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Facebook's e-commerce experiment

CHICAGO — Social media powerhouse Facebook is trying go beyond baby photos and cat memes by further integrating commerce into its current platform.

While many large and small retailers already use Facebook's platform to market their wares and enhance their brand awareness, no one has set up shop on the site until now.

As part of the shopping experiment, Facebook is playing host to Accessory Mercado, an online retailer that, since May, has been holding flash sales of its necklaces, earrings, bracelets, scarves and watches exclusively on the social media site.

Every Wednesday starting at 8 p.m. CST, Accessory Mercado begins a flash sale by posting photos on Facebook of 20 to 30 of its products. Unlike other flash sales, however, Accessory Mercado's sales do not follow an auction model — that is, prices are set and final, and listed next to each photo. Shoppers then have to vie against one another to see who types "sold" in the comments section first. Accessory Mercado e-mails each shopper who was first to lay claim to the item with an invoice and mails the item within 48 hours of receiving payment.

Each flash sale lasts no more than 16 hours.

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