As Facebook Deals South Africa goes live, it is being touted as the “biggest launch in emerging markets in the next year”. Those are the words of South African marketing company Habari Media’s commercial channel manager, Michael Krynauw.
Facebook has teamed up with Habari for the launch of Facebook Deals South Africa. Krynauw says some 350 000 South Africans currently using Facebook Places, the service through which users will check in to the stores of participating merchants, will now be able to make use of the location-based deals service.
When questioned on the validity of these stats, Krynauw states that they come directly from the internal pool at Facebook’s London office and are sourced from information gained through the application news feed.
Addressing concerns about how certain merchants could be that customers were actually checking into their stores, Krynauw spoke about the fact that the merchants will be able to create a geographically precise destination for their Facebook Place using Microsoft’s Bing Maps.
The tie-in, a result of Microsoft’s acquisition of major stakes in Facebook means that the user’s location will have to match that of the store in order for them to check in.
Krynauw is confident that the service will be a success in South Africa after the roll-out of the product in the United States and the United Kingdom.
He cites, in particular, a case study in which Mazda UK sold 100 cars in two weeks using Facebook Deals.
Upon checking in to Mazda dealership, customers would be offered a 20 percent discount on a particular Mazda model.
They would then have to show the offer to a salesperson at the dealership and would immediately be given the discount.
Krynauw cautions, however, that the South African market is “more of a long term strategy for Facebook Deals”.
Facebook believes that, as the service rolls out, it will have continuing benefits for itself, consumers and the commercial partners.
“It’s totally going to give a lift on Facebook” says Krynauw, adding in reference to the commercial partners, that the service will “increase foot traffic in the store”.
Unlike the initial Facebook Deals projects in the US, Facebook Deals South Africa, will be rolled out on a nation-wide basis from the start.
The commercial deals part of the project will be rolled out in three month pilot phases running from September to November and December to February 2012.
Facebook Deals South Africa’s first two major commercial partners are cellular operator Cell C and motoring giant, General Motors.
These partners will be offering several kinds of deal between September and November.
The service will offer four types of deal to commercial merchants: