October 19, 2016
By Katie Patierno
Facebook is tapping into millions of people that visit “buy and sell” groups on Facebook each month with their new platform, Facebook Marketplace. This Marketplace, which now makes such groups obsolete, allows Facebook users to buy and sell new and used items with one another.
Facebook - who is now a direct competitor of Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, LetGo, and OfferUp - are trying to get their users to spend more time on their app. The more time users spend, the more opportunities Facebook has to serve ads. Users are already spending an average of 40 minutes per day on the social media network, and any increase to this could lead to millions in ad revenue.
What You Need to Know About Marketplace
In order to be able to use the Marketplace, you must at least be 18 years old and reside in either the US, UK, Australia, or New Zealand. Facebook promises to launch in more countries in the coming months.
Photo Courtesy of Facebook
When you pull up the Marketplace, a list of items that users within your current location have posted will appear. You can go in and manually change the location as well as filter the items based on product category and price. Users can list a wide variety of items on the Marketplace including apparel, furniture, electronics, and automobiles. When posting an item to the Marketplace, you can include pictures or video clips to attract people interested in your product.
Photo Courtesy of Facebook
If you’d like to find out more about an item, tapping on the image displays a description of the product, the product's general location, and the name and profile photo of the seller. If you have any questions for the seller, they can be easily asked through Facebook Messenger.
How to Purchase and Pickup an Item
Through the Marketplace, Facebook will not facilitate any payments or delivery, so users will have to coordinate both themselves through the Messenger. On apps like LetGo or OfferUp, the buyer and the seller typically coordinate via text on a final price, the payment method, and a mutual location to meet to exchange the payment and the product. In terms of payment methods, most sellers prefer cash, though some will accept money via PayPal or Venmo, which are popular money transferring apps. For sellers, the fact that Facebook is not handling payments is a huge plus as they will not take a percentage from the transaction, like eBay.
What is The Marketplace Missing?
As of this writing, the Marketplace is lacking a rating system for buyers and sellers. On eBay and Amazon, similar rating systems help weed-out potential fraudulent activity. Additionally, Facebook Marketplace is missing a desktop presence.
What Does The Marketplace Mean for Marketers and Retailers?
Since payments are not processed by Facebook, this will restrict retailers from entering this space. However, many of the goods bought and sold on this new platform will be second-hand or used, so its direct impact to retailers should be relatively small. For advertisers, the Marketplace does not display any ads. However, it will not be a surprise if Facebook allows advertising in the near future, giving marketers the ability to target users through their location and what they are searching for. Facebook has indicated in the past that they wanted to get into the Search Marketing game, and this could be a great introduction.