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Facebook has launched a new feature called Shops on Facebook and Instagram to allow businesses to set up free storefronts (REUTERS)
Facebook has launched a new feature called Shops on Facebook and Instagram to allow businesses to set up free storefronts (REUTERS)

Covid-19 impact: Retailers, edtech platforms tap Facebook, WhatsApp

  • Facebook and WhatsApp are two of the leading social media platforms in India and businesses are capitalising on them
  • Edtech platforms are using Facebook to reach the target audience for customer acquisition and new app installs

The covid-19 pandemic has pushed businesses towards social media platforms to connect with their customers like never before. While edtech platforms are using Facebook Live for online training, a phone retailer is doing business through Facebook and a grocery store is taking order on WhatsApp.

As the outbreak spread and people stayed indoors, time spent on online platforms has grown. Facebook with its 280 million user base and WhatsApp with 400 million user base in India are two of the leading social media platforms and businesses are capitalising on them.

Samsung has asked its offline retailers to set up Facebook business pages to sell smartphones. Around 800 retailers have already been trained to set up business pages. With a slightly different approach, rival Vivo has been using its Facebook page to record interest of customers in phones so that it can reach out to them with assistance on which model to buy.

Facebook, on its part, has launched a new feature called Shops on Facebook and Instagram. It allows businesses to set up free storefronts, allowing users to browse through products and place orders from the social network itself.

“With the changing environment around covid-19, people are spending more time on digital platforms, including the Facebook family of apps. This has led brands to alter go-to-market models by adapting to changes in the value chain, rapidly digitizing key journeys," said Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, vertical head - Technology, Telecom, Automotive and New Business, at Facebook India.

Edtech platforms are using Facebook to reach the target audience, for customer acquisition and new app installs. For instance, Paperboat Apps is using Facebook to reach parents for its pre-school app Kiddopia, which has witnessed a surge in user base in recent weeks.

"Downloads and subscriptions for our pre-school learning app, Kiddopia have increased by more than 100% as compared to the pre-lockdown period. Facebook Ads has been a great channel for driving this growth," said Anshu Dhanuka, co-founder, Paperboat Apps.

Online learning platform Coursera is using Facebook to share uplifting stories, new ways to learn, and interesting courses in addition to inviting its audience to share questions, ideas, and comments.

Similarly, Simplilearn is using FB Live to share tips for learning and working from home. upGrad is hosting webinars with thought leaders such as Nandan Nilekani, and posting videos by renowned professors and celebrities.

“Facebook has now become our highest driver of enrollments among all push and social media channels. Multiple strategic moves can be attributed to it. One, moving from static creatives to videos and carousels, has led to a 100% increase in CTRs," says Arjun Mohan, CEO, upGrad.

Not to be left behind, Facebook’s sister platform WhatsApp is playing an important role in connecting grocery stores to customers. Many neighbourhood stores have set up WhatsApp Business accounts to take orders from customers within the same locality.

The recently launched Reliance JioMart allows customers to order grocery through WhatsApp. During the lockdown, the Karnataka government had started a project in which people could order grocery, medicines and vegetables on WhatsApp.

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