May 5: Social media giant Facebook will kick off its first business-to-consumer transactions in the coming weeks. A soft launch of the service, known as the Facebook Marketplace, is expected to take place in June this year.
Facebook, which would be eyeing a bigger pie of the Indian e-commerce market with Marketplace, will introduce tools for businesses to upload products in addition to offering services for managing inventory and orders, says a report in ET. Beside, Facebook will also add payments to the service to take it on par with rival services including Facebook and Amazon.
Marketplace was initially launched in India as a pilot during November in Mumbai. The service back then was offered as a consumer-to-consumer offering, much like that offered by OLX and Quikr. Facebook is likely to continue bolstering the service to ease the sale of secondhand goods while offering new tools for business-to-consumer services.
Despite becoming six months since the pilot test launch, Marketplace hasn’t yet quite found a place in the segment. It’s also believed that the sale has been mostly centered on jewellery and household goods despite the platform offering around ten categories.
Stepping on to the business-to-consumer platform would be a major push to the service. Facebook could also leverage the social media incline of the nation’s population. India is home to around 241 million Facebook users, making it the biggest market in the world based on number of users.
Facebook will be eyeing to tap this in addition to exploiting the e-commerce boom in the country. The online retail sector in the country is expected to grow to $27 billion this year after having registered sales worth $19.6 billion in the previous year. Analysts also predict the sector to cross $200 billion by 2026.