Facebook goes after Craigslist and Kijiji with new Marketplace feature

Between its breakthrough chatbot services and the increasingly robust suite of marketing-friendly features being added to Facebook Messenger, Facebook Inc. has been good this year to businesses with something to sell – and now it’s extending that support to users, too.

On Monday the company revealed Marketplace, a new Craigslist-like feature for users looking to buy and sell items in a variety of categories, such as electronics, furniture, and clothing.

In an Oct. 3 blog post, Facebook product manager Mary Ku framed the new feature as an extension of existing activities in Facebook groups, with more than 450 million people currently visiting buy and sell groups every month, she wrote, and Marketplace a tool “to help people make more of these connections”.

“Marketplace makes it easy to find new things you’ll love, and find a new home for the things you’re ready part with,” she wrote.

To access Marketplace, users need only tap on the shop icon at the bottom of their Facebook app and the feature will automatically open with photos of items that others nearby have listed for sale.

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Users interested in narrowing their search can filter results by location, category or price, and just like Kijiji, click on images to learn more details.

If a user is interested in buying an item, they can send the seller a direct message with an offer.

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“From that point on, you and the seller can work out the details in any way you choose,” Ku notes. “Facebook does not facilitate the payment or delivery of items in Marketplace.”

Selling an item is equally intuitive:

  1. Shoot a photo of your item.
  2. Enter a name, description and price.
  3. Confirm your location and select a category.
  4. Post.

Ku noted that posting to Marketplace does not prevent users from posting items in a buy and sell group at the same time.

Naturally, buyers and sellers alike can also keep track of their past and present Marketplace transactions and transaction-related messages in the “Your Items” section.

Unfortunately, Marketplace is not yet available in Canada: Instead, Facebook is debuting the service on both the iOS and Android versions of its mobile app in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, with other versions scheduled for release in “the coming months,” according to Ku.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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