Facebook takes on eBay, Gumtree and Craigslist with Marketplace feature

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Facebook is making a serious bid into the ecommerce marketplace space with the launch of a new feature billed as ‘Marketplace’. Facebook has long been a forum where people have sold things to each other but this formalises and streamlines the process.

Facebook users will now be able to filter goods by location, category or price. Using a user’s location, Facebook will present nearby items. Buyers will be able to make arrangements to do a deal using the ubiquitous Messenger app. As far as I can see there will be no charge for the service.

It will be available to Facebook iPhone and Android app users over 18 in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand to start with. There are plans to bring it to more countries and desktop in “the coming months”.

Mary Ku, Facebook’s director of product management, says: “More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world. To help people make more of these connections, today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready part with. We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.”

It’s a bold move and they’re building on firm foundations because people already use Facebook to trade. The question really must be: “what took you so long?”

For the time being this is a really a steal on the classifieds space looking at Gumtree and Craigslist in particular and doesn’t have an immediate appeal for bigger professional sellers but it seems likely that more interesting developments are in the pipeline. Watch this space.

Here’s the promo video:

16 Responses

  1. There are lots of private local selling groups on Facebook but this could be a game changer with backing and promotion powers of Facebook behind this depending on the fee structure it might be the last nail in eBay’s monopoly on sales of used items.

    Less used sales on eBay will result in less cash in PayPal accounts for purchases from business sellers

  2. This could finish ebay off overnight. Seriously huge news if they make it commercial, easy to use and it gains popularity/momentum.

    Mainly if people can actually sell on it quickly and securely.

    My wife already uses facebook to sell baby clothes locally, its ridiculous, the mums group is so popular in our town you list something and someone turns up at the door with cash the same day!

    If you’ve tried facebook advertising you can see how easy it is to reach people. Yes, likes rarely transfer into sales unless you spend big but it shows you the potential reach.

    Very exciting for me as a small business seller, I feel totally closed out by ebay which is now dominated by large sellers (favoured by their search engine) and third party competitors advertising on the site – and on my listings grr.

  3. This could be the catalyst for Facebook to become the third proper online marketplace. There is huge potential for Facebook to make a serious amount of money by launching a true market place and charging per transaction, with the flip side being a huge amount of potential for us sellers to do the same.

    The uniqueness of Facebook would ensure tailored shopping for the individual users and the power of Facebook paid ads would really help drive sales on the platform to these consumers.

    I can see this as being a trial run before a larger scale operation is launched bringing in businesses to subscribe and reap the benefits of selling their goods on Facebook.

  4. Right now this is just another shpock type thing, it is no good for professional sellers, so eBay and Amazon can rest easy but they have just had a salvo fired right across their bows. eBay needs to wake up MORE than ever.
    However this will only be the beginning. We have our website attached to facebook. By far the biggest driver of traffic we get is from Facebook, it is also the best quality traffic people stay a bit more engaged, compare our bounce rates from the likes of Twitter.
    We really need something fresh in the UK to trade on and it looks like another US company will fill that spot. We have spent the last year getting our own presence online and really building our brand and we know this is only a matter of time. I am never even on my personal page on FB anymore it is all the business page.

  5. Seeing as ebay has turned into little more than a subscription scam recently with all the manipulation/hiding of listings that people are paying for to be seen, this could/hopefully be eBay’s richly deserved Karma.

    Funny I always thought google would eventually kill eBay off, maybe it will be FB

  6. I don’t do social media and have got a windows phone – what percentage of online shoppers cannot use this new marketplace for similar reasons ?
    I expect most younger people have a facebook account, but I’d be interested to know the figure for those who only use windows.
    When I first read this article, almost my first thoughts were concerning the problems sellers have on ebay, and how facebook intend to deal with scammers, Chinese sellers swamping the market and so on.

  7. Paypal, owned by Ebay, is still the easiest and “safest” way to take and send payments. I’m guessing facebook users will use Paypal

  8. The biggest threshhold for customers to cross is trust.

    You and I might not be sure about the wisdom of buying on selling on Facebook, as experienced traders, but millions trust the brand and that counts for a lot.

    Zuckerberg has been hunting for a way of making some actual money from Facebook for years and he may have finally found it.

    But if it just becomes a disorganised free-for-all, it will fall as quickly as it started.

  9. Does anyone think – Ebay will loose a lot of smaller traders -February 2017 with compulsory EAN numbers?

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