Making what may be its boldest ecommerce play yet, Facebook in Monday unveiled Marketplace -- a new mobile feature for users to discover, buy and sell products with people in their virtual and physical communities.
Rather than taking a share of transaction costs, Facebook is betting on Marketplace to increase the time that people spend using its various services.
Tapping on a shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app will bring users to Marketplace. There, they will find photos of products that have recently been listed by people who live nearby.
To find something specific, users can simply search at the top of the feature, and filter results by location, category and price. Users can also browse what is available in various categories like Household, Electronics and Apparel.
When people find products they are looking for, they can then tap on its image for more details, including the seller’s name and general location.
If people want to make a deal, they can send the seller a direct message from Marketplace, and make an offer. From there, buyers and sellers are expected to work out the transaction details in any way they choose.
Facebook will not facilitate payment or delivery of items in Marketplace.
In the past, Facebook has struggled to get similar efforts off the ground. Back in 2007, it launched another service named Marketplace, which it shelved a couple years later.
Since then, however, the social giant has evolved into something of a major ecommerce hub. By its own estimate, more than 450 million users visit buy and sell groups on a monthly basis.
The new and improved Marketplace could really given rival services like eBay and Craigslist a run for their money. Marketplace remains a work in progress.“We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people,” Mary Ku, director of product management at Facebook, notes in a new blog post.
Over the next few days, Marketplace is expected to become available to all adult Facebook app users in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
From there, the plan is to expand into additional countries, and launch a desktop version in the coming months.