Facebook to bring its mobile-first marketplace to India, targeting OLX, Quikr

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Facebookwill bring its marketplace to India based on success of its pilot in the USand three other countries as it looks to disrupt the online classifieds market in the country.


“It is currently being tested in US (and other countries). A specific model will be formed that is focused on the way business and consumers in India work and (this) will be implemented. The marketplace model makes discovery of products and business much more efficient,” said Esme Lean, lead SMEIndia, Facebookin a telephonic interview. She did not specify a time frame for the India launch.


Last month, Facebookopened a mobile first marketplace on its platform in US, UK, Australiaand New Zealand, allowing users to discover, buy and sell between themselves as part of a community. In India, this could potentially take on Naspers owned OLXand Tiger Global backed Quikr, who are competing heavily to dominate the Indian online classifieds market.


India’s digital classifieds industry is expected to grow three fold to $ 1.2 billion (around Rs 7900 crore) by 2020, with horizontal classifieds cornering around 30 per cent of the share, according to joint study by Google and KPMG in September. Google says search trend reveals that non metros such as Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kochi, Coimbatore, Indoreand Jaipur as seen four fold increase in local searches for e-services, real estate and Automobiles.


Facebook’s push for mobile to pilot its marketplace platform also helps it tap India’s over one billion mobile users, where nine out of ten users have first accessed internet on smartphones.


In India, Facebookhas over 155 million users or nearly one in two smartphone users making it among the most used internet sites in the country.


Facebookhopes the marketplace could potentially increase engagement of users on its platform as it sees over 2 million small business pages in India with 2.4 billion interactions each day between people and business. Out of the 2 million business pages 30 per cent are owned by women.


The social network has offered features allowing small businesses in India to run ads on its global network, also look at past history to recommend where these ads can be run.


“When a small business is confused where exactly to market the product, the second feature comes in use. For example if there is jewellery seller in India who wants to expand their sales abroad but can not decide whether to market in Canada, USor UK then the artificial intelligence works for them, finds out the maximum interactions that have got converted in India and finds an international page with the same audience,” says Lean.


Lean says that this will help small business reduce the time to test the response to their products in various areas before the find the best location. Lean says that 59 per cent of the users of Facebookare engaged with at least one business page.


The company says that the platform acts as a mobile first strategy for any small business in India instantly as businesses are able to find customers.


There are 175 million interactions each day between users outside India with business in India on the platform. Facebookalso has a Shop Tab that allows users to directly interact with the business and also buy online, only the final money transaction is done outside. However, Lean says there is a SMEcouncil now that give suggestions on what more they need and if the council suggest they want a means to have a direct transaction feature also they will be looking at it.
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