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Facebook Could Soon Let You Shop While Livestreaming

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In Thailand, Facebook is currently testing a new feature that lets merchants demo their products, and for customers to buy them instantly. It’s not clear whether this functionality will ever go beyond the testing phase, though.  ( Thomas Ulrich | Pixabay )

Facebook is slowly turning into a singular venue where all things happen, and in some regards, it has already done that. Creating groups, selling items in the marketplace, and debuting live broadcasts are just some of the more dynamic things users can now do on the platform.

Those are the result of smart business decisions. At some point, Facebook probably knew just being a social network wouldn't be enough in the long run, and so to prevent its momentum from fading to a blip, adding these dynamic features are necessary — and another one is coming, apparently.

Facebook Live Shopping

According to TechCrunch, Facebook is currently testing a feature that would let users shop during livestreams. In this trial, the company is letting merchants demo and describe their items for viewers. Customers can then screenshot something they want to purchase and reach out to the merchant via Messenger, who can then start a payment transaction directly within the app.

The company confirms the new shopping feature is indeed currently in testing, but only in a limited set of pages in Thailand. The option was first discovered by social media manager Jeff Higgins, and now Facebook is giving more details about the trial run.

Facebook had heard from users in Thailand the Live videos helped sellers demonstrate how products could be used or worn, and provided a better understanding than merely using photos. Moreover, they also told the company that the interactivity element of Live allowed customers to instantly make queries and get answers about product specs and other pertinent information.

What Happens During A Live Shopping Test

The live shopping test allows Pages to "showcase products and connect with your customers." Merchants are able to take reservations and request payments via Messenger, as mentioned.

Facebook currently has no plans to add more partners or expand the feature. However, some sellers without access are being invited to join a waitlist to try the new schtick. It's also working closely with a number of other test partners to collect feedback on the live video shopping experience, which seems to indicate Facebook is interested in rolling this out more widely at some point in the future.

In that regard, Facebook seems eager to take on the likes of Craigslist and eBay, which are popular marketplaces that have failed to integrate latest technologies, such as video. With the power of Facebook's increasingly popular broadcasting platform plus its real-name policy and social graph, chances are it will do well in this segment. Time, however, will tell.

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