Tech Giants targeting hyper-local market in India
When Facebook announced that they have bought a 9.9% Stake in Reliance Jio for a whopping 43,574 crore merely a month ago, it kept the business minds thinking about the core idea of the deal. With the announcement of the Facebook shops, many possibilities of the deal have been unboxed for us. Let us see Facebook Shops in detail.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced the new feature “Facebook Shops” that is going to be rolled out soon, initially in US. As he said, the main idea of this feature is to help around 200 million Micro and Small businesses enter the online space which is the need of the hour and thrive going forward.
It looks like this trio basket – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp- is going to be the torch bearer in the e-commerce business especially for Micro and Small Businesses in terms of packaging the e-commerce experience. As per the company, Facebook and Instagram shops are coming up with innovative features where businesses can set up online Store Fronts in Facebook and Instagram itself. They have also hinted that shopping will be available in chat platforms (WhatsApp & Messenger) and users can move across these families of apps. Along with seeing catalogues of the product, users will also be able to browse, add to cart, and also complete the payment seamlessly through the payment gateway integrated to the app.
Artificial Intelligence is going to play a major role by identifying and tagging the products present in the images automatically. The company also announced the integration of Augmented Reality in the app so that users can have the look and feel of products like makeup and jewellery even before buying.
The 800 million people who are using Live videos daily on Facebook & Instagram have indirectly conceived the idea of live shopping. The tech giant is coming up with a feature of a live shop too. All these innovative features are gaining a lot of interest from businesses and shopaholics especially youth.
Even though businesses have good experience on Facebook advertisements, Facebook Shop is giving an opportunity to directly sell it to their customers by challenging e-commerce rivals.
With all this aside, the philanthropic reasons given for the sake of small businesses may not be completely true.
Facebook has been struggling for a long time to get revenue from the Indian market due to several reasons. On the other hand, WhatsApp is also facing trouble in terms of payment systems. Now, Facebook may have started connecting the dots by partnering with the Indian Giant Reliance Jio and has got easy access to the Indian Market.
After the deal between Jio and Facebook, they have got access to the largest database of the world – With the Facebook user base of 260 mn+, WhatsApp user base of 400 mn+ clubbed with Jio user base. This may be a digital footprint invasion with cross-functional platforms.
Such huge tech Giants, trying to enter the hyper-local market shows the size and growth potential of this market in India. The vegetable farmers 25 years ago have become vendors to the e-Grocers today. The same trend may be following now, making Micro and Small Businesses dependent on a single platform to do business. Is this industry going into a monopoly??
Contra Punto: Historically, we have seen when giants come together, the chances of success are less. There is always a clash in approach & cultural background – Bharthi-Walmart tie-up, Renault-M&M partnership for example. Reliance has independently done well but its track record of working with partners and franchisees has been much desired. This would be an interesting partnership to watch for, where culturally & technologically they are two poles apart.
We are more eagerly looking forward to the India launch of Facebook Shops and the difference that it can bring to the online community.