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Small and medium businesses (SMEs) in developing markets can soon list and sell their products on Facebook for free along with advertising using the pages feature, reports Reuters. Although it is not clear whether this will be available in India and what kind of merchants will be able to sell using this feature; MediaNama has written to the company for more clarifications. A spokesperson from Facebook told MediaNama that the feature will be available initially to all sellers in SouthEast Asian regions like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India, etc.  All businesses with a Facebook page can list products on it; users can search and browse through the list and make offers to purchase products through messaging or buy option.

In addition, businesses who provide only services such as plumbers, spas & personal care, pet service, medical & health and automotive etc can showcase a list of their offerings on their Page. This is currently made available to all businesses globally and was initially unveiled last year in December.

By opening up its ecommerce feature to more sellers for free, Facebook aims to tap businesses in emerging markets that might also be willing to pay for advertising space, which could subsequently boost its ad revenue, added the report. “If a business is seeing value from their page, there is a higher opportunity that they could be an advertiser,” said Benji Shomair, product marketing director of Facebook Pages, told Reuters.

This is simply an addition to ‘Buy Button’ feature

Facebook first started allowing users to buy products online from certain merchants within its website using a Buy Button in 2014. At that time, only selected number of merchants could list their products, as this option was in a test phase. Payments were also hosted on Facebook site itself, without redirecting users to an external merchant page.

Following this roll-out, the social networking giant started another beta-test feature in June 2015, by allowing more retailers/merchants to place Buy Buttons via DIY ecommerce platform Shopify. At that time, it was working with a group of US-based merchants to allow consumers to purchase products they discover in their News Feed or on Pages without having to leave Facebook.

Within a month after the Shopify partnership, Facebook extended Buy Button feature to all businesses via Facebook pages in July 2015. It allowed retailers/merchants sell items directly through their business page, making it into a partial ecommerce store. The buy feature was also rolled out for users on mobile, where it appeared as a ‘shopping’ section on a separate tab along with other the options like timeline, about, photos etc.

Competition

– Facebook rival and search giant Google in May last year said that it is looking to add a buy button on its search results pages for products on mobile devices. The button would appear next to sponsored or paid search results, which are usually on the top of the page, and will be displayed under “Shop on Google”. It was reported that many retailers were in talks to take part in the launch and that the products would still be provided and sold by retailers, and not by Google.

– In the same month, YouTube said that it will add buy buttons to TrueView ads, wherein users can click on the button to buy products after being redirected to that product page. This was rolled out over desktop and mobile after May 2015.

– In June last year, Pinterest unveiled a way to buy items on the website through a “Buyable Pins” feature marking its entry into ecommerce. The feature was made available in the US and users can pay for items through Apple Pay or a credit card. Pinterest had tied up with major retailers like Cole Haan, Ethan Allen, Kate Spade and Macy’s and rolled out the feature for Apple devices initially.

-Twitter announced a partnership deal with Amazon, allowing users to add items to their Amazon online cart via tweets. The feature was available in U.S only, and users could add a product to their carts by tweeting “#AmazonCart” in response to tweets that has an Amazon product link in it. Users will have to transact via the Amazon page.

Image credit: Pixabay