Facebook Adds Wishlist “I Want” Feature

Building on their attempts to get into commerce, Facebook is testing a feature that lets users create “wishlists” by clicking an “I Want” button. The test includes seven retailers: Pottery Barn, Victoria’s Secret, Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Smith Optics, Wayfair and Fab.com. The feature, which Facebook dubbed Collections, could help Facebook play a bigger role in the online commerce market by encouraging users to buy flagged products for their friends directly from online stores.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company does not receive a fee when someone purchases a wishlist item on Facebook from a retailer’s site.

The Collections feature will gradually be offered to 100% of its U.S. users and will be slowly rolled out in the UK next year. Unlike Facebook’s existing “like” button, the feature that Facebook is testing will showcase the “liked” item within a user’s Timeline profile page.

To-date, Facebook has not had much success in the commerce arena. The social network’s attempt at direct-purchases through the site failed miserably with GameStop, Gap, JC Penney and Nordstrom’s storefronts being shut down almost as quickly as they launched.

I think this could find some success, particularly when built into Facebook-organized events like baby showers and engagements/weddings, where gift registry is common. But, if the wish list isn’t tied to a specific event, I’m not sure how effective it will be in general. After all, how often do people buy gifts for each other “just because”?

I’ll keep an eye out on this for you. In the meantime, let me know what you think – would you share your wish lists on Facebook?

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