt Miriam). But that doesn’t mean you want to go so far as to unfriend them. Facebook’s aware of this dilemma, and starting today, it’s giving you new, more easily accessible tools to control what’s in your feed — without unfollowing people.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook
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“Facebook Bluetooth beacons will push offers and updating events to customers’ smartphones as soon as consumers enter a business’s door. Through a Bluetooth connection upon entering a business, participants will be welcomed by a series of updates and local events happening through Facebook at the top of their feed. Facebook has dubbed this program is known “Place Tips.””

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Facebook x Beacon technology

NIKE ID

US sports giant Nike has been awarded a patent on a design system potentially involving augmented reality – technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world. The system would immerse users in computer-simulated environments, allowing them to customise trainers.

Nike has been empowering shoppers to customise purchases with its in-store/online initiative NikeID since 2005, giving them the ability to pick from a selection of models, fabric colours and personalised monogramming – but the experience so far has been confined to flat representations on-screen. This patent could see users customising products in-store as if in 3D, using head-mounted devices such as the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift – a wearable virtual reality (VR) helmet that transports users to other, virtual environments.

As VR, holographic and projection-mapping technologies become increasingly refined, the concept of adding malleable digital overlays onto physical objects may prove a powerful way to engage those who want the thrill of customisation, with the extra reassurance of seeing a virtual approximation pre-purchase.

Other brands already indulging in VR technology include UK department store John Lewis, which has been trialling a virtual sofa simulator that displays a customer’s choice of colour, shape and fabric in 3D in-store. Read more in John Lewis: Virtual Sofa Simulator. Meanwhile, German automaker Audi is launching a new VR experience in selected dealerships that will allow consumers to browse and customise details while experiencing the sensation of sitting inside one of the vehicles. See our full blog post for further information.

Guest post Stylus.com by Saeed Al-Rubeyi, EditorKatie Baron, Head of Retail

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“Not content to manage the news updates and friend connections of its over one billion users, the long arm of Facebook is now reportedly preparing to enter the world of mobile payments.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook Mobile Payments
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“Topshop has thrown open the doors to their s/s15 catwalk show via social media, allowing anyone, yes that’s you, to be a part of the experience.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Topshop
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“Facebook Inc is ending a service that lets friends send digital gift cards to each other, as the social-networking service revamps how users can buy goods and services.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Facebook

Considering how much time we all spend on social media, it’s quite surprising that it’s our least favourite online channel to shop on. This might be to do with the fact that these channels are not fully optimised for in-site shopping -at least not yet. However, recently there’s been a flurry of news stories cropping up about imminent monetisation efforts of large social media channels – could this be the beginning of a social shopping era?

Google Plus found a remedy to this issue by offering shoppable Google Hangouts. This allowed Topman to make their January AW14 catwalk show shoppable (263 people watched), and ASOS to host a shoppable Nike Airmax hangout back in March (376 people watched). Yet the participation numbers are still relatively low, especially considering how large the customer base is for both Topman and ASOS.

Unlike Google Plus, Facebook do not offer a way of directly selling items via their platform – but we can expect this to change soon. Last week they announced that they will start offering merchants the option of adding a ‘buy’ button to their promotional newsfeed and page posts, meaning users can stay on the platform to make their purchases. Though the social media giant is currently not taking commissions on this, it could be expected that they may, particularly if the button becomes available for non-promotional posting.

Twitter seems to have gone to the greatest lengths in this space. They tested out ‘buy now’ buttons with the retailer Fancy (info about this here), and they launched an analytics services to help brands and retailers track the success of their promotional campaigns. Beyond this, they acquired the tablet and mobile retargeting startup TapCommerce, and are also to acquire the online payments startup CardSpring. Looks like they mean business!

Pinterest is still lagging somewhat, with their first step into shoppable social coming in the guise of a partnership with Shopify. All Shopify merchants can now pin ‘Rich Pins’ on to Pinterest, which syncs images and info on items to availability in the vendors’ store. It consequently makes shopping via Pinterest easier, and does other nifty things such as emails the person who ‘pinned’ a Rich Pin, if that item has been reduced in price.

Are social media channels finally cooking up a viable remedy to their monetisation issues, or are these acquisitions and partnerships merely a recipe for disaster? Only time will tell, once these technologies have been fully onboarded – but it sure looks like the process is on its way to being streamlined.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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