So what is Facebook Marketplace? Quite simply, it’s a new feature coming soon to Facebook allowing users to buy and sell items in a similar fashion to Ebay.
The idea started as a simple concept; people would create groups for localised areas, where those that resided in the area would be free to post items they wished to sell. However the buying of the product, the delivery and transactions were all manually dealt with between the seller and their customer.
This, on the whole, will not change. Facebook are simply making the marketplace side of Facebook more official, by designating sections of its website to retail. Indeed, ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘Using Marketplace is as easy as using any other element of Facebook; buyers and sellers can work out the details of a sale in any way they choose. Facebook does not facilitate the payment or delivery of items in Marketplace, it’s up to users to sort out the details. What will give Marketplace such an advantage over sites such as Gumtree is the sheer number of existing users who feel entirely confident in the Facebook environment.’
And David is correct in this sense; in the UK alone there are 30 million registered Facebook accounts, and with the social media platform so well-known and so readily available, the potential for Facebook to take over the industry is astounding.
Even without the Marketplace officially launching, more than 450 million users visit buy and sell groups on Facebook every month. It appears as though Marketplace will allow an official platform for trading, and could boost not only localised e-commerce, but also the courier industry as well.
David continues to mention how the Marketplace may transform not only personal sales, but also professional sellers: ‘Initially Marketplace will just be a ‘classifieds’ type space for ordinary people finding new homes for items; but professional sellers would be foolhardy to ignore access to this huge audience for their products. Whether it’s by the front door or the back door professional traders running eBay and Amazon shops will be looking to sell on the site.’
With users having to handle the shipment and delivery of items themselves, we could be seeing a large growth in personal couriers, especially with the emergence of Uber RUSH, which lets anyone become a courier.
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