Is Facebook the next e-commerce giant?
As early as Spring of 2013, from a concerted effort between some of the world’s largest telecom companies, stemmed Internet.org, an initiative to give free access to basic online functions to users in a number of developing nations. At the core of Internet.org: the one and only Facebook (Facebook, 2015).
With this move towards the two thirds of the world, which is not connected to the internet, Facebook has made great strands towards becoming a truly globalized platform (Nath, 2015). Albeit the fact that adoption is slow due to the lack of financial resources for hardware, one can only imagine that this early expansion could translate into first mover advantages and a strong presence in the connecting part of the world. In another attempt to harness the emerging digital world, Facebook is optimizing its app for 2G connections, which are prevalent for this target audience (Jonnalagadda, 2015).
Although there are many ways to look at this expansion, this blog’s aims at extrapolating what the ramifications could be in connection to Facebook’s recent push towards the e-commerce industry.
As these developments and initiatives were taking place to connect the emerging world, Facebook’s has been building the tools to become a major e-commerce platform. In the recent months, we have seen the expansion of the store options of Facebook pages (Constine, 2015), the establishment of a peer-to-peer payment option (Rao, 2015), and even the introduction of Facebook M. Part human, part artificial intelligence, the M assistant is to be embedded in the messenger and would assist Messenger users in reaching businesses with text-based queries. Much alike an advanced Siri, Facebook M would be able to perform tasks for users, but with less constraining boundaries to its capacities due to the human component of the AI (Hempel, 2015).
With a user base, which could jump from an already substantial numbers to even more impressive polls, and a shopping assistant which you could pull out of your pocket, it seems that Facebook could position itself as the next e-commerce giant. Bridging the gap between Facebook’s attempts to penetrate emerging digital markets and its advancements in the e-commerce business, can we extrapolate that Facebook could shift its business model from an advertising based model towards an e-commerce intermediary.
What are your thoughts?
Constine, J. (2015). Facebook Equips Business Pages With Mobile Storefronts For Shopping And Services. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/08/facebook-storefronts/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2015].
Facebook, (2015). Internet.org by Facebook. [online] Available at: https://internet.org/projects [Accessed 14 Oct. 2015].
Hempel, J. (2015). Facebook Launches M, Its Bold Answer to Siri and Cortana. [online] WIRED. Available at: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/facebook-launches-m-new-kind-virtual-assistant/ [Accessed 17 Oct. 2015].
Jonnalagadda, H. (2015). 2G-friendly Facebook Lite launches in India and the Philippines. [online] Android Central. Available at: http://www.androidcentral.com/2g-friendly-facebook-lite-launches-india-and-philippines [Accessed 16 Oct. 2015].
Nath, T. (2015). Internet.org: What It Is and How It Works (FB,GOOG,QCOM). [online] Investopedia. Available at: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/021315/internetorg-what-it-and-how-it-works.asp [Accessed 17 Oct. 2015].