To coincide with the 2nd anniversary of the launch of the Facebook Marketplace, the social network has announced a raft of changes and developments to the functions that should make it a safer, easier and more effective place to buy and sell. Some of the new features are based on artificial intelligence (AI) advances.
One new feature relates to successfully pricing items on the marketplace. Say that you wanted to sell a table. Facebook Marketplace could use AI to help you sell successfully by suggesting how you price between parameters based on what similar items have sold for recently.
Other new improvements include a ratings system for buyers and sellers where feedback can be left, new reporting tools to help sellers trade more effectively and new systems to detect dodgy adverts and inappropriate content.
Facebook Marketplace was introduced in 2016 as a place for people to buy and sell within their local communities. It has grown to be a place where people around the world can discover things they love, connect with people locally, launch a business, and earn a living. Today, more than one in three people on Facebook in the US use Marketplace every month for everything from new shoes to baby gear to cars and apartment.
– Deborah Liu, VP, Marketplace
The information about how widely the Facebook Marketplace feature is utilised is certainly impressive and shows the dramatic scale it has achieved. And these developments and investment also demonstrate an ongoing commitment to it. But some doubt remains regarding what Facebook’s long-term plan is for the marketplace and specifically whether they will develop it more fully for professional merchants.
As it stands currently, Facebook doesn’t charge users for posting an ad on the marketplace and it will be interesting to see if that changes at some point. Despite the fact Facebook is well placed to challenge the likes of eBay in the ecommerce stakes, it’s not universally agreed that such a move would be desirable. There is a trustworthy, community and homespun local attraction to the Facebook Marketplace that is surely its secret sauce. And it would be a terrible shame if that was damaged.