[Simply Business] The Rise of Social Media Reseller
E-commerce industry in Indonesia is definitely on the rise. We’ve been seeing a lot of payment gateway supporting the growth and also big name marketplace with big cash. But alas, the majority of people are still selling their products on Facebook. Yes, Facebook!
Facebook was never meant to be a place where people can sell their items but the Indonesian did it anyway. This also happens to Multiply, Friendster and even Blackberry Messenger Groups. Where there’s people gathering, there’s people trying to sell you something.
Let’s take a look at Multiply. The company pivoted from a social networking site to a marketplace because they’re seeing major growth of sellers using Multiply in many Asian countries like Phillipine, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
After the pivot, Multiply is now considered as the largest online social shopping destination in Philippines with over 120,000 sellers targeting about 5 million users. Seeing the huge market in Asia, they actually moved their headquarters to Indonesia and will be concentrating their e-commerce expansion in South East Asia.
Multiply is a big company that works in a big way, but let’s take a look at a smaller business unit: the actual people who sell stuff on social media. Most of the people I know that are selling stuff on social media are young moms. From the information I’ve gathered, they’re claiming to earn $1000-$3000 per month, which is about 10-30 times more than Indonesian minimum wages of $120.
The most popular social media to sell from is Facebook. It’s easy to upload photos and spread the product by tagging everyone you know. Raise your hand if you ever been tagged on a product your friend sells. I had that experience numerous times and it’s pretty annoying. But to my surprise, based on the comments I read, people actually buy them.
The second most popular is Blackberry Messenger Group (BBM Group). Simply because it’s so easy to broadcast message across hundreds of contacts and the ability to save an image to a group is quite a convenient. Blackberry users are BBM-addicts and the fact that more than 5 million Blackberry is already at the hand of Indonesian is another convenient factor to include.
Personally I found that selling on Facebook or Blackberry Messenger Group to be cumbersome. But it’s a lot easier for a lot of people if you factor that they’re already accustomed to the system. E-commerce system like tokopedia may provide a simpler and more direct approach at e-commerce but IMHO it still cannot beat the number of sporadic sellers in Facebook or BBM Group, nor can it defeat the amount of people (millions of potential buyers!) already using the platform.
The use of Blackberry Messenger as a sales tool is not exclusive for the personal sellers, some brands use it as well. We are seeing more and more malls using BBM as a platform to broadcast discounts. How about Brodo Footwear that uses BBM as a customer service channel. Brodo have 2 dedicated blackberry device with over 1500 contacts in total. They claim that more than 50% of sales happened in BBM! That’s quite funny considering they actually have an online store with a decent shopping cart system. Maybe people are just too lazy or prefer a direct communication to an actual person on the other end even if it’s just in a form of text chat.
Social media seller is an interesting phenomenon and like it or not, it is still a popular way to sell stuffs. It may be annoying as hell but until we actually have a platform easy enough to use and wildly adapted enough then people will keep tagging you with their products and broadcast you constantly on BBMs.
Aria Rajasa is the CEO of gantibaju.com, a clothing startup backed by a very strong designer community. His passion in entrepreneurship has gotten him to establish a number of companies in technology and design industries since leaving university.
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