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What Can MENA Learn from Facebook Selling in Asia? By Prism’s Lovetto Nazareth

Social Commerce is one area that is yet to reach its potential in the MENA region, writes Lovetto Nazareth, director Prism Digital.

Social media has drastically changed the whole outlook of how things work. With its easy usage, greater reach, and endless possibilities, it has changed the idea of socializing, communication, and especially commerce.

Facebook commerce is one such feature that is becoming the first choice for individual business owners, small companies, and start-ups. Its penetration and success are immense in Asia and regions like Africa and the Middle East should also focus on Facebook commerce as an alternate e-commerce platform.

F-commerce has numerous benefits to offer. With its 2.79 billion active users, Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. Even in regions like Africa where people often have no access to clean water, statistics for social media usage are on the rise. Such encouraging statistics make F-commerce an ultimate choice not only for big companies but also small and medium-sized businesses.

Facebook is not merely a selling tool for the brands, but it also helps in building brand awareness by facilitating brand discussions, flexible experience in terms of prices, product features, etc. A primary advantage of F-commerce is its simple method and easy access. With one click you can access individuals, companies, or brands that you want to connect with. This personalized and responsive access makes it a good choice especially for people who are not tech-savvy.

What MENA can Learn from Asia in Terms of F-Commerce:

The Middle East and Africa are the regions with limitless potential.  With a market of 578 million people, the future of the MENA region is indeed prosperous, and  F-commerce can prove to be a game-changer in the region. Asian countries have seen immense growth when it comes to social commerce. South Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have been extensively using Facebook for e-commerce and the strategies being used are indeed fascinating. That is why MENA needs to take a few leaves out of Asia’s book.

Using Social Commerce

A subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction and user contributions, to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services. Social Commerce makes use of Facebook chats to gain customers and sell brands.

According to Bain and Co, social Commerce made up a staggering 44% of Southeast Asia’s 109 billion dollars e-commerce industry. Social commerce is easy in terms of navigation, accessibility, negotiations, and advertising. Social Commerce is one area that is yet to reach its potential in the MENA region.

Making Use of Buying and Selling Groups

Facebook offers easy-to-use business features facilitating brands in showcasing their products. Specific Buying and Selling Groups are one such feature. It does not require much effort to find the product of your choice in terms of (quality, price, brand, etc) in any given location. For example, a simple Facebook Buying and Selling group run by University students in Pakistan has 135k members. Such a wide audience gives any business an opportunity to generate huge revenues.

Fresh Stories and Facebook live:

Facebook is a great tool to help you keep your products afresh and appealing using stories and updates daily. Due to its high reach and the raw response from the customers, you can build your brand through catchy stories and updates.

Moreover, it has been seen that small businesses use Facebook Live to sell products. We have got numerous success stories from countries such as Bangladesh and India about people using Facebook Live to portray their products and making sales in real-time. This has seen immense success in Asian countries, and this is one area that entrepreneurs and businesses in the MENA region can also explore.

Creating Start-ups to Help Individuals and Small Businesses to Establish Facebook Stores

There are many start-ups in Asian countries that help talented individuals and small businesses in establishing stores on different social media platforms including Facebook. Philippines-based “Uniquely’s doing it yourself ” is one such start-up that helps sellers in establishing stores on Facebook. It helps them in creating product albums, process orders, and receive payments all through Facebook, without leaving the app.

We can find similar examples in the Middle East as well. Prism Digital, a Digital Marketing Agency in Dubai, is working closely with an F-commerce start-up, GlAMGRL, to launch the brand in the Middle Eastern Market. F-commerce is indeed growing but much has to be done in order to make it a centre stage for e-commerce activities.

Successful businesses evolve with everchanging market trends. Given the current circumstances, and the constantly evolving market, businesses would have to figure out newer ways to thrive and F-commerce is surely one of the prime areas to explore.

Though Facebook commerce is not something that is new to the MENA region and Digital Marketing Agencies are using social media platforms such as Facebook for advertisements. However, it has yet to reach its potential and there is much to do to make the most out of F-commerce.

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