Two years back most of the SMEs wanted to have their store online, now they want it on Facebook. Simple reason being more than 83 million Indians spend time on the world’s biggest social network. Seeing this as an opportunity, marketers/startups all have jumped on the network to connect with customers. While brands are connecting over their brand pages, startups are also working with businesses in getting their stores on Facebook, popularly termed as Facebook Commerce.
The latest startup to try its luck with Facebook Commerce is Kochi based Ravox, which has already over 900 customers, shared its founder Aji Abraham while talking with NBW. So I decided to check out the startup that promises quick setup of stores on the social network.
Setting up a store with Ravox on Facebook
Once the Facebook authentication was done, Ravox has a three step process – Setup Store, Add Products and Open Store. The processes are really simple with no hassles at all. The Setup Store is about providing account information, payment and shipping information so that all the operations are carried out smoothly once a customer has purchased a product from the Facebook store. I tried out the process by creating a test store under my name with cool themes that were provided by the startup for free.
On the second stage I added an interesting product along with the required details. There after I was ready to publish the store on my Facebook page. Since I had only one product I chose one of the demo sites to give you a glimpse of the Facebook stores.
A customer can select the product, share it and purchase it in the listed currencies by the store. On the back end side the merchant has full control about the products, orders, visits, social shares, etc. And all these features are free for a merchant. However, there is an enterprise version which allows more flexibility and analytics that could be setup by getting in touch with the startup.
Besides this Ravox has two more interesting features – Social Affiliates and Marketplace. Social Affiliates is a practice that has been in existence for some time now and it allows you to make some money by promoting brands on your large social presence. So if you have a large social presence and call yourself an influencer then you may try your luck, not sure if your followers would like it though. The other feature Marketplace allows merchants to promote their product in the marketplace launched by the startup but 10% of sales are reaped by the startup for the service. The marketplace could be a nice thing but it needs to be monitored as I can already see people selling likes, which is a weird thing in the marketplace.
Competition and Challenges
The market that Ravox has entered is already a crowded space. There are players like Expresstore, Sellmojo doing the same business. Recently Mumbai based venture Imly launched Facebook stores for its chefs, which will allow chefs to list all their items on the respective Facebook pages and customers can now shop from the social network while socializing with friends.
So it would be interesting to see how Ravox grows further but considering the setup and all processes it was a smooth ride. However, the startup must guide on how to display better pictures and elaborate descriptions. Adding up product videos could be a cool idea or a Vine video might be a simple and better choice.
But the biggest challenge along with getting merchants on board is keeping their faith on social media. I have often seen that once the store is created by merchants on Facebook, they just forget to promote them or rather are not aware how to promote them. SellMojo tied up with Facebook India team to provide marketing courses to its customers. A partnership like this would be good or conduct some workshops. Besides this merchants will have to spend on boosting their posts to get a better reach, a harsh truth but that’s how Facebook brand pages work for now.
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to know what kind of merchants they have tied up or have shown intent, what kind of challenges the market is still facing and how are they planning to bring it on mobile.