October 4, 2016
Facebook says that there are already 450 million people visiting ‘buy and sell’ groups on Facebook each month. So it’s no wonder that they’ve just launched a new feature called Facebook Marketplace.
Facebook Marketplace allows people nearby to view what others are buying and selling. This new feature puts Facebook in direct competition with popular online selling platforms such as Craigslist, Gumtree and eBay. The effects of this are already being felt; eBay’s shares fell by more than 1% the day Facebook Marketplace was announced.
An update to the app will introduce the Marketplace tab, which will be positioned where the messenger icon is currently – perhaps indicating how confident Facebook is in the new feature’s adoption.
The feature also uses Facebook’s algorithms to attempt to predict what users might be interested in. The information is currently based on liked pages, but eventually will use people’s activity within the Marketplace itself. This is probably because Facebook intends users to visit the Marketplace to browse rather than to search for something specific.
This new feature might also have something to do with Whatsapp’s change in policy when it comes to using users’ data. It’s very possible that Facebook will start using this newly acquired Whatsapp data to figure out what you want to buy!
For the moment, Facebook will not be involved in the payment process and will not charge for putting items up for sale. However, this is likely to change as Marketplace introduces the feature to businesses in the future.
Whether this feature will take down massive online selling platforms remains to be seen. But with people already using the platform to buy and sell products, and the Marketplace making that very convenient, I wouldn’t want to be eBay right now!