Facebook just announced a number of coming updates to the social network, several of interest to ecommerce marketers:
Facebook Messenger Business
Facebook wants you to bake its messenger service into your checkout process to address questions during the flow through to post-sale service messages and push notifications. Pilot merchants Everlane and Zulily are already using it. Facebook's currently partnered with live chat vendor Zendesk, but will likely expand partnerships with more vendors.
Messenger Business' application is not limited to checkout. Get creative.
You can sign up for Messenger Business here.
Messenger can also be integrated with your mobile apps, creating opportunity for 1-to-1 social sharing of images, video or audio through messenger. Retailers can really get creative with calls to action to share this content (your mileage may vary). Brands and merchants that already enjoy peer-to-peer content sharing will have the most success. For example, a bridal shop app with a "style my wedding" feature that shares a user-generated "look" with a group of bridesmaids through messenger makes sense.
Get up and running with Messenger Platform here.
An alternative to Youtube, websites will be able to use Facebook-hosted video on product pages, blogs, or anywhere else in the shopping experience.
Why choose Facebook embedding over Youtube? Making social sharing of videos more seamless is one benefit, sharing Youtube videos to Facebook may not have as much "relevance" in the Newsfeed algorithm (Facebook preferring to promote native content), and may be seen by less friends-of-friends. However, a brand or retailer wishing to optimize views and ranking in Youtube (a search engine in its own right), using Youtube's hosting may be a better investment.
Virtual reality in Newsfeed
Newsfeed will now support "spherical videos" - 360-degree clips shot with 24 high-resolution cameras. This opens the possibility that brands and retailers could share virtual-reality product, store tours or other experiences with Facebook fans, compatible with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear.
It's possible that these videos may be given a bump in Newsfeed visibility due to Facebook's acquisition and interest in virtual reality technology (its acquisition of Oculus Rift), and for brands with the budget, may be a worthwhile merchandising tactic (especially if they become integrated with Facebook's Dynamic Product Ads.