Facebook have recently introduced a new feature - Facebook Marketplace - to their mobile app, in a move to compete with listing sites such as Craigslist.
The feature allows users to buy and sell the likes of - well, almost anything actually - within 100km of their location.
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What is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace is a new feature on the Facebook mobile app that allows users to list items or services up for sale to people in their area.
Users can browse listings in their area - from 1km away to 100km - and once they see something they like, are presented with the options ‘make offer’ and ‘message seller’.
Although it’s possible to make an offer on the product, Facebook haven’t built in an e-commerce function (yet…)
It’s also possible to browse by price, while the categories section gives an indication of the wide offering and who the product could cater for in the future. From craft sellers to tradesmen, the feature could be a hit for small business owners right across the board.
Why did Facebook introduce Marketplace?
To put it simply - demand. Over 450 million people currently use ‘buy and sell’ groups on Facebook, and since they do so well the social media giant decided to strike while the iron was hot.
With the proven popularity of websites such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is catering for a very apparent market, but with an added benefit. With each listing linked to a genuine profile, buyers (and sellers) can check out the people they’ll be doing potential deals with, adding an element of trust that can sometimes be missing on other listing sites.
How to use Facebook Marketplace
Using Facebook marketplace can essentially be broken down into two distinct journeys: buying and selling.
How to sell on Facebook Marketplace
Honestly, it couldn’t be simpler. Open the Marketplace tab and click on the ‘sell’ camera icon.
This takes you to your camera roll, where you can upload an existing picture or take a new one. Once you’ve captured your item and uploaded it, you’ll need to add a product name, description, category and price. You’ll also need to confirm your location so that Facebook can show your product to appropriate audiences.
Keep an eye on your notifications for messages or bids, and once you’ve reached an agreement you’ll need to figure out how to take payment as Facebook lacks an in-built e-commerce solution (expect that to change in the future). PayPal could well be the easiest, and safest solution.
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How to buy things on Facebook Marketplace
Well, firstly, decide how you want to search. If you’ve got a particular item or type of product in mind, you can use the categories function to narrow down the search.
If, however, you’re simply browsing, then all you need to do is open the feature and start scrolling, possibly adjusting your distance slider depending on your preferences.
When you see something you’d like to buy, tap on the image and you’ll see the description and the location of the seller. You can also check out the lister’s profile if you’re feeling sceptical.
You’ll then be presented with two options - ‘make offer’ and ‘message seller’, which are fairly self-explanatory.
Will Facebook Marketplace take off?
Frankly, it’s tough to say. But what we do know is that Facebook are putting a lot into their latest venture. They moved their Messenger icon from the middle of the app’s navigation bar to accommodate Marketplace, indicating it’s something of a priority for the social network giant.
Facebook Marketplace also has some distinct advantages over competitors like Craigslist:
1. There’s a greater level of trust between buyer and seller. You can check out their Facebook profile and understand a bit about the person you’re dealing with beforehand.
2. It’s super convenient, and super prominent. With billions of users engaging with Facebook on a daily (well, probably hourly) basis, Marketplace is disturbingly familiar already, despite it being a recent addition. It could become the king of spontaneous purchases.
3. It looks good, and it’s easy to use. Something you can’t say for all listing sites. The interface is typically minimal, it’s intuitively easy to get started, and most people are already ‘signed up’ before even clicking on it.
Have you used Facebook Marketplace? Tell us about your experiences below.