In the West, Facebook is just one of a number of social networks that are competing to grab more and more of their users’ attention spans. However, Facebook still has something of a social monopoly in many Southeast Asian countries, and that’s what could help it finally put social commerce over the top.
Anonymous sources have informed TechCrunch that Facebook is testing out social commerce payment methods for users in Thailand. The platform, which is rumored to be powered by FinTech firm 2C2P, would allow Facebook users to pay with credit or debit cards or bank transfers without leaving the site. If social commerce payments were ever going to take off, Southeast Asian countries like Thailand might be the place, if only because small retailers can reportedly drive as much as $500 million in sales through social channels alone.
However, getting social commerce payments in Thailand up and running is far from a turnkey operation. TechCrunch explained that, since many consumers, even middle-class ones, don’t yet have digital banking accounts, paying for products from home is a moot point. Instead, many go to remote ATMs to wire funds directly to sellers they want to buy from, and changing this behavior could prove more challenging than simply claiming to have the more convenient option.
Regardless of the obstacles, though, social media eCommerce site Page365’s founder, Prathan Thananart, told TechCrunch that the potential audience is too big for Facebook to pass up.
“One finding that is consistent across all our merchants, aside from customers engaging in chat-and-haggle buying behavior, is where those conversions happen,” Thananart said. “Merchants report that 80 percent of transactions are carried out across two or more platforms — most notable, Facebook and Line.”