What Mobile Users Will Find on Facebook Marketplace

What Mobile Users Will Find on Facebook Marketplace
Marketplace Is a Mobile Platform
Facebook Has Been Building Up Marketplace for Years
Here's the Selling Experience
Here's the Buying Experience
It's a Direct Challenge to Craigslist
It's New Competition for eBay, Amazon
The Transaction Controls Aren't Comprehensive
Facebook Doesn't Collect a Fee—Right Now
Some Items Can't Be Sold
A Look at Expansion
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What Mobile Users Will Find on Facebook Marketplace

Facebook's new Marketplace e-commerce hub serves as a single place for users to buy and sell goods and services. Here's what it offers buyers and sellers.

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Marketplace Is a Mobile Platform

For now, Facebook said that Marketplace will only be available on its mobile app for iOS and Android. Once Marketplace is available on various mobile devices, Facebook users will see a new icon replace the Messenger icon in the lower menu tray. Tapping that icon will bring users into Marketplace, where they will be able to buy and sell goods and services.

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Facebook Has Been Building Up Marketplace for Years

Facebook is formalizing Marketplace, but it already had an unofficial marketplace on its service. In fact, Facebook says that 450 million users worldwide have been using its Facebook Groups service to buy and sell goods and services. Marketplace is an attempt by Facebook to create a single spot for those people to exchange goods or services while keeping Groups as a place for people to interact and collaborate on events or shared interests.

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Here's the Selling Experience

The selling experience in Marketplace is simple. Users simply tap on the Marketplace icon and choose the "sell" option. From there, users are required to upload an image of the product, give it a name and a description, and set a price. Facebook also requires location information to attract "nearby" potential buyers. Once complete, sellers sit back and wait for offers.

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Here's the Buying Experience

The buying experience is similarly simple. Facebook Marketplace users can opt to see items recommended by Facebook as well as those that are either nearby or far away. Once they find an item they want, users can input a bid price and wait for the seller to respond. Buyers and sellers then make arrangements to exchange cash for the listed item.

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It's a Direct Challenge to Craigslist

Facebook is trying to take on Craigslist with Marketplace. Like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace has a local element, allowing anyone to post just about anything that they want to share with their community. The feature is also a place for companies to seek employees and for people to not only find new jobs, but also a place to rent, a used car or just about anything else. Facebook Marketplace has a more refined interface than Craigslist, which could make it more appealing for buyers and sellers alike.

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It's New Competition for eBay, Amazon

Facebook is also taking on traditional e-commerce companies with Marketplace. Like Amazon and eBay, the service surfaces products that users might find of interest and encourages individuals to buy and sell goods, similar to eBay and Amazon Marketplace. There even is a "Make Offer" feature that makes Marketplace a quasi-bidding service that could pose an additional challenge to eBay.

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The Transaction Controls Aren't Comprehensive

Transaction controls could be a soft spot in Facebook's Marketplace. The storefront is essentially a place for people to pitch their goods and services to others. What happens after folks come to terms is practically unknown to Facebook, which requires all sales and delivery details to be negotiated outside of its service. Competitors like eBay and Amazon ensure that products are paid for and goods are delivered as specified. They also offer buyers and sellers redress procedures when deals go bad.

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Facebook Doesn't Collect a Fee—Right Now

Facebook says it won't collect a fee on the sale of goods and, as noted, won't even ask users to make payments through its service. In contrast, eBay gets a fee on transactions. Facebook appears far more interested in keeping users on its service and targeting them through advertising than worrying about becoming a full-fledged e-commerce company.

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Some Items Can't Be Sold

Facebook is banning the sale of some things through its service, including firearms, drugs, alcohol, adult services and other illegal content. The company also won't allow users to sell animals on Marketplace. However, since transactions are happening offline without direct oversight by the social network, there are already media reports that officially banned items are available in the Marketplace.

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A Look at Expansion

Facebook Marketplace will expand as time goes on, the company confirmed. For one, Facebook says that Marketplace will come to desktops at some point, though its focus now is on mobile. The Marketplace is currently only available in four countries, including the U.S. and the UK. Facebook says it will "continue expanding" to more countries.

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