Facebook takes on eBay, Gumtree and Craigslist with Marketplace feature

Facebook is making a serious bid into the ecommerce marketplace space with the launch of a new feature billed as ‘Marketplace’. Facebook has long been a forum where people have sold things to each other but this formalises and streamlines the process.

Facebook users will now be able to filter goods by location, category or price. Using a user’s location, Facebook will present nearby items. Buyers will be able to make arrangements to do a deal using the ubiquitous Messenger app. As far as I can see there will be no charge for the service.

It will be available to Facebook iPhone and Android app users over 18 in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand to start with. There are plans to bring it to more countries and desktop in “the coming months”.

Mary Ku, Facebook’s director of product management, says: “More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month — from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world. To help people make more of these connections, today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready part with. We’ll continue to build new options and features to make this the best experience for people.”

It’s a bold move and they’re building on firm foundations because people already use Facebook to trade. The question really must be: “what took you so long?”

For the time being this is a really a steal on the classifieds space looking at Gumtree and Craigslist in particular and doesn’t have an immediate appeal for bigger professional sellers but it seems likely that more interesting developments are in the pipeline. Watch this space.

Here’s the promo video: