Facebook’s Buy button and the future of global commerce


While Facebook’s Buy button might be “The Next Big Thing,” it doesn’t necessarily cater to the company’s global user base. At least not right now.

While the Buy button is still in testing by a small number of companies, it’s current format doesn’t sit well with the global community. One company says this is because the Buy button is very American. What does that mean?

Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO of BlueSnap, explained to Inside Facebook that payment systems vary greatly by country. Options like Paypal, Visa, and American Express aren’t payment options the world over, so having a Buy button that requires a credit card at checkout is a major turnoff for someone, say, in Germany.

He continued:

The Buy button will appeal to a certain group of people. It’s going to have a double-edged sword. It will work well for Americans, but if you’re in Chile or South Africa or China, it’s probably going to be a turnoff. That’s just part of an American company not understanding the differences.

What localizing means: If an American company is selling something in Germany, when the shopper goes to buy, the checkout page would show up written in German not English, with the payment listed in Euros instead of USD, and would automatically bring up the most prevalent ways people would pay in that particular country. Visa and Mastercard would always be an option, but not the first option like they are in America.

And most companies don’t understand the differences. In Latin America, for example, Dangelmaier said less than 15 percent of people have credit cards. This means 85 percent of those potential buyers can’t use the Buy button, Dangelmaier said:

I’m not sure that’s the intent of Facebook, but I don’t know how well it was thought through. In all fairness to them, they did what many other American companies do.

What does the Buy button mean to the future of e-commerce? More people will become comfortable buying from their phones and making in-app purchases. And, Dangelmaier said, plastic credit cards could become a thing of the past as the card issuing side catches up with the buying side.

If you think about, you get a credit card, they send it to you in five days and then you enter into your phone. It seems silly. It makes more sense to have your card issued on your phone and then push it to the apps that you want. The issuing side will catch up by issuing virtual credit cards. That’s what’s coming over the next five years.

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