Facebook To Make Foray Into E-Commerce With Marketplace In India


The Indian e-commerce scene has a new competition. No points for guessing because the answer is obviously Facebook.


The social media giant is in talks with several brands and businesses to list on Facebook Marketplace, as per sources close to the development. Facebook Marketplace is available in 70 countries and has more than 800 million people visiting each month to buy and sell goods.

It will begin testing business-to-consumer transactions on the marketplace this month ahead of a soft launch planned for June.

Facebook has plans of building more features (on its marketplace) for businesses to upload products and manage inventory and orders, and will also add payments to it by the end of this year. As of now, Facebook will start with directing consumers to sellers’ (Facebook) pages or websites.

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Facebook launched its marketplace as a consumer-to-consumer interface in India about six months ago but received a lukewarm response to its attempt at creating a domestic Craigslist, competing with startups such as Quikr and OLX.

“We first introduced Marketplace in India last November, and since then we’ve been continuously learning and evolving the experience to meet people’s needs. We’ll continue to explore new ways to help these communities connect through commerce,”

a Facebook spokeswoman clarified.

India’s online retail sector and how will Facebook fare?

India’s online retail sector is expected to grow to $27 billion this year after registering sales worth $19.6 billion in 2017, as per Forrester Research. Global retailers are betting more on the massive growth potential for the fledgling market which might go up to the tune of $200 billion by 2026.

While the Flipkart-Walmart deal is almost ready to be clinched at $15 Billion with Walmart getting 75% stakes, Amazon has committed to invest $5 billion in its India operations. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, may also invest $1-2 billion in Flipkart if the Walmart deal goes through.

Google is reportedly preparing to tap the domestic e-commerce market more directly after recently investing in Bengaluru-based personal concierge app Dunzo and e-commerce company Fynd.

A Google spokeswoman, however, denied any such moves. The company operates Google Express in the United States via a partnership with retailers including Walmart and Costco.

Industry experts opine that it would take time for sellers to recognise the social network also as an e-commerce platform.

“Onboarding sellers on Facebook may be a challenge. I think it will take significant time before people understand and see value in (business-to-consumer transactions via Facebook),”

said Shrinath V, an independent product consultant.

Facebook Marketplace will be at loggerheads with Flipkart and Amazon because all of them are ultimately fighting for the same customer. But this is good news for sellers and brands because it adds another distribution channel for them.

Facebook Marketplace is available in 70 countries and has more than 800 million people visiting each month to buy and sell goods.

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