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Facebook launches Marketplace, a hyperlocal platform to buy and sell in communities

Harshith Mallya
4th Oct 2016
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Facebook on Monday announced the launch of 'Marketplace', a feature within the Facebook app to let users buy and sell within their local community. While Facebook, in its essence, is a social network to connect with people, the company noted that in recent years, more people have been using Facebook- specifically Groups- to connect in another way: buying and selling with each other. Facebook estimates that more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighbourhood to collectors around the world.

yourstory-marketplace

Marketplace

To help people make more out of these connections, Facebook is introducing Marketplace, a destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in a community. The release noted,

Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and to find a new home for the things you’re ready to part with. We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.To visit Marketplace, just tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app.

Working on the hyperlocal level, users will see photos of items and browse through what’s available in categories such as household, electronics and apparel that people near them have listed for sale. To find something specific, users can use the search bar at the top and filter results by location, category or price.

On finding something interesting, users can tap on the image to see more details, including a product description, the name and profile photo of the seller, and their general location. Another option is to save the item to view later. Once the user has made a decision, they can send the seller a direct message and negotiate on the price. Facebook noted that it currently doesn't facilitate payments or the delivery of items in Marketplace.

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Post an item for sale

To sell a product, users need to upload a photo, and enter the product name, description and their desired price. Users then need to confirm their location and select a product category before they can go to the final step of posting the product for sale. Facebook notes,

Anyone looking in your area can find your item and message you if they want to buy it. You can also choose to post to Marketplace and a specific buy and sell group at the same time.

Users can also keep track of all their transactions through the 'Your Items' section and view saved items, products they’ve posted for sale, and all their messages with people.

Implications?

With this move, Facebook is officially making its move into the listings space for a few product categories. The current market leaders in this space are Craigslist in the US, Mercari in Japan, and Olx and Quikr in India. Then there are smaller players in India such as Kae Capital-backed ListUpFxchng and niche players for fashion like Elanic and Spoyl. Facebook, though, is not launching Marketplace globally yet. It states,

Over the next few days, Marketplace will be rolling out to everyone over 18 years old in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand on the Facebook app for iPhone and Android. We will continue expanding to additional countries and make Marketplace available on the desktop version of Facebook in the coming months.

When Facebook does launch Marketplace in India, it will be interesting to see if it will be able to make a dent in the market-share of the current market leaders and niche players in the space. Another interesting point to track is if Facebook will introduce payments, which is currently available on Messenger, into Marketplace in the near future.

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