There is a new player in the online marketplace space. Well not necessarily new, but Facebook Marketplace has made a huge step forward as they take on the incumbent marketplace portals around the world.
Facebook Marketplace was introduced in 2007 without a lot of success, but during 2016 the Facebook team dedicated a lot of time to streamlining the mobile version to a point where it looks like it may have legs. Could eBay, Craigslist, Trade Me and a raft of others be endangered species?
In my part of the world, the incumbent and the fifth most visited website in New Zealand behind Facebook, Google NZ, YouTube, Google US, is www.trademe.co.nz. Trade Me is the leading online marketplace and classified advertising platform in New Zealand.
Trade Me was established in 1999, and over the years there have been many competitors entering the online marketplace space, without much success. Tradeit, Lixtor, 4tradeit, onoffer, sellshed, to name a few. Some have gone, some are still hanging in there. Trying to knock off the incumbent is challenging without a massive marketing budget. In New Zealand, eBay decided not to enter our market. So perhaps Trade Me will continue to dominate, unless a bigger fish, with a massive web presence and user base enters the fray. Enter Facebook!
If anyone could put a dent in Trade Me and eBay's existing market share, it could be Facebook. How?
1. They have a massive user base.
2. Their offering is free!
3. The Facebook community is well established and I believe there is a trust relationship already established.
4. They have the ability to push software updates to devices.
5. Marketing to an existing user base is well established and easy. They don't have to pay for Facebook boost posts!
6. Trade Me are constantly increasing their prices to list and sell.
7. $50 million already transacted through Facebook Groups, the first marketplace offering from Facebook.
1. No accountability or warranty for faulty products or dishonest people.
2. Currently no rating system. If Facebook introduce some sort of review/rating system this could really help with the uptake.
3. No simple online payment method or shipping option.
So how will this play out? Only time will tell. All of us who use Facebook will be the judge of this new feature and I'll put my hand up to give it a go.