Last week Facebook announced its new feature called Collections. This new functionality will allow brands to post product images to their Facebook page in groupings that Facebook users will be able to “Want”, “Collect”, and purchase. When people click on “Want” or “Collect” the resulting action appears in their News Feed and in the new “Products” wishlist section of their Timeline. People will be able to customize who sees these actions with standard visibility settings built into the posting functionality (like status updates). There are a number of retailers testing it now, including: Pottery Barn, Wayfair, Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Smith Optics, and Fab.com.
Not slated to roll-out till spring, Collections will offer brands a great option for fans (and friends of fans) to be exposed to new products. The ability to Want, Collect, or purchase within a few clicks, leverages the power of endorsements by people you know in a more systematic way.
At first glance the new Collections features of “Want and Collect” seem like Facebook’s take on image-based product discovery made popular by Pinterest. However, with the ability to add product pricing as a core feature, it cleanly bakes e-commerce capabilities directly into Facebook. While Pinterest allows anyone to create a Pin, it seems that only brand pages will have ability to create Collections.
I believe the most interesting aspect of Collections, will be the purchase data that our friends at Facebook will gain access to. This will take their targeting beyond Like, Comment, and Share. Two years ago, we liked people and brands, now effectively we’ll be able to “want” specific things – handbags, basketball shoes, or home decor. Collections could just make it possible to directly attribute purchase, aiding in improving Facebook ad targeting.
Collections will help Facebook understand what and how people buy products, and in turn will use these data points to target advertising more effectively. It’s no surprise that Facebook will have an easier time encouraging brands to purchase more ads when they can target them more effectively. This also offers yet another opportunity to put ad units into the News Feed, which I’m not a huge fan of typically. However, if I follow a brand and see items I actually want, then I may be more inclined to interact and even purchase.
We talk a lot about the power of a Like, but what about the power of Buy? Collections could offer more relevant product specific data, over just Liking a brand page or a status update. However, will people grow weary of being targeted to Buy Now? Or, is it just an expected outcome of a “free” service? Check out this Forbes article about Collections, and also check out what they say about Facebook Gifts. I think Gifts are another interesting way that Facebook is trying to understand how you purchase, and the depth of connection you have with people in your network.
Erin Anderson is a Senior Strategist, Social Media at Razorfish. Follow her on Twitter and get a taste of her dog, Olive, love for music, design, and delicious foods