Facebook came up with an interesting statistic today: 450 million people visit buy-and-sell groups on the social network each month. Realizing how much potential there is in e-commerce, Facebook decided to launch Marketplace, which is a lot like eBay.
In the next few days, Facebook users from four countries (US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand) will be receiving the Marketplace update on both Android and iOS. Once installed, the new interface will feature a shopping icon you can tap to begin buying or selling.
Enter the Marketplace, and you’ll notice how everything is neatly laid out for you. It’s just a matter of typing what you want to buy in the search bar, and filtering the results by category, location, or price. Tap on an item, and you’ll be provided with the product’s details and the seller’s profile.
Selling through Facebook’s new service is just as simple: Take a photo of the item; enter the name, description, and price; and then confirm your location and the category before posting online. Really, it’s that easy.
What’s tough is keeping tabs on all your dealings, so Facebook includes a crafty “Your Items” section to view your saved items, products you’re selling, and messages with people.
One major selling point of Facebook’s solution is that sellers must use their legitimate profile to begin transacting. The social network is known to be very stern when it comes to people using their real names, and we can now see why. Buying from mysterious sellers has always been a deterrent for consumers wanting to shop through sites like Craigslist or eBay.
Another advantage over the aforementioned competitors is how Facebook won’t be taking any cuts from transactions between users. This means you’ll be raking in the full amount you ask for. This is to be expected, however, since Facebook doesn’t offer any means to pay through Marketplace or even Messenger; you and the buyer or seller must agree on your own payment and delivery terms.
Surprisingly, a desktop version of Marketplace isn’t available yet, and will only roll out in the “coming months.” Considering how straightforward the system is, we doubt it’ll take long for the service to expand.