Does the new “want” button offer a viable way for Facebook to make more money?

Richard Britton

Facebook’s “want” button will be well received by consumers for a number of reasons. It’s a clever idea because Facebook users enjoy looking at and knowing what their friends are interested in buying. At the same time, this data is hugely valuable to consueer brands. The “want” button is a significant step towards evolving Facebook into a force in online commerce. Facebook is expected to take a cut of all sales generated through the site, which could be a huge new revenue stream if brands can make the buying process seamless. This means that brands will most likely have to review their order management systems to keep pace. The new button won’t deter people from using Facebook. If you look at the way people use Facebook now, they are already very willing to “like” brands or products and essentially the “want” button is just an extension of that.

Richard Britton is managing director of CloudSense.

Carl Waldekranz

The Facebook “want” button will be interesting to follow if it delivers on a bigger purpose, like creating a “wish-list” or collection (as it seems to have been named) that has a stronger call to action than the “like” button. If Facebook can tie ecommerce closer into the network, this could have a massive effect on online shoppers’ behaviour, forcing retailers to relate to Facebook in a completely different way. However, it remains to be seen whether Facebook can catch up with Pinterest, which has a considerable lead in this space. It also remains to be seen whether such a blatantly commercial button on Facebook will appeal to users, and whether this will be the solution to Facebook’s current challenge of finding a feasible monetisation solution to its recent problems.

Carl Waldekranz is co-founder and chief executive of the ecommerce start-up Tictail.