Facebook Tests Classified E-Commerce

Craigslist shouldn’t shut down just yet, but Facebook is testing a service for users to engage in casual classifieds-style commerce.

Within Groups, select users are now seeing a “Sell Something” option next to the standard “Write Post” and “Ask Question” buttons. If people have something to sell, they are asked for more information about their merchandise, including its price, and pickup/delivery options. They are also encouraged to upload pictures of their products.

“We are testing a new feature within Facebook Groups to help people better organize posts about items they’d like to sell to other people on Facebook,” Facebook stated. “This is a small test limited to select Facebook Groups that have active selling communities today.”

Preparing for a broader rollout, Facebook just added new terms of service, which makes clear that it is not responsible for goods sold on its platform.

Facebook’s flirtations with commerce have had mixed results. This summer, the social giant gave up on its Gifts service after about two years. The service — which featured gift cards for businesses like Starbucks and iTunes — failed to catch on among users.

With the help of payment start-up Stripe, Facebook has more recently focused its ecommerce energies on a “Buy” button.

Despite its promise, social media has yet to carve out a significant share of the ecommerce market. In fact, social media channels — including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest — contributed just 1.7% of total e-commerce sales, this year, research firm Custora recently reported.

By comparison, email contributed 27.3% of total online sales, followed by 18.9% originating from free search, and 18.5% from paid-search marketing.

The Next Web first reported on the test.

2 comments about "Facebook Tests Classified E-Commerce".
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  1. Sophie Edgell from kito, December 18, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

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  2. Noah Wieder from SearchBug, Inc., December 18, 2014 at 7:32 p.m.

    Of course. I already see people posting classifieds in timelines which is kind of annoying sometimes. But if they had a dedicated classified section, I'm certain it would be popular and remove that clutter from friend timelines, IMHO..

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