NEW DELHI: South Korean electronics major Samsung said Thursday that it has partnered with Facebook to train its offline retailers to expand their footprint in the local market leveraging social media marketplaces.
As part of the deal, the social media giant will hand-hold these retailers to set up their business pages and accounts on Facebook family of apps – Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. For consumers, this will allow them to purchase all Galaxy smartphones through the social media pages of their local retailers.“Over the last two months, our focus has been to adapt our business model to suit the changing needs of our consumers. While the partnership with Facebook will help our retail partners discover and target local consumers digitally, consumers too will benefit as they can now access product information and shop for smartphones through social media pages of their local retailers,” said Mohandeep Singh, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.
The move fits squarely within Facebook's major push into e-commerce. In what can be a major setback for e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company also said it will allow small businesses to set up virtual shops on Facebook and Whatsapp and access its large consumer base: 324 million for Facebook and supremely-dominant WhatsApp with 400 million customers in India. “I think this is particularly important right now because so many small businesses are moving online to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
In the first phase, Samsung and Facebook have trained more than 800 offline retailers. "With the changing environment around COVID-19, people are spending more time on digital platforms. Facebook has partnered closely with key clients including Samsung on this journey. With our expertise in digital skilling, we would enable offline retailers to reach out to consumers in their natural habitat of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp seamlessly, and help businesses adapt to the new normal,” said Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, Vertical Head – Technology, Telecom, Automotive and New Business at Facebook India.
Earlier this month, Samsumg had also tied up with merchants payments platform Benow as part of its broader offline-to-online convergence strategy to help nearly 20,000-odd neighbourhood ramp up sales. Other brands such as Vivo and Xiaomi have also taken similar initiatives to enable their respective offline partners to start sales using digital tools. Market research firm IDC estimates online contribution to smartphone sales to have grown to 41.7 per cent in 2019 from 38.4 per cent in 2018 and forecasts the share to settle in the range of 46-50 per cent in 2020, which would be the highest ever.