Facebook launches Marketplace a friendlier Craigslist
Facebook’s “buy and sell” Groups are already visited by 450 million people each month, and the firm is now introducing a full page in its app just to peer-to-peer buying.
With Facebook Marketplace, you can easily advertise your own items for sale while browsing a stream of neighbouring residents’ relevant offers. You can bargain or set up a meet-up owing to integration with Facebook Messenger, and because to Facebook profiles, you know more about the person you’re dealing with than on anonymous websites like Craigslist.
Marketplace is beginning today on mobile in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand; if it proves successful, it may expand internationally and online. Unfortunately, there isn’t a two-way rating system, which helps deter fraud and unruly conduct. Aside from making ad-hoc payments via Messenger, there are no native checkout options for transactions, which is unpleasant but encourages in-person exchanges rather than fraudulent shipping.
According to Marketplace product manager Bowen Pan, “I believe the popularity of Craigslist proves there’s a tremendous demand for a local commerce platform.”
Facebook may someday make money from advertising if it enabled companies or individuals to purchase News Feed advertisements or sponsored placement for the things they’re selling, even if Pages aren’t now permitted on Marketplace. According to Pan, “We’ll look at introducing companies if it makes sense when we’re certain we’ve put up a wonderful product experience for consumers, and after that we’ll look at how we may possibly monetize the surface.”
Given that Marketplace has taken up a prominent position in the navigation tab bar and has replaced the Messenger shortcut in Facebook for iOS, Facebook is making a huge bet on the app. Due to its prominent placement, Marketplace may become the digital equivalent of checkout counter impulsive purchases.
Facebook is still on a never-ending mission to consume the internet, developing its own versions of every popular online activities in an effort to capture their user engagement and financial potential. It can make more money indirectly through ads the more of the commerce experience it owns. A shopping tab for purchases from conventional shops is also being developed.
For over ten years, Facebook has been battling to dominate small business. It originally experimented with a “Marketplace” for classified ads concerning items for sale, housing, employment, and other things in 2007. However, Marketplace never really took off, and in 2009 Facebook gave ownership of it to Oodle, the online storefront it was based on. In 2014, it was shut down.
Then, this year, Facebook launched a specific “For Sale” post feature for Groups, which almost a quarter of its 1.71 billion monthly users now use. Facebook started testing a “Local Market” feature in October 2015 that would later develop into the Marketplace that is now live.
Three key characteristics of Facebook Marketplace include:
The Browse to Buy
Marketplace launches with a filtered feed of available products from your neighbourhood. The listings you view are ranked based on relevance thanks to tags users submit to their listings, Facebook’s text analysis AI, your favourite Pages, and the items you explore on Marketplace. Pre-written messages such as “What condition is this item in?” and “Is this item still available?” simplify the bargaining process.
Sell Your Things
You may quickly take a picture of your item, give a description, select a price, and post your listing without having to create a new profile.
Check Your Environment
You may search for a certain item and filter the results by location, category, price, or using a map in addition to exploring specific categories like Household or Electronics. If you discover anything you want, you will see the seller’s general location rather than their precise address unless they specifically provide it to you.
Even if you are unsure of what you want, we will still display it to you, said Pan.
Because it is the lowest common denominator in trade, Craigslist has prospered in the US. It was versatile, dead simple, and introduced far earlier than many competitors. Despite its lack of functionality, it has a remarkable inertia, with both buyers and sellers pulling back to it since it aggregates the greatest supply and demand.
Specialty sites, however, have lately been successful in unbundling several Craigslist services. For instance, ratings, dates, and built-in payment helped Airbnb beat Craigslist to the short-term rental market. StubHub can grab ticket resales because to its seating diagrams and filtering features.
Due of these three factors, Facebook may have the greatest chance of unseating Craigslist as the primary platform for peer-to-peer selling.
Beyond what they state in their ad and your direct conversation, you don’t know anything about the buyer or seller you meet on Craigslist. In contrast, Facebook profiles reveal a lot.
You may very much be certain of someone’s identity if they have a lot of friends and a complete profile since it’s difficult for fraudsters to create large numbers of friends on phoney accounts. If you have that information—or don’t—you may decide if it would be unsafe to meet them in person. Additionally, there is greater responsibility, and individuals act better if they know you may report them to the police, find them at work, or humiliate them online.
The most glaringly absent feature in Marketplace is a system by which buyers and sellers can rate one another and make comments about each other, such as that the item was in worse condition than described, the seller tried to raise the price at the last minute, or the buyer arrived late or flaked out.
Typically, people only use Craigslist when they have a particular need. Yet we currently use Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram for around 50 minutes each day. Instead than being hidden under the More tab like many features, Marketplace will be accessible with only one touch inside of Facebook.
It’s like putting up a farmer’s market in the middle of town by integrating the Marketplace into the places where we currently spend our time. Users could glance into Marketplace out of boredom. Due to Messenger’s widespread use, buyers and sellers can easily communicate without disclosing their phone numbers. It’s possible that a rival commerce platform would still need to use Facebook for communication. You may do business whatever you like and never pay extra thanks to Facebook’s lack of fees as well.
Many p2p commerce sites, like Craigslist, are overly concerned with packing a tonne of text listings into a page. Some aren’t enjoyable to view since they were created for the web in an age before everyone had a camera at hand. And without knowledge about your behaviour and interests, they have no idea what you like. On top of images, the marketplace was created with mobile users in mind and is relevance-sorted for quick and enjoyable browsing.
These characteristics promote aimless browsing. You can come across steep reductions that you wouldn’t find at conventional stores since the seller just wants to get rid of the item. As a result, utilizing Marketplace is similar to going on a treasure hunt at flea markets or yard sales, where you never know what you’ll find. During testing, the top categories were found to include cheap home items, autos, and apparel.
OfferUp, LetGo, Wallapop, Close5, and other firms coveting Craig’s territory will have to fight with Marketplace. Facebook will have to simultaneously increase supply and demand, which presents a little chicken-and-egg dilemma. Fortunately, users don’t need to download a separate app to participate, and Facebook strategically placed Marketplace right in the middle of its app so that it would be visible.
The current concerns are whether Facebook will give Marketplace the marketing it needs to grow and if it can maintain the experience’s security. The advantages of having a peer-verified profile behind every buyer and seller are summarised by Pan as, “On Facebook individuals genuinely reflect their true selves.”
Facebook will take action, from deleting an item listing to completely banning someone from the function, according to Pan, if it discovers users abusing their fellow Marketplacers. Selling firearms, adult services, or other illicit items is prohibited, for instance.
However, Facebook declines to accept liability for any fraud or other problems encountered during the transaction. This explains in part why you can’t simply pay for products straight away as on an e-commerce website or platform like eBay. You will need to contact the police if someone robs you when you visit their home to purchase a sofa or if you submit cash for a camera that never arrives. Pan continues, “We regard our position as basically connecting consumers and vendors.
Facebook has the opportunity to make purchasing more spontaneous, much like it did with video consumption. Unlike YouTube, you don’t go to Facebook to watch videos on purpose, but you wind up doing so since the feed automatically included them. Now that casual design may be sold in stores.
“We discovered that the majority of individuals just like browsing. They don’t have anything in particular in mind. They are just browsing the stream to see if there is anything that can catch their attention, says Pan. “It resembles certain aspects of offline purchasing, such as travelling to a mall or a Sunday market. Even if you may not be certain what you want, you’re willing to look.