Facebook is going all-in in the peer-to-peer selling space, with a new front-and-center tool that potentially competes with the likes of Craigslist, eBay, Etsy, Poshmark and more.
Facebook Marketplace is a new section within Facebook that lets people buy and sell items with people nearby. It’s accessible only on the mobile app through an icon in the center of the bottom menu of the Facebook app (a place previously occupied by the Messenger icon).
Marketplace is a photo-heavy tool that shows nearby items or lets users search and filter by category, location or price. It also lists items in categories such as household, electronics and apparel. Sellers can post directly from their phones by uploading a photo, adding details, confirming location and selecting a category. And if a user doesn’t search specific items, they will be shown products that Facebook has determined are most relevant to them, similar to how posts are chosen in News Feed.
The product details, unlike the relative anonymity of Craigslist, include the name and profile photo of the seller. From there, the interested party can directly message the seller to coordinate payment or delivery details. Unlike purchases from businesses made through Facebook’s in-app Buy button, Facebook does not facilitate mobile payments among peers within the market. Also, for now, there is no advertising available within Marketplace, and it is open only to individuals.
Marketplace will become available to users in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand (who are older than 18) on the iPhone and Android app this week, and will expand to other countries and to the desktop version in the coming months, Facebook said.
Buying and selling between Facebook users isn’t entirely new. According to Facebook, more than 450 million people use Facebook Groups to buy and sell each month.
More than a year ago, Facebook began an early test of Facebook Marketplace in New Zealand and Australia, building on For Sales groups that existed organically. For example, a “wedding dress garage sale” group has almost 5,300 members; an “Hermès Addicted” group has 1,800 members and a Nike and Jordans group has 3,800. Marketplace would ostensibly perform a similar function, although the emphasis on location in Marketplace encourages more nearby interactions than, say, trading Birkin bags around the world. It also makes it easier for people to browse products from multiple buy-and-sell groups.
And, of course, there is the Buy button on ads and Page posts that let users buy a product from a business without leaving Facebook. Facebook also has a Shop section on Pages, which aggregates the products being sold by businesses on Facebook.