Facebook is testing a new "Buy with Friends" feature, which will initially let users share deals on virtual goods. And, while
virtual commerce is itself big business, some are suggesting that the feature has even larger implications for the Groupon-led social commerce space.
"I'm starting to wonder whether Facebook could bring something similar to non-virtual deals," writes VentureBeat's Anthony Ha.
Discussing the feature at a conference on Tuesday, Facebook's commerce product marketing manager Deb Liu said more than 50% of users in a test program elected to share their purchases.
As Forbes notes, "The feature will also let one user 'unlock' a deal and then share that same deal or discount with friends who can take advantage of the fact that it's already been unlocked."
"I've argued in the past that much of what we call 'social commerce' isn't very social yet,
but this seems like an example of a product that actually deserves that label," writes AllThingsD's Liz Gannes.
"It's not hard to imagine that kind of social buying dynamic to expand to other areas like social commerce and group buying a la Groupon," Business Insider agrees.
Facebook debuted its Deals product late last year so that businesses can offer various deals as a reward for check-ins on Facebook Places. But, "What if you could then share those deals with your friends?" asks VentureBeat's Ha.
Adds Forbes: "It will be interested to see if this could be Facebook's answer to turning group-buying, popularized by Groupon, into a social experience ... especially if Facebook expands Credits in the future to allow users to buy physical items or real-life services."