Facebook just introduced Marketplace. They describe it as:
[…] today we’re introducing Marketplace, a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community.
Facebook has had Facebook groups for many years. People liked to meet up there, post their stuff for sale, arrange meetups and so on. We at Swapit have been using it and the experience was horrible to finally get to the point to buy what you really wanted. Facebook must have realized that a while ago and did start to introduce “buy and sell” features into Facebook groups. When operating a Facebook group, you could then choose the type of that group and as you can see in the screen shot, the “Buy and Sell” type adds certain functionality to that group. In particular, this adds extra fields for people to enter, like “price”, “title” and “location” (e.g. city). It looks like on the screen shot on the right.
Yet, these were all Facebook groups, which you had to manually navigate to, or you would get to their listings if you’re a member of a group and other members of the same group post items — because it would show up in your Facebook feed.
In Facebook’s recent announcement they specifically mentioned this one improvement that will change the way people on Facebook will interact:
To visit Marketplace, just tap on the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app and start exploring.
So Facebook added a little icon at the bottom tab par of the app, so you can easily access such “marketplaces”. Of course, there are other improvements like categorization for example. Yet, it is nothing overly dramatic at this stage. Furthermore, they’re only launching in four countries at the moment (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand). More will launch soon, I am sure.
Why did Facebook introduce Marketplace?
According to Facebook the launched Marketplace because they realized that:
More than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups each month[…]
My personal belief is, they’ve also realized the spam that was associated to those 450m people buying and sell. Let me explain.
All the traffic in those buy and sell groups, all the posts and comments, started to pile up and clog up each user’s Facebook feed. Personally, I am doing a lot of research in terms of trading on Facebook and for that purpose I am a member of 100 groups on Facebook – most of which are buy and sell groups. The sheer number of posts that are flowing through my Facebook feed daily is just way too much, and the vast majority of those are buy and sell posts. Almost all of those buy and sell posts are not relevant to me, nor are they anywhere near any location, and therefore, I personally consider them actually spam. To improve that experience and only present relevant sale posts to potential buyers, we have created the Swapit mobile app.
Facebook has been great over the years, to realize the pain points of their users and improve their product to remove friction. So I believe, by introducing “Marketplace”, Facebook wants to carve those massive amounts of buy and sell posts out of people’s ordinary Facebook feed and bundle them in a dedicated place just for trading.
As a Facebook user, I think this is a great step for Facebook to clean up my feed and make sure I only see relevant information from my friends and family, which is what I use Facebook for mainly.
What does Facebook’s Marketplace mean for the industry?
While all of that sounds very much like direct competition to Swapit, it is much more a direct competition to other players in the market. I particularly like TechInAsia’s take on this: Facebook’s Local Market could be Carousell and Tokopedia’s worst nightmare
And that might in fact become true.
Carousell, Tokopedia, Rakuten, Shopee, letgo, Shpock, OfferUp, you name it; are all traditional marketplaces operating on a traditional classified model. Their way of connecting buyers and sells with each other is rather passive and driven by buyer initiative and mostly actually by luck. Let me give you a quick example: As a buyer, you go onto Carousell and search for “Green Sofa”, but you don’t find one. Yet, you really want a green sofa! (who doesn’t want a green sofa?) So what do you need to do? You have to come back and search for it again — hoping that time you will find one. The Facebook Marketplace is not different. It’s basically, the Craigslist model brought into the mobile world with a beautiful layout and pretty pictures. For Facebook, though, it comes with very strong social connections as well.
So yes. Facebook Marketplace may be the biggest threat to our competition as there does not seem to be any key differentiator between them and Facebook Marketplace — except for the fact that Facebook has by far the largest active user base — in the world.
Central Hong Kong
How is Swapit different?
In one word: hyperlocal. From the onset, Swapit has been built with the mindset to efficiently connect buyers and sellers, who are nearby each other in real-time. Every single item posted on Swapit has a highly precise location attached to it, which can be mapped precisely on a map.
Based on that small yet important piece of information, our Swapit trading platform looks for potential buyers who are nearby the seller’s location and are interested in the item you are selling. See Swapit Alerts for more on that.
As opposed to our competition (including Facebook Marketplace now), Swapit does 3 essential things better:
- Timely Sensitive
Swapit reaches out to buyers in real-time, right when an item becomes available. It’s snappy, it’s quick, it happens when it needs to happen; right now. That’s exactly what our on-demand society wants today.
- Location Specific
Swapit connects only people who are nearby each other. I am not talking about “same city” like Facebook mentions. I am talking about “within 500 meters” (approx. 5 minute foot walk). It’s truly nearby and the item can be reached right now.
- Contextually Relevant
By only presenting items the buyer is really interested in, all of a sudden all automated communication from the Swapit trading platform to the buyer ends up to be contextually relevant. Swapit cuts through the clutter and provides only that kind of information buyers are really looking for.
Why being Hyperlocal is such an Advantage
The world is changing. Today, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in an urban environment and that number is projected to increase over the decades to come (according to the World Bank). As a result, more and more people are moving to cities, which as a result become more and more densely populated.
The Swapit team is based in Hong Kong – one of the most densely populated places on planet earth. We believe, to some extend, Hong Kong is some kind of blueprint for how metropolitan cities will look like in the future. More people will take public transport, or Uber their way without an own car. More and more people will live in smaller and smaller apartments to preserve space and costs in cities that have limited space. Socially, the way of life will become more and more anonymous, to the fact where you don’t know all of your neighbors or even in years of living in the same building, you’ve never even met each of them at least once.
Swapit has been built and is continuously being improved for that very way of life. We are building a product for the future that has already started to happen. We are not stuck in the traditional classifieds model, but we embrace the connectivity and on-demand culture of our time.
Swapit is hyperlocal and no one else is.
Do you want to trade hyperlocal too? Get Swapit from http://get.swapit.la/now