Sunday, April 29, 2012

Online Local Marketplaces in Sri Lanka..

Thought to write a blog post after few weeks.. Hmm.. A month may be.. This time it is about Facebook and the little little shops (chooti chooti kada) in it.

Recently I came across about hundreds of groups and Facebook pages (open groups mostly) on Facebook which are there to sell and exchange new and used goods like mobile phones, electronic items etc. I noticed that those groups are administrated by few individuals and there about thousands of members posting their goods for sale or exchange.

They are doing it quite very well when compared to the physical marketplaces that we visit daily. They don't know each other at all most of the time. What they all do is this:

1. Joining to a group (like Sri Lanka Shop, Faceshop)
2. Uploading a picture of the item (Mostly the original item or a picture from an online source sometimes)
3. Description of the item (Specification, Usage, Defects, warranty etc..)
4. Expected Price or the expected goods to be exchanged
5. Contact details (Phone number or asking to drop a message)
6. And Hit 'Post' finally..

Then begins the bargain. This is the best part I have seen. People come to the discussion and comment below it asking many questions. Some people say price is too high and shows evidence by posting some links grabbed from ebay or similar source. Same time, few people argue that price is fine but the delivery is the issue. And some may put few review article about the device. And discussion goes on. So many buyers are there and what seller waste is only few minutes online. Then one person calls to the seller and doing the sale.

Also there are some closed groups which are like the proprietary trading shops where there is only one seller and rest of the people are customers. And some people use Facebook pages as their online shop. Some may use the both closed groups and Facebook pages. Most of them do not have physical shops at a town or somewhere but they do deliver the goods within a certain area for free of charge. I have seen some success cases like that and I have even bought few goods from them. I will write a separate post about it later.

I have seen this happening only in the cities like Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Kurunegala and some other major cities. It would be great if there are groups or Facebook pages serving this purpose for the people in rural areas who are already using social media. Personally I have witnessed that most of the youth in rural areas are now on Facebook and what they only need is guidance on how to do these and use effectively for their wealth.

I believe that the Social Media Networks are the greatest tool that the rural entrepreneurs can utilize to explore new market and increase their income.

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