Facebook’s new Marketplace feature is a bold new step in e-commerce, bringing the peer-to-peer trade model popularized by Craigslist and eBay to the world’s #1 social media platform. Facebook has long been a place where we all go to connect and communicate with one another and, in recent years, folks have been using the social network’s Groups feature to create local Buy-Sell-Trade networks for exchanging old stuff. It’s the yard sale for the digital age.
Facebook Rolls Out its New Marketplace
Over the next few days, Facebook will be rolling out this new Marketplace feature on their smartphone app. It will initially be available in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. When you open your Facebook app, you’ll see a ‘Shop’ icon at the bottom. Opening this new Marketplace section will show you a random smattering of items that people in your local area are offering up for sale or trade. If you don’t like what you see, or have something specific in mind, you can search by category or type into the search box. You can also change your geographic region for searching other locations.
We’ve been hearing buzz from Facebook about their goals to take on Craigslist and eBay for a while now and this appears to be the first of their efforts. Given that over 450 million people were already using buy-sell-trade groups on Facebook worldwide, this feature simply makes it easier for them to do so.
How Facebook’s New Marketplace Works
Similar to how people can post an item for sale on Craigslist and then entertain the responses that come in, selling on Facebook’s new Marketplace is simple and user-friendly. You open a new item, select a photo from your phone’s camera roll, and add a description of the item. Set your price and location (which is generalized to your town to avoid giving away your exact address or GPS location), and you’ve posted your item for sale.
As a buyer, if you see something you like, you’ll have the option to either Make an Offer or Message the Seller. Either way you’re opening up a barter dialogue with whoever is selling the item, and it’s up to them to decide whether or not to make the deal with you. Facebook does not facilitate the exchange of any money at this time. They don’t even connect it with Messenger’s payment gateway. We imagine they’ll springboard into a more robust ecommerce solution in the future, but for now, they’re interested in connecting people on their own terms, and that’s just alright with us.
Over time you might use this feature quite a bit. Fortunately, you can view all your past posted products, saved items, and messages with people. While the service is specifically for products right now, it’s possible that it will become a platform for people offering their services as well in months to come. For now, it’s up to us (the Facebook community) to use the feature and test it out.
The Possibilities are Endless!
Looking for some extra cash? Need a little side hustle? With tools like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook’s new Marketplace, you can go rummage through some junk sales in your area and post what you find online for sale. For anyone looking to use the tools of the Internet to trade or make a small profit, it’s never too late to dig in.
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