If Facebook Has Its Way with Commerce

Facebook announced that it is piloting two new features: Shopping Feed and Canvas.
The Shopping Feed, as you might guess, is a shopping section on the website that will act, in Facebook’s words, as a “single place for people to more easily discover, share, and purchase products.”
Canvas will act as the social network’s enhanced immersive advertising experience, a full screen experience with quick load-time.
These new features, along with the “buy” button and “shop” sections of small business pages that Facebook has piloted, are a clear indication that the tech conglomerate is vying to become an all-in-one digital experience for users. According to TechCrunch, 84% of the time consumers spend with their phones is dedicated to only five non-native apps. Facebook knows that the more time users spend in its app (e.g. the more comprehensive their experience), the more leverage the company will have over retailers.
Many retailers are just beginning to accept mobile as a channel of commerce. If Facebook has its way, retailers will have to go through Facebook to reach their consumers— in effect, Facebook would become its own channel.
What would this mean for consumers? The experience for Facebook’s billion-plus users will broaden in scope. More than a platform for engaging and sharing with people and businesses, Facebook will become a place of business. The question remains as to whether the public will adapt to this change in accordance with Facebook’s forecast.
Personally, I’d like to know more. While the Shop feature seems a predictable next step to the Buy button (Facebook claims that over 50% of consumers come to their site looking for products), I’m not sold on Canvas quite yet. Facebook is relying on their assertion that consumers will pay attention to advertisements longer if they load quicker.
Speaking as a Facebook user, one of the features that appeals to me most is that I can navigate the site without feeling bombarded by ads. Sure, there are plenty of ads on the screen, but they seem strategically placed in a way that doesn’t require me to focus on them. I imagine that a full-screen ad, no matter how quick it loads, will hinder my Facebook experience.
Since Facebook has released very little beyond a statement and several screenshots (see below), it remains to be seen how the user will engage with this new functionality.
What are your thoughts? Will Facebook have its way with commerce? As a consumer, do you want them to?
Facebook Shopping feed:
Facebook Feed
Facebook Canvas:
Facebook Canvas

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