Social media sites are not just about socialising. For those who want to have stores on Facebook _ not just a showroom, but a shopping cart where buyers have convenient choices of payment _ the new BentoWeb should fit your needs.
Of the three million small- and medium-enterprises in Thailand, more than 9,000 have e-commerce registration. Many of these e-starters find managing an e-commerce website can be difficult and painful. Many of them therefore turn to social media, Facebook in particular, even though the platform was not designed especially for e-commerce.
E-commerce solution BentoWeb was designed to serve entrepreneurs and individuals who want to sell their products online.
BentoWeb was created to help e-vendors monetise on social media platforms in a multi-screen environment. It is an instant shopping system for every digital touchpoint.
The web prepares the shops for the vendor on a personal computer, smartphone, tablet and Facebook page.
The system is very simple. The vendor will be given a store URL _ for example, pojimojimall.bentoweb.com _ then they put the link under the product picture and their storefront can adapt itself to any device: personal computer, smartphone or tablet.
The format will automatically fit in with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.
"No matter what kind of devices their customers are using, the shopping experience will always be optimised," said Nutthaseth Sirinanthananon, manager of Semantic Touch which developed BentoWeb.
He pointed out that in today's environment, customers need complete information before purchasing, and buying on Facebook is impulsive, but no one wants to give an address on Facebook.
A lot of products today are presented on social networks, but the vendors cannot sell their products or close the deal on Facebook because the program was not designed for e-commerce.
E-vendors need to catch up with changing consumer behaviour. The function of online marketing encompasses acquisition, engagement and monetisation.
Customers can view the products and the purchasing order can be done in less than a minute. Vendors can view invoice status, verification and delivery. Once their customers place the order, the system will issue the orders and inform the process of payment, the method of payment and issue the receipt to the merchants and their customers. In order to decrease chances of error, the system allows instant printing of mailing labels.
"This is the tool that fulfills online marketing functions and it's the mode that enables a great deal of local SMEs to simply have their presence in the world of e-commerce," said Nutthaseth.
So far, there are around 10,000 vendors using the freemium BentoWeb while some 300 have applied for the monthly paid versions (450-600 baht per month).
Over the next few weeks, store owners can manage their stores on-the-go with the BentoWeb mobile app, on both iOS and Android platforms. Vendors will be able to manage their back office on their smartphone, print, update stock and price items. The system runs as mobile optimisation, so everything can end up on a mobile device.
In addition, a loyalty scheme is essential for the survival of online retailers, so they need to offer redemption points in order to ensure customers keep coming back.
In a bid to introduce BentoWeb nationwide, the developer has partnered with Siam Commercial Bank and Counter Service to allow customers to pay at 7-Eleven stores. In the meantime, it is developing the BentoWeb Point of Sale system that integrates with credit card payment and cashier registration, bridging offline and online transactions.
Thai online vendors offer a great deal of good products, but lack branding and good packaging. BentoWeb can serve as a tool to promote Thai products, locally and internationally. Currently, there are more than 50,000 product items available on BentoWeb, from fashion and cosmetics to gadgets and electronics to books and stationery, and the company is now working on Bento Square, a "mall" of Thai shops.
BentoWeb offers a rating system to allow customers to assess shops. A-rated shops will be selected for the overseas market as BentoWeb plans to expand within Asia, starting with Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.