Facebook wants to make it easier for brands to reach out to customers and drive sales on mobile devices. After testing a ‘buy now’ button in articles in the news feed, the company is now testing a ‘shop’ section. This means that soon there will be an additional ‘shop’ tab along with the news feed, pages and groups.

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Facebook going deeper into e-commerce

The ‘shop’ tab will collect the products listed on the Facebook pages from various brands in one section. In a blog on Monday, the social networker said the tab is designed to be a single place for people to easily discover, share and purchase products. It is quite unlikely that the ‘shop’ section will launch before the New Year, but such a major effort reflects a big push by the social networking giant to lure ad dollars from retailers.

Citing a survey, the firm noted that almost 50% of users come to Facebook to look for products. Users will be able to buy products directly from the pages without the need to go to the website of the brands. The social-networking giant also plans to add products that users wish to sell to each other just like eBay. The idea is in response to the growing popularity of the ‘for sale’ group on Facebook.

A new ad unit to take on rivals

A new ad unit is also under testing that makes it possible for users to browse products while within the app, and only actually leave the platform when they buy a product. The format is very similar to the set up being used by Target. The idea is to reduce the time people spend on the mobile site of any particular retailer because the pages often take too long to load.

This ad format, known as Canvas, will help users save a lot of time because the product images will pop up quickly when users click on an ad. The images will take over the entire page making it easier for users to browse.

These new options could help Facebook to counter the growing threat from rivals, who are constantly updating their service to try and attract more ad dollars. Recently, YouTube unveiled shopping ads, and Twitter has also just launched its e-commerce options to the retailers across the U.S.