Earlier this month Facebook launched a new mobile Marketplace in the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. And it plans to roll it out in other countries, too.
Which means it will be coming to you soon, too.
Launched as a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community, it works on mobile phones and tablets which have the mobile Facebook app installed. That’s almost one billion active users every day around the world.
So should you as a seller be concerned about this new competition? Or see it as a new opportunity for more sales?
Investors certainly are spooked. Within hours of the release the share prices for sales portals such as eBay dropped. Clearly investors are seeing the new Facebook Marketplace as a threat to eBay and others.
So should you feel threatened, too?
Will your customers suddenly switch to the new marketplace and avoid your store? Or your ShopFactory Facebook outlet?
Now that the dust has settled a bit, it is easier to see what the Market Place really does - compared to the hype surrounding its launch.
And that’s not much, when you get down to it.
Essentially the Facebook Marketplace is a free glorified classified website.
Listings are usually created by taking a photo with the mobile phone of an item you want to sell. Or you can upload an image you have stored on your mobile device. You can then add a product name, a description and a price. That’s it.
Now the products are listed in the Facebook app and can be viewed by potential buyers.
Only their photo and a price are listed initially, making it difficult to clearly identify items. Although once you search, a title is added, and the search itself is quite powerful.
Nevertheless listings are free, so the vast majority of products are second hand.
Buying the items directly or even reserving them is not possible though.
In this regard the marketplace is like other classified ads. It only provides an option for the buyer to contact the seller to make a purchase or to find out more.
The strongest feature of the market place right now is its reach. It is simple to use and to establish a connection between local sellers and buyers. Selling and buying are cumbersome, but no more so than at any other classified website.
Product details are harder to find though than on other sites, and it will remain to be seen if the information provided is enough for sellers and buyers alike to switch from sites such as eBay and other smaller portals such as Gumtree and Craigslist.
Right now the market place doesn’t compete with independent stores such as those created with ShopFactory or Santu.
You could even use it as an additional sales channel for product specials or run-out items.
Only time will tell, if that will work though - but it's worth keeping an eye on. After all - an awful lot of people do have easy access to it.
Should you want to sell on the Facebook Marketplace, then the ShopFactory Cloud products included with ShopFactory could be an interesting option. Their short Internet addresses can be published with your marketplace listing: allowing buyers to immediately order and pay for your products.
Just add a sentence such as the following:
“To buy right now, go to santu.com/aah748”.
Irrespective of how the new marketplace will fare, it's clear that being listed on Facebook will help your sales.
ShopFactory 11 makes adding your store to Facebook very simple - just start by clicking on the link on the ShopFactory Central Page.
And of course you can also always easily add ShopFactory Cloud products to the Facebook timeline or promote them via ads in Facebook.