Last fall, the social media site expanded its functionality, dipping its toe into the waters of digital commerce. It did this via Marketplace, a feature within the Android and iOS Facebook app that is described as “a convenient destination to discover, buy, and sell items with people in your community.” Think of it as a yard sale in the palm of your hand.
As Facebook’s Director of Product Management Mary Ku previously noted, buying and selling has been taking place on the social network for years, with more than 450 million people taking to the site to barter and trade each month. So now, Facebook is attempting to streamline those processes. “Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready to part with,” Ku wrote. “We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.”
And now, those options include a lot more than what your fellow Facebook users no longer want. Facebook Marketplace is expanding to include professional products and services offered by, you know, real retailers. Earlier in the week, Facebook Marketplace began showcasing a new Daily Deals tab in its mobile app. Only select users are seeing these deals, which are sourced from eBay. The idea is to make Facebook a bit bigger than just peer-to-peer sales, instead allowing the social network to compete a bit more with real ecommerce platforms. That said, if you find an eBay deal you like within the Facebook app, you’ll still have to go to eBay’s site to check out.
“We’re conducting a test to determine if people are interested in shopping for discounted products when they visit Marketplace,” a Facebook representative told The Verge. Should the test prove unpopular, it’s always possible that Facebook will ax the idea altogether.
In addition to this, Marketplace is also showing job postings, and Facebook will soon be adding ticket sales as well as products from other retailers’ shopping pages.
“We’ll kind of look and see what’s popular, what people want to engage with,” Deb Liu, the Facebook VP who oversees Marketplace told Recode. “So if people are searching or looking for something, we want to make that available to them.”
Apparently, one of the popular topics has actually been cars, so Facebook says that it’ll soon start offering automobiles for sale within Marketplace, sourced from local car dealerships.
So how do you access Marketplace? When you open the Facebook app on your phone, you should now see a shop icon at the bottom. When you tap on the icon, you’ll find photos of items for sale, and you can filter your results by location, category, and price. Much like other online marketplaces, you can further simplify your results by selecting categories like Household, Electronics, and Apparel. And if you don’t want to search in just your neighborhood, you can use the location tool to switch to a different region.
Once something has caught your eye, simply tap on the image for details, such as a product description, name and profile photo of the seller, and its location. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can send the seller a direct message from Marketplace to make an offer. From there, you’re on your own — “Facebook does not facilitate the payment or delivery of items in Marketplace,” Ku noted.
Recently, the social media giant expanded its online store to 17 European countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
Update: Facebook Marketplace now includes offerings from actual retailers.
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