Facebook launched its Marketplace - a dedicated section inside its app where people can sell and buy used goods to neighbors - in October 2016 with a view to getting into space of Craigslist in the US or Bikroy in Bangladesh (although Facebook has not rolled out marketplace yet in Dhaka but buy and sell groups are active). The ambition was to get into growing mobile shopping space.
Marketplace was initially launched in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand which allows people who want to sell on Marketplace list items for sale in just a few steps, and if the buyer and seller agree to go forward they can meet in person to get the transaction done. Users can also cross-post to and from Facebook “buy and sell” groups.
After a year of tiptoeing, the social media giant is planning to go full-throttle into the digital commerce space. Here is a list of things about Facebook’s Marketplace you need to know:
Facebook’s ambition to dominate human activities on the internet is limitless. It has a deep interest in commerce, in fact, it previously tried to enable commerce within Facebook which did not take off. From Recode:
“It closed a gifts service, and dabbled with “buy buttons” that never took off.
Marketplace is Facebook’s latest hope — and the changes raise the question of whether they are being made because the initial version of Marketplace hasn’t taken off. But Liu says Marketplace has had “tremendous growth,” with 18 million items listed inside Marketplace in the U.S. alone back in May. But not all of the items are high quality. Given Facebook’s ambitions here, and its willingness to get more established retailers and businesses using Marketplace, that could start to change.”
Implication for the Bangladesh market
Facebook rules the internet in Bangladesh and in many other developing markets. In fact, many users of the social networking site are not even aware of the fact that they are using the internet not only Facebook. As we wrote before:
“A significant number of these people are extremely active on Facebook, have their community, communicate with each other and in fact, buy things through Facebook except that they rarely take advantage of other benefits that the internet brings. And they live in the bubble that Facebook helps create for them.
Bangladeshis spend a staggering amount of time on Facebook. The Q2 report of 2017 of Global Digital Statshot has ranked Dhaka second in the world in terms of having the most active Facebook users. According to the report, Dhaka has 22 million active internet users, which is 1.1 percent of the total monthly active users of the social networking site across the globe.”
Facebook is yet to launch Marketplace in Bangladesh. Despite that, there is a whole new category of small and medium enterprises that sell through Facebook pages and groups. Major classified sites and B2C ecommerce marketplaces rely heavily on Facebook for traffic. Facebook, launching Marketplace, will have a significant impact on overall digital commerce ecosystem starting from jobs to shopping to online ticketing. Here is from our previous article on Facebook’s dominance:
When a single platform becomes extraordinarily powerful, the chance for other smaller platforms to grow big shrinks. In Bangladesh, eCommerce companies are already feeling the heat of building an independent platform.