Apparently, the biggest social media network in the world is now taking on Craigslist and eBay. Just this week, Facebook has introduced Marketplace, a brand new section in its mobile app that allows users to offer basically anything for sale, preferably to other Facebook users in the vicinity. Strictly speaking, a number of popular buy and sell groups already exist in Facebook, but Marketplace distinguishes itself because Facebook users can participate in it without having to get approval.
Facebook’s plan is to have Marketplace’s tab clearly displayed on the bottom part of its Android and iOS mobile apps, specifically in mobile markets that include the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. In the near future, more countries should be included in the roll out, and Facebook will also be launching a desktop version of Marketplace.
It appears that the social media giant is not planning to enjoy a cut from all sales closed via Marketplace or serve ads on Marketplace listings. Facebook may not be earning revenues directly from the launch of Marketplace (for now), but the company could leverage this new feature as a means to continue luring users back to Facebook, and keep maintaining optimum user engagement. Sure, the company already has some 1.7 billion users, but if it can find a way to improve on that, it certainly will not hurt.
In more ways than one, Marketplace was a natural progression from the already bustling buy and sell groups existing in Facebook. According to the social media giant, over 450 million users visit buy and sell groups each month, so it is no surprise that the company is giving in and providing a specialized venue where Facebook users can properly create listings for stuff they want to sell, and also be able to browse other listings created by other people.
And in terms of competition, Facebook now has to compete with Craigslist and eBay, as well as new names like Letgo and OfferUp. Facebook, however, has something up its sleeve, an already existing huge customer base, which allows it to more than hold its own, even against established entities like Craigslist and eBay.
Also, because those who go into Marketplace come with their Facebook profile credentials, it may be able to offer better protection than Craigslist. When it comes to transactions themselves, Facebook is deciding to let the users make the call, especially with regards to the pricing, the payment method, or the pickup location. To help minimize abusers, Facebook does have reporting tools that can be used to flag questionable things for or bad sellers. Also, it has offered commerce policies that do not allow the sale of animals, firearms, or liquor.
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