Facebook’s E-Commerce ‘Marketplace’ Expansion

Facebook clearly does not wish to miss out on the ever growing and expanding e-commerce world hence why they came up with Marketplace. Currently in the U.S, smart phone purchases account for a quarter of digital sales. Smartphone shopping is slowly becoming a major consumer favorite.

Facebook’s mobile-only buy-and-sell tab, was launched in October in the U.S and has since expended to six other countries: Australia, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Chile and Mexico. In addition, Facebook also is also expending its reach to Europe as well. 17 countries in Europe such as France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and more will be the few who will able to use the Facebook ‘Marketplace’ service. Facebook has yet to announce how many people are currently using Marketplace each month. But, they did share that 18 million items are being posted on to Marketplace in U.S alone in the month of May and that the amount only continues to grow. According to Forbes, about 550 million people visit “buy and sell” Facebook groups every month. This is exactly why Marketplace is a great opportunity for Facebook to expand its e-commerce reach.

Facebook’s Marketplace competitors are major marketplace platforms such as eBay and Craigslist. If you were to compare eBay to Marketplace, eBay is currently available in more than 30 countries around the world and has 171 million users on the side in the past quarter. Also in the month of February itself, 55 million people have gone on to the Craigslist page, according to ComScore. According to research by AIM Group, in 2016¬†Craigslist generated more than $690 million in revenue. As you can see, there is no slowing down the e-commerce sector. In addition, according to a forecasting firm eMarketer, the mobile e-commerce sector is estimated to exceed $100 billion this year in the U.S itself. eMarketer also forecasted¬†that in 2021 the smartphone e-commerce sector will generate more than $33 billion and 80.5% of the e-commerce purchases will be made on mobile devices. ¬†Facebook believes that its identity data on the main Facebook app that connects friends of friends who live near by will set Marketplace apart from its competitors.

In an interview with the Vice President of Marketplace Deborah Liu, she said that Marketplace is a people based commerce where you will be able to see mutual friends, which is what sets Facebook Marketplace apart from the other e-commerce platforms.

Facebook will connect sellers to its buyers and buyers to its sellers through Facebook chat, which also supports payments, sharing of ones location and sending a voice or video clip. Additionally, Marketplace makes it possible for its users to browse for times or create a ‘for sale’ post on the go with ease.

For the safety of users and the prevention of offensive items for sale, Facebook has an artificial intelligence tool that can scan each and every post that is shared onto Marketplace. Users flagging a post can also trigger a manual review. Ever since the launch of Marketplace, Facebook has been working hard on improving its search, safety and product categories in tab. According to Marketplace’s Vice President, the most popular items sold on Facebook Marketplace are household goods, fashion, kids products and furniture. The Facebook platform, has recently added standalone categories such as, jobs and tickets to help businesses look for employees.

Facebook has plans to expanding its category option by adding more and also improving item suggestions over time. Marketplace is a one stop shop where you can find all sorts of things to fit your fancy. Whether it be a job, clothing or a kettle for your kitchen Facebook Marketplace is where you’ll find everything.

The inspiration for the creation of Marketplace came from observing the significant number of Facebook users who were using the platform to buy and sell products in groups based on their interests and geography. Marketplace is currently free for both buyers and sellers to use.