Facebook’s bet on small businesses in India is starting to pay off with half of all small and medium businesses on its platform with 25% of their income coming from the digital space.

The past year has been an inflection point for consumers as they have started to interact with brands digitally. Many offline and new age businesses embraced social commerce during the lockdown months last year, Facebook India chief executive Ajit Mohan said. Activity area.

The presence of Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp in the Indian market has allowed the company to explore several other business opportunities targeting the informal and unorganized sectors. These include e-commerce and fintech offerings. In the area of ​​e-commerce, the tech giant’s main focus has been to bring small businesses in towns, cities to Tier III and beyond online.

“The past year has seen an inflection point in consumers not only moving online, but also in contact with brands digitally. Businesses – large and small alike – have used digital as a way to connect with their customers, this was also very visible in the increasing volumes of digital advertising. The digital marketing space has exploded during the pandemic, and we believe it will soon overtake other mainstream advertising channels. Social media commerce was also a focus as entrepreneurs across the country were able to take their existing businesses offline, ”Mohan said.

He added, “We have provided solutions for businesses, especially small businesses, to help them recover and grow. We have done this by facilitating financial support for them in the form of grants, free skills programs, and tools ranging from Facebook Live and IGTV to stories, messaging and, most recently, reels for spontaneous engagement with the consumer. With new technologies such as augmented reality now powering mobiles, today’s businesses are driving growth with communities and social being at the heart of the digital experience.

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Another strategic move in this space has been to acquire a minority stake in now unicorn social commerce startup Meesho, which primarily uses Facebook and its allied platforms to drive sales.

Facebook has also ventured into financial services through WhatsApp in partnership with leading financial companies.

Companies such as SBI General Insurance and HDFC Bank have used WhatsApp as a medium to offer health insurance products and pension products in sachet format, respectively, which use WhatsApp to bring their retirement offers to the informal sector. The micro-board product allows clients to save from 10-20 per day for their future.

“WhatsApp is an enabling platform that financial institutions and banks use to reach their financial products and offerings to serve the mass of the unbanked population across the country who are actively engaged on WhatsApp every day,” Mohan said. .

WhatsApp’s payment functionality has also gained traction, with the company intending to offer new features in much the same way. “With Payments on WhatsApp, we are focused on providing a seamless user experience that will help reduce the time and cost of transactions and help people send money quickly and securely,” he said. he adds.