Facebook is testing a new feature that allows merchants to more efficiently sell items on a live stream. When a seller demonstrates items on their stream, customers might see a screenshot button that lets them take photos of items they want to buy and message the merchant directly. The merchant can then send payment requests through Messenger to streamline the process.
The feature is currently being tested in Thailand, where a community of independent sellers have recently taken to Facebook Live to sell a variety of products, from cosmetics to handbags and other fashion items. Merchants would schedule regular streams to showcase new products and model them to would-be buyers, or offer special incentives for free items if users shared their live streams onto their news feeds. (I know, because I see family members in Thailand do it rather regularly.) “Thailand is one of our most active Marketplace communities” Mayank Yadav, Facebook’s product manager for Marketplace, told TechCrunch.
Currently, sellers typically use a rather manual way to record sales, such as calling out individual buyers on the stream to message them with payment information. The new feature would make it less confusing for both buyers and sellers, as a broadcast can sometimes move quickly as sellers shift from one product to the next.
For now, Facebook says it will not take a cut of the payments made through live streams. It also did not indicate whether the feature would exit Thailand, if it makes it to a full rollout.