Semantic Touch, Thailand's leading online marketing firm, has launched a free webstore to allow small and medium-sized enterprises to run their online stores on Facebook with ease.
A screenshot of a BentoWeb store on the Facebook social networking site.
General manager Nutthaseth Sirinanthananon said the company spent six months developing BentoWeb (www.bentoweb.com), which enables merchants to sell their products on the country's most popular social media site.
The software programme also allows merchants to manage orders automatically and to make payments, he added.
The number of Facebook users in Thailand has reached 17.8 million out of 24 million internet users. About 12.8 million Facebook users are in Bangkok, aged 18-30.
"This figure presents huge growth potential for online merchants," said Mr Nutthaseth.
Semantic provides free online services for merchants selling their first five products. The company charges 450-600 baht per month if the number of products exceeds the quota.
Mr Nutthaseth said the company has 8,000 online merchants selling mainly cosmetics and clothing. "We aim to have 20,000 merchants by the end of this year," he said, adding that Facebook has 400,000 fan pages, of which 100,000 sell products.
A survey showed consumers are tending to use multi-screen or multiple devices for shopping by viewing product details via smartphones (65%), desktop computers (61%) and tablets (4%).
Mr Nutthaseth said Semantic plans to introduce an online marketplace called BentoSquare (www.bentosquare.com) with a mobile application in June.
Semantic uses Microsoft's Azure system, a cloud-based service, enabling the company to use the IT system on demand and pay per use. The company pays a few thousand baht per month to Microsoft.
Ekaraj Kongwangwongsa, business development manager of Microsoft (Thailand), said the company aims at encouraging new tech start-up companies to use its Azure service. It expects to have 100 customers this year.
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