Facebook plans to discuss and likely demo its young mobile commerce product at today’s f8 developers conference, according to sources.
The new mobile payment “Autofill” product aims to simplify the process of entering credit card information into mobile apps. This will likely not happen during the main keynote, but Facebook is expected to spend time discussing it with attendees at some point during the event, according to two sources.
It’s the first f8 conference that Facebook has put on since 2011, when the company first introduced its Timeline and Open Graph products. Facebook traditionally uses the event to woo others to its platform, rolling out products that make it more attractive for more developers to integrate with the social network. As Re/code reported earlier this month, Facebook also plans to roll out its mobile advertising network at this year’s f8 conference.
Facebook started testing this mobile commerce product last year to attempt to simplify the shopping experience on mobile phones while also giving Facebook more insight into its users’ behavior and interests. The information could help Facebook target ads more effectively or prove to advertisers that an ad led to a sale. The feature lets shoppers automatically enter their payment and shipping info into a mobile app by logging in with their Facebook information. The catch? Shoppers have to have previously provided Facebook with their credit card information.
Facebook has been slowly opening up the feature to more apps since it first launched with a handful including JackThreads, and may use f8 as a chance to recruit more developers to integrate the service. One source said Facebook will also likely acknowledge an integration of Autofill with Ecwid, a software tool that lets small businesses set up simple online stores on their blogs, mobile websites and Facebook pages.
I’d imagine this means that any business that uses Ecwid will have the opportunity to offer the Facebook Autofill product to its shoppers. Also, if the Autofill integration extends to the Facebook stores that Ecwid powers, there’s the potential for a one-click-type buy option for shoppers who have previously given Facebook their credit card credentials. But the exact nature of the integration isn’t yet known.
Either way, it seems that Facebook has seen enough of a positive reception to its initial testing to formalize the offering a bit more.
A Facebook spokeswoman and an Ecwid spokesman declined to comment.