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October 03, 2016

Facebook Announces Marketplace for Convenient Reselling

If you’re anything like my family, you probably have a lot of extra stuff lying around your house. Old ping pong tables, VHS tapes, that horrible decoration your aunt gave you that you feel too guilty to throw out. My parents have been saying for years that they’re going to have a tag sale but it’s never actually happened. I imagine that there are plenty of people in the same boat, and clearly Facebook has the same idea. Today, it introduced Marketplace, a new feature in the Facebook app that allows you to buy and sell items to people in your neighborhood, town or even around the world.

Buying and selling products on Facebook isn’t new. The practice started in Facebook Groups and has grown substantially since; now, more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month. So, it’s only logical that Facebook would eventually make this into an official feature, making it easier for people to create connections.

That’s where Marketplace comes into play. Facebook is marketing it as a place to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. To visit Marketplace, all you need to do is tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app. From there, you will be taken to a page full of photos of items that people near you have listed for sale. You can browse through those photos, or search for something specific; searches can be filtered by location, category or price. After finding something interesting, you can then tap on the image to see more details from the seller, and have the option to save the item for later.

Once the decision to buy is made, you can contact the seller through a direct message from Marketplace. From there, you can make an offer, and a deal can be worked out. The entire process seems straightforward and easy to use. Over the next few days, Marketplace will become available to everyone over 18 years old in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand. The feature will become available to other countries in the coming months.

While this is a convenient feature for users who love to get a bargain, it benefits Facebook as well. Buying used products is quickly becoming the norm. I feel like I can’t even turn on the TV anymore without seeing a commercial for letgo, an app that essentially does the same thing as Marketplace. The app’s sole purpose is to help people find a new home for items they no longer need—it’s every tag sale goer’s dream, really. Carousell, Poshmark, Boxes, SellSimple and countless other apps are all available to help you resell the things that are likely just taking up space in your basement.

The success of these apps is clearly why Facebook has thrown its hat into the ring. If people were already using Facebook Groups to conduct deals, imagine how much more popular this official feature will make it. Facebook is an app that people trust; it’s been around for years, and nothing truly catastrophic has happened -- yet. Personally, I know if I were in the market to sell some of my things, I would choose Facebook over another app I was unsure of. Facebook undoubtedly knows several other people are feeling like this, and will likely reap the benefits of the trust people have already built in the brand. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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