Facebook just announced the launch of Facebook Marketplace that enables Facebook users to buy and sell items in their local communities. The company has been testing marketplace on the site for about a year, and has started to roll it out to users in select countries in the past couple of days.
While eBay and Craigslist are probably the number one destinations for buying and selling used goods, Facebook has slowly improved functionality on its site to provide its users with options to better sell and buy items directly on the site.
According to Facebook, more than 450 million people "visit buy and sell groups each month" on Facebook.
Marketplace improves selling and buying items on Facebook without doing away with local buy and sell groups.
Marketplace improves discoverability of items by adding a new shop icon to Facebook (at the bottom of the Facebook app) that users can tap on to start exploring what is on offer nearby.
Marketplace lists photos of items that "people near you" have listed for sale. Facebook users may furthermore search for items of interest, or filter by location, category or price.
A tap on an item loads a detail page that lists a description, name and profile of the seller, and the general location. Items can also be saved to re-open them quickly at a later point in time.
Options to send sellers direct messages are provided by Facebook but payments or delivery of items are handled by the seller and buyer, and not by Facebook.
Basically, what happens is that seller and buyer use Facebook's messaging system to broker a deal. What happens afterwards is up to them in regards to payments and pickup or delivery.
Facebook Marketplace Pro and Con
- Facebook Marketplace does not charge money for listing items, buying or selling them.
- Listed items are by default shown to members of the local community, but you may increase or decrease the region, or switch to another region entirely.
- New items can be added from within the Facebook app easily (take photo, enter product name, description and price, pick category, confirm location).
- Facebook users may add items to Marketplace and buy/sell groups they are a member of.
- Facebook Marketplace is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
- The service is only available on Facebook for iOS and Android. A version for the website will come "in the coming months" according to Facebook.
- Your Facebook user name and profile get exposed. There is no option to pick an alias for selling.
Now You: What's your take on Facebook Marketplace? Good alternative to eBay or Craigslist?