Facebook testing direct shopping

In an effort to move further into e-commerce and compete with Amazon.com’s retail offerings, Facebook announced Monday it is testing several ad features that will allow users to shop directly through its app.

Few users make purchases on mobile phones, because it is cumbersome, but Facebook hopes to win more ad dollars by smoothing the process. Mobile purchases make up less than 2 percent of all retail sales, according to research firm eMark­eter.

“We’re looking to give people an easier way to find products that will be interesting to them on mobile, make shopping easier and help businesses drive sales,” said Emma Rodgers, Facebook’s head of product marketing for commerce.

Among the new features are ads that take a user through a specific brand’s products without redirecting them to another site. For example, a user who clicks on an ad from a boutique could see an expanded page that displays numerous clothing items.

Businesses on Facebook will also be able to display products for purchase directly on their pages. And users will be able to purchase products directly on Facebook through a “buy now” button that will be more widely available.

The 1.5 billion-member social network has also added a section on its app that takes users directly to a shopping page, where they can browse among numerous brands from a select group of small businesses that will gradually expand.

“From Facebook’s perspective, they’re addressing a pain point for retailers,” said Catherine Boyle, an analyst at eMarketer. “They will attract serious ad dollars with this offering.”

— Reuters

VW recalls diesel vehicles in China

Volkswagen said Monday that it is recalling 1,950 diesel vehicles in China to change engine software that the automaker has admitted cheats on emissions tests, and Singapore suspended sales of the company’s diesel cars.

The German automaker admitted last month that 11 million of its vehicles worldwide were fitted with cheating software to beat emissions tests.

The recall in China applies to 1,946 Tiguan SUVs and four Passat B6 sedans, all of them imported, the firm said. It said it was developing technical solutions and had yet to submit them to Chinese authorities for approval.

Volkswagen’s business in China, the largest auto market by vehicles sold, has suffered little from the emissions scandal because of the lack of popularity of diesel cars among Chinese drivers. But foreign companies are closely watched by Chinese authorities, and state media publicize suggestions of misconduct.

In Singapore, the National Environment Agency said in a statement that sales of the company’s diesel cars would be suspended until models were rectified to meet official emissions guidelines, adding that it “takes a serious view of any misrepresentation by Volkswagen Group.”

Cheating software was found in about 650 Singapore-
registered cars, according to data from VW’s Singapore office.

— Associated Press

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