Official announcement of Facebook Marketplace appeared on the 3rd of October and since that moment it became hot in e-commerce world. It’s nothing strange and if there’s someone who works in e-commerce and didn’t expect such a move, (s)he must’ve been living the last few years in a wardrobe. The Marketplace announcement is even more obvious because Google has Google Shopping.
Google and Facebook are giants, who “homesteader” next and next fragments of Internet. There are a lot of examples, today it’s time for e-commerce and this is not a blind shot but reasonable business decisions that perfectly fit into the DNA of both companies. Google links mostly, with its search engine, so it’s natural for a Mountain View based company to launch a price comparison engine which supplements the company’s offer. In fact, it’s not a supplement but replacing one service (Google Product Search) with another (Google Shopping). It’s the same in the case of Facebook to let million of people go shopping – (Facebook claims that more that 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month) or rather to connect the seller and the buyer in comfortable way – it was a natural move. Eventually, Mark Zuckerberg wants to connect as many people as possible and he performs very well.
So Google Shopping will compete mostly with price comparison engines (in Poland Ceneo, Skapiec and Nokaut) but Facebook Marketplace can take the clients not only from platforms like Allegro or OLX (or eBay in different countries) but also from small business especially, the ones that operate only locally.
At that context Napsers can only speed up their efforts to sell Allegro Group. Competition with the biggest e-commerce players like Amazon and Aliexpress would one side of a coin. If we add competitors like Google (Ceneo) and Facebook (Allegro, OLX) it might be really hot.
However, Facebook Marketplace is not only competition for the aformentioned. It is also a potential competitor for Google itself and more specifically to Google Adwords, which use many local businesses, often one-man businesses – so it’s a group to who Marketplace is addressed as well. This competition is very interesting for me – Adwords is a very important source of income for Google and the giant from Mountain View will defend it like an independency. On the other hand, Facebook simply can’t leave the situation that created itself, but for which the good conditions were created previously to develop dynamically.
Marketplace can be also great possibility for many sellers to expand their activity and to get new clients. I see it as a valuable feature not only for e-shops but also various service points. It’s also natural move, especially that Facebook is a very effective player in that field or rather people who use Facebook. On the 27th of July, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, published a post in which she announced quarterly results and noticed that still 60 million companies use Facebook Pages but even better are the comments under her post – there are people’s statements claiming how small and middle businesses grown thanks to Facebook. It’s hard to find a better advertisement or recommendation. In that context Marketplace should be very successful especially that Facebook can do a lot.
I assume that online shopping with the new Facebook functionality can add new dimensions to e-commerce, due to the number of data about users that Facebook has. Precise targeting of offers to the ones actually interested in, and that who are close, can greatly improve the process of buying / selling and eliminate business brokers who don’t have such a possibility to combine the seller and the buyer. Especially since Facebook didn’t announce a commission for the sale or issued an offer, which also makes the Marketplace even a more attractive way to reach customers.
What’s more, Facebook can never introduce such a payment, because they have much better options to earn on that functionality. It’s enough to mention only a various range of advertisement offers. It’s a win-win situation.
Let’s add that publishing an offer is very easy and reminds us of natural way of using a Facebook. It’s way easier in comparison to auctioning platforms.
The biggest problem I see is the fact that from the moment of accepting an offer is that all the rest is out of Facebook. For some people it might be to big of a risk, but from the other side fraud also happens in places where all the process is under one “roof”. Even if we leave question of honesty or lack of honesty out, it’s not the best situation that I can’t quick and easily click the next buttons to choose a form of delivery and choose method of payment.
Anyway, I don’t have a doubts that if the new Facebook functionality will succeed (and it looks like it will happen) Facebook will take care of make shopping online more convenient and safe for users and more printable for Facebook itself. Even today Mark Zuckeberg’s platform has a lot of tools that can do that.
Facebook Marketplace pictures are from official Facebook newsroom.