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Facebook Takes Another Step Into the "Social Shopping" Market

Facebook(NASDAQ: FB) recently acquired GrokStyle, a visual shopping and AI start-up, for undisclosed terms. On the surface, buying GrokStyle might just seem to be another way for Facebook to bolster the image-recognition technologies that power its social network. However, this acquisition also complements some of Facebook's other recent moves into the "social shopping" market. Facebook offers pages for businesses and brands, a marketplace for peer-to-peer transactions, shoppable Instagram posts, and pop-up stores for some digitally native businesses, yet none of those efforts helped it gain meaningful ground against Amazon(NASDAQ: AMZN). But last December, Facebook started testing a new feature that lets merchants sell products through interactive Live videos. In theory, Facebook's smartglass-wearing shoppers could perform visual searches of products in stores without ever taking out their smartphones, and those searches could be directed toward products on Facebook's Marketplace or its business pages. However, several companies are already developing smartglasses that connect to Amazon's Alexa. If smartglasses gain mainstream approval, it's likely that manufacturers will tether their devices to Alexa to reach more users.

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