Facebook Marketplace might just succeed in its second avatar
Social media has come to dominate nearly all aspects of our lives. Such sites not only provide a platform for networking and news—a survey shows 62% of adults in the US get their news from social media—they are now increasingly being used as a marketplace. As Facebook is at the forefront of this revolution with people creating groups to serve as local marketplaces—the social media giant says over 450 million people visit these each month—the company has decided to re-introduce a marketplace feature of its own. Much like an OLX or an eBay, Facebook will list second-hand products, but will not facilitate payments or delivery of items. What would differentiate the company though would be its ability to provide a closed user group of 1.7 billion people where one can always determine who the seller is or purchaser from a seller who has a mutual friend. While success will be determined by the ease of convenience that Facebook can provide, it is certainly expected to fare better than last time it had launched Marketplace, in 2007.
With an OLX survey estimating that households have R78,300 crore worth of used goods in India, there is certainly some space for the social media giant to expand, what with India being its second-largest user-base by country. And, with integration of small businesses on the platform, it may be able to stretch its domain well beyond second-hand goods. But, with sites like Amazon providing features like guarantees, returns and discounts, Facebook will have to do more than just providing a listing space for sellers. Facebook Messenger already allows taxi booking and food ordering via its chatbots, a marketplace would only add to its portfolio and its objective of creating a one-stop service for its users.