Facebook tests feature bringing shoppable content to live streams

Facebook is experimenting with a feature that will enable merchants to more efficiently sell items on live videos, with a streamlined process aimed at providing a frictionless customer path between viewing items being promoted in videos and purchasing them. The feature is currently being tested in Thailand, where independent merchants have begun using Facebook Live to advertise products like cosmetics, clothing and other fashion items.

The feature will introduce a screenshot button to the live stream that will enable viewers to capture an image of an item they want to buy and message it directly to the merchant, letting them know they are interested in making a purchase. The merchant can then use Messenger’s eCommerce tools to send payment requests and obtain shipping details.

Merchants in Thailand have already embraced Facebook Live as a potent channel for promoting their items, scheduling regular streams to showcase new products and model them for interested consumers. Viewers are often offered discounts or free items for sharing the live stream into their news feeds, helping the videos reach a wide audience. “Thailand is one of our most active Marketplace communities,” said Mayank Yadav, Facebook product manager for Marketplace, in a statement to TechCrunch.

The new feature was first spotted by social media and reputation manager Jeff Higgins, and has been confirmed by Facebook, who are gathering feedback from the test before they decide whether or not to roll it out to additional markets. Facebook has also said its working closely with test partners to iterate and improve the process, suggesting it is interested in opening up the feature to a wider audience if it continues to perform well.