Facebook today announced it is testing a new feature with ‘a few’ small and medium-sized businesses in the US: a Buy button. The goal is to help businesses drive sales directly through Facebook via News Feed ads and Page posts.

The button is available to users on the desktop site as well as on mobile. In short, it allows them to purchase a product or service from a business, without ever having to leave Facebook.

Here’s how it looks:

10173491 295448507303390 1386082327 n Facebook starts testing Buy button on News Feed ads and Page posts, currently limited to select US businesses

Facebook says the feature is built “with privacy in mind” and that the payment experience is “safe and secure.” The company promises the credit card or debit card information you share with it when completing a transaction will not be shared with other advertisers. Saving payment information for future purchases is available, but is completely optional.

This is a big deal for Facebook: the company could not only open up the gateway for amassing user payment information, but it could expand its role as a marketing platform. Currently, all the ads served on Facebook are aimed at building a following, driving traffic, or getting customers to a physical location:

  • Clicks to Website
  • Website Conversions
  • Page Post Engagement
  • Page Likes
  • App Installs
  • App Engagement
  • In-store Offer claims
  • Event Responses

If Facebook can get ads to convert into sales directly on its site (and that’s a big if; there’s no indication users will be necessarily interested), it will be a huge boon to its bottom line. The reason the company is starting out small (only select businesses in the US) makes sense: this is a very important trial, and one that will likely go through several iterations to verify its overall potential.

See alsoFacebook is testing ‘Buy Tickets’ links for events, but will it get into the ticketing business? and Google partners with Facebook to help its clients buy retargeted ads via the social network’s FBX platform

Top Image Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images