With offline retail expected to get limited footfalls in the coming months, Samsung is pushing its offline retail partners to leverage social media platforms. The company has asked offline retailers selling Samsung phones to set up a business page on Facebook and sell smartphones from there.
Keeping in mind that many offline retailers may not be tech savvy, the South Korean company is training them on setting up a Facebook business page. In the first phase, some 800 retailers have been trained.
“Over the last two months, our focus has been to adapt our business model to suit the changing needs of our consumers. We have taken a number of steps to enable the doorstep delivery of both our products and services to ensure social distancing," Mohandeep Singh, senior VP, Mobile Business, Samsung India said in a press statement.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are the most popular social media and messaging platforms with lion's share of users globally as well as in India. According to Statista, Facebook has 280 million users in India as on April 2020.
Aware of the growing interest among brands towards social media as platform where they can sell products, Facebook too is working on putting more options out there for merchants. After Marketplace, the social networking company is rolling out a Shops feature on Facebook and Instagram which will allows sellers to transform their business pages into a storefront and sell products directly from there.
Offline retailers are likely to take a hit in the backdrop of covid-19 which is expected to change buying habits drastically in favour of online platforms as buyers would prefer to buy online rather than line up in a busy store. A May IDC (International Data Corporation) report states, online channels grew by 9% YoY in Q1 2020, while offline shipments fell by 3.5%YoY with fewer retail walk-ins as one of the factors leading to it.
“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," Prasanjeet Dutta Baruah, vertical head - Technology, Telecom, Automotive and New Business at Facebook India said in a statement.
Once the business pages are created on Facebook, retailers can engage with potential consumers to share information such as e-detailers and e-catalogues on available Samsung phones. In addition to Facebook, buyers can also order Samsung smartphones through WhatsApp by contacting the local retailers on retailer’s WhatsApp Business app.
Unlike Samsung that is encouraging retailers to be active on Facebook, other brands are themselves getting more active on their company page. For instance, Vivo recently announced a Smart Retail programme where customers can send-in their vivo product related queries to retailers on Vivo's Facebook India page.