Facebook adds 'shop' tab to push e-commerce

Shopping Bascket Super Market

Facebook has taken another step toward its goal of making it easier for brands to reach customers and drive sales on mobile devices.

The company has already tested a "buy now" button in articles in the news feed; now, Facebook is testing a "shop" section as an additional tab, along with news feed, pages and groups.

Gathering together products listed in the shop sections of various brands' Facebook pages, this tab is designed to be "a single place for people to more easily discover, share and purchase products," according to a company blog posted Monday.

In that post, the company said it's responding to consumer demand, citing a survey that suggests that nearly half of people come to Facebook to actively look for products.

It will start with stuff that pages are selling, and users will be able to buy right there, without clicking to a company's website. Facebook then plans to explore adding products that people are selling to each other, like eBay . It says it is exploring this idea in response to the growing popularity of "for sale" groups on Facebook.

Facebook's also testing a new ad unit which allows users to browse products while within the app, only leaving when it's time to click to buy, showcasing Target , which is already using the format. The idea is that when people click to a retailer's mobile site, the pages often take awhile to load. With this ad format, called Canvas, when users click on an ad, photos of products will quickly pop up and take over the page, making it easy to browse.

Though some of the more preliminary tests, such as the "shop" section, are unlikely to launch before the new year, ahead of this holiday season Facebook is making a big push to lure retailer ad dollars with new options and ways to reduce friction. Monday's strategy outlay comes on the heels of YouTube unveiling shopping ads and Twitter launching its e-commerce options to any retailer, big or small, across the U.S. With Pinterest ramping up its own "buy" options in pins, there's no question this will be the most social holiday shopping season ever.