Facebook is looking for more ways to monetise its platform with a new feature that allows merchants to sell items directly from live streams. This likely ties in with the company's increased push on video, with the arrival of Facebook Watch - a way to to share videos and to encourage people to watch each other's favourite videos as well as new clips. Now, the pieces are coming together as Facebook Watch is set to be infiltrated by infomercials.
A number of independent sellers in Thailand are testing the feature where products are demonstrated and potential buyers can make a purchase directly. Until now, the seller needed to direct customers to another link or some other mechanism to convert the potential buyer's interest into a sale.
The live shopping test allows the operator of a Facebook Page to tell followers that a broadcast is coming with reservations and request payments handled through Messenger. Facebook doesn’t currently intend to expand the feature beyond Thailand but more invitations to participate in the program are being issued and there is a waiting list.
At this time, Facebook isn't taking a cut of the revenues generated through Messenger transactions. However, this could bolster ad sales as sellers seek to promote their own infomercial channels though Facebook.
Facebook's focus on Marketplace, which is a free buy/swap/sell service, is a threat to the likes of Ebay and Gumtree. By adding the ability to sell within video, it seems the Home Shopping Network is now in its sights as well.
And it also creates a rich, new vein of data as Facebook can move beyond seeing what ads you click on and understand what you're actually buying.