It is 11:53 p.m. on a Friday night and you are just craving some good old late night takeout. In this digital age, instead of calling in on the menu you have stuck on your fridge, a lot of people now will go to a trusty food delivery website or app to get their late night food fixes. There are dozens and dozens of websites and apps like Grubhub, Postmates, Seamless, etc., that allow you to order food from restaurants and have it delivered to you. This market is extremely saturated, but there is a new player that is stepping into the market named Facebook.
Facebook, on its quest to take over the world with its social network, has recently announced that it will release a new feature in its line of “Utility Features” that will allow a user to easily order food directly from a company’s Facebook page and have it delivered to you. Users can just visit any restaurant’s Facebook Page that uses Delivery.com or Slice and simply press “Start Order” from there. (I only can predict that Facebook will continue to open more partnerships and opportunities with other delivery services and restaurants if this becomes successful) Seems pretty simple and now it can allow users to easily order from places they already are fans of and have “Liked” on Facebook. But, why would Facebook decide to add this feature in its social network in what is already such a saturated market?
I believe the main reason Facebook is doing this is to keep users on Facebook longer. Before this feature, hungry users hungry people had to leave a restaurant’s Facebook page to order food on another website or app. That is no longer the case with this feature as users can place orders without ever leaving Facebook. Facebook’s main goal with this feature is to probably streamline various processes and user functionalities with a mentality of “why should a user use a bunch of different apps when you can just use Facebook to do everything?” Check if off the list for Facebook that users do not have to leave to order food now when they are hungry. They can easily find their utility to fill their stomachs and happiness of eating on Facebook now with a simple click of the “Start Order” button.
As discussed in class a few weeks back, Facebook wants to keep users on their platform for as long as possible. Facebook wants users using their social platform for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on Facebook, and only Facebook. Even for food now, you can stay on Facebook for as long as possible. This also allows for Facebook to steal some user traffic that is currently flowing through competitors like Google and Yelp when people are in search of order food. Users can now use Facebook to browse and order food whenever they want. Facebook wants to be the digital and social giant that does it all for the user. They are continually adding features and new aspects to their social platform every single day and this is just another one of them to lure us to continuing using Facebook.
It will be interesting to see how this feature does in the coming months. Getting users to know about this feature and shifting their behavior to just order food straight off of Facebook will be one of the hardest hurdles to get past. How Facebook can capitalize on their network effects and features such as reviews and friend recommendations to push this food order feature will also be interesting. Do you think this new Facebook food ordering feature will catch on and succeed or do you think no one will use it and stick to going directly to websites like Grubhub?