Facebook tests ‘Want,’ ‘Collect’ buttons and muscles in on Pinterest’s turf

Facebook has introduced a new retail feature — “Want” and “Collect” buttons.

The buttons are part of a new Facebook tool for businesses that want to showcase and sell their products on their social network pages.

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According to a report from TechCrunch, Facebook is testing different features of the tool, known as Collections, with separate segments of its 1 billion users.

Facebook users will be able to elect the “Want” button and send selected products to their “Wishlist,” which is visible to users’ extended networks — friends of friends. They can also “Collect” products, creating a collection gallery that would be visible only to their friends. Finally, Facebook is introducing a special version of its famous “Like” button that would also add items to the collections gallery and would be visible to the user’s extended network.

In a statement to The Washington Post, a Facebook spokesman said: “Today, we are beginning a small test in which a few select businesses will be able to share information about their products through a feature called Collections. Collections can be discovered in News Feed, and people will be able to engage with these collections and share things they are interested in with their friends. People can click through and buy these items off of Facebook.”

Pottery Barn was one of the first companies to post a collection — which looks very similar to a photo album — on its business page.

The buttons being tested will appear in the upper left-hand corner of each photo. Once users hit the button, they are given the option to tell their friends why they want the product through their timeline.

Facebook users can also buy items through the collection. Unlike the Gifts feature Facebook recently rolled out, however, the social network is not the point of sale. Instead, Collections directs users back to the retailer’s Web site.

Seven companies, including Victoria’s Secret, Neiman Marcus and the online retailer Fab.com, are part of the first group testing the feature, TechCrunch reported.

The report said that Facebook doesn’t charge retailers to use the tool and doesn’t take a share of the money made through the feature.

The feature does, however, benefit Facebook by encouraging its users to like individual business pages in order to see the latest from a particular store.

This is part of a larger effort by Facebook to make its site more attractive to business that could advertise on the social network.

The new features have similarities to the collage-like presentation on Pinterest, and could draw potential users from the smaller social network. Although Facebook limits users to photos of products selected by retailers, it still hits at Pinterest’s main appeal — letting users show off aspects of their style to the world.

(Washington Post Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Don Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

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