ISLAMABAD: A new chapter of e-commerce is said to start in the country after social media giant Facebook introduced its customer-to-customer platform that will enable people to buy and sell items.
“I am happy to see that after Amazon, Facebook has also launched ‘Marketplace’ for Pakistan,” PM’s Adviser on Commerce Razak Dawood said on Friday.
He went on say that it would encourage small entrepreneurs to sell online.
Facebook Marketplace was introduced in 2016 and has been rolled out in over 100 countries. Earlier, Facebook users in Pakistan did not have access to the feature.
“Such opportunities during Covid-19 could be a lifeline for micro enterprises,” the adviser said, adding that it would also be helpful for women entrepreneurs, who want to engage in market activity by purchasing and selling within the community of friends, family and networks.
“This is the first step towards e-commerce,” Mr Dawood said.
Official documents seen by Dawn show that Facebook Marketplace was primarily a C2C platform that provided an opportunity to people to buy and sell items.
Written messages from the Facebook management to Pakistan’s commerce ministry said that “introduction of new features and products on our platform is Facebook’s way of demonstrating our commitment and support to our community in Pakistan”.
“Expanding our product offerings in Pakistan and bringing new features into the country enables us to support individuals as well as small, medium and even micro businesses which use our platform,” the message, made available to Dawn, further said.
Elaborating on the features, it says Marketplace makes it easier and more convenient for people to buy and sell by leveraging their social network.
“This compliments the broader work that Facebook does to support Pakistan’s vibrate small business community with a variety of products, services and training programmes,” the message added.
On Marketplace, people can look through listings or search for items near to them to find great things to buy. Moreover, one does not have to download another app or set up a new account in order to buy and sell.
Similarly, the user can reach people in their local community and find unique items for sale through their existing Facebook account.
Marketplace is available in the Facebook app and on desktops and tablets. While using a web browser, one can find its icon on the left side of the Facebook page.
The social networking site has been an integral part of Pakistan’s society for decades. Over 50 million people in Pakistan spend time on Facebook each month, using the platform to connect with family and friends, find businesses they like and trade on a daily basis.
“We built Facebook Marketplace to make it easier and more convenient for buyers and sellers that are already on our platforms to connect and leverage this social network and sell their products,” the Facebook management said.
Currently, all transactions in Marketplace are completed outside of Facebook platform.
“We do not take revenue or seller’s fees for any of our roles in enabling sales via Marketplace,” it was clarified by Facebook.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the economy in many countries, including Pakistan, and Facebook wants to help the government of Pakistan’s efforts for economic recovery by providing features and products such as Marketplace to help people buy and sell and generate more economic activity.
“This is in addition to the support we offer small businesses to easily digitise operations, adapt to selling online and reach to wider networks, as well as programmes to help SMBs during this difficult time,” a Facebook official said, adding that “we enable sellers to build an online presence at no cost and minimal complexity, and for those just starting it”.