What Can Online Stores Learn From the Expansion of Facebook Marketplace?

The Beginnings of Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace has been around for years, though it previously existed as a separate smartphone app that was tied to your Facebook account but operated by a different company. While it fell under the Facebook umbrella, the social media platform seemed unsure how to capitalize on the concept.

It was less than a year ago that Facebook placed the peer-to-peer eCommerce platform where it belongs: inside the user-friendly Facebook app. Facebook Marketplace has grown significantly since this essential redevelopment and expanded to seven more countries.

Facebook discovered that a huge portion of their then 1.9 billion users (there are now over two billion active Facebook users) were accessing Facebook groups to buy, sell, and trade goods. By the company’s own count, 450 million users were visiting buy-and-sell Facebook groups each month.

Facebook realized that it was possible to consolidate this activity into its own section of the platform, and Facebook saw it as an opportunity to officially recognize the eCommerce activity happening on the platform. Facebook Marketplace launched in the United States in October 2016 and immediately appeared as a new tool in the Facebook mobile app. Because the goods available on Facebook Marketplace are user determined, on a given day, you could find anything from pets to a new home on this unconventional eCommerce hub.

Facebook Continues to Increase Facebook Marketplace Presence

Soon after U.S. introduction, Facebook Marketplace expanded to six other countries. Users in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Chile, and Mexico all had access by early 2017. However, as Facebook Marketplace was designed following the same principals as Craigslist, users can only view and purchase goods in the same area. In this regard, Facebook sees the Marketplace having international potential which could be implemented in the future. For now, however, Facebook Marketplace’s purpose remains local. The current design must be working, as in May 2017, there were 18 million items put up for sale on Facebook Marketplace just in the United States.

In mid-August, Facebook announced that it would expand Facebook Marketplace across all of Europe. The expansion is a move that signals not only the continued success of the buy-and-sell hub within the social media platform but provides important cues to online stores about the current trends in eCommerce.

Facebook Marketplace Shows Increased Importance of Mobile

Some countries realized the necessity of mobile commerce before others. For instance, the United Kingdom reported 45% of all eCommerce traffic was generated by mobile devices as far back as 2015. This trend rose at a time in which over 30% of the biggest eCommerce stores in the U.K. were without a fully responsive website. Today, an online store would flounder without the ability to provide a responsive layout and mobile-friendly access.

However, the incredible growth of eCommerce traffic alone doesn’t always translate into sales. The best estimates say that just 25% of online sales are completed through mobile devices, meaning that many users simply shop on their phone and do not finalize a purchase. This surprising statistic means that most of the transactions derived from the massive eCommerce market are still happening through desktops and laptops. At the moment, therefore, eCommerce companies have not yet tapped into the full potential of mobile shopping. Still, the sheer number of mobile shoppers is significantly higher than the number in early 2016, and, if Facebook Marketplace is any indication, the crowd is only going to continue to grow.

If you haven’t started to optimize all of your content for mobile, it should be at the top of your to-do list. More people have access to smartphones than ever before. Upwards of 75% of the United States owns a smartphone. Nearly 90% of the South Korean population owns a smartphone, too. Similarly, it seems that British and Israeli internet users can’t live without their iPhone or Android device. Online stores and resellers, like Facebook Marketplace, can capitalize on the ever increasing smartphone ownership.

ECommerce Customers Want More Security and Credibility

When polled, the people who avoid peer-to-peer eCommerce sites regularly cite the lack of transparency and the lack of assurance of the sellers’ identity as reasons for their avoidance. It turns out that Craigslist, eBay, and even specialty eCommerce stores like Etsy and Everything but the House don’t provide enough background and information on their sellers to make buyers in particular demographics feel comfortable.

However, Facebook Marketplace has broken through this barrier. Every item listed on Facebook Marketplace is tied to a personal Facebook profile. This feature offers a greater sense of security to purchasers, particularly when a product can be picked up from the seller, and also provides more credibility that the good will be as advertised. After all, the buyer can trace that item back to a particular profile directly.

This significant shift in peer-to-peer eCommerce gives insight into the habits and needs of online shoppers in general. These potential customers can’t physically touch, smell or inspect the products you put online, so they want some assurance that what they see in photos will be what arrives on their doorstep.

An eCommerce store can build confidence through visible customer reviews and feedback, strong branding, and providing a backstory for a product. Also, detailed, accurate product descriptions can give a customer a better idea of what they will receive.

Mimic Facebook Marketplace by Placing Products in Line-of-Sight

A great deal of the success for Facebook Marketplace is its visibility. There isn’t a separate website, link, or app anymore that needs to be opened or accessed to buy, sell, and trade your goods. Unlike Craigslist or even eBay, Facebook Marketplace is featured where a majority of online shoppers already spend time: On Facebook. The strategic placement of the marketplace means millions of Facebook users see the Facebook Marketplace every day, without any need for advertising or introduction.

Placement inside the broader Facebook platform also makes it easy to use Facebook Marketplace. A user can jump from putting up a status to buying a new lamp with a single touch on the screen. There is nothing to close out and nothing to minimize. Just as easily, a user can return to scrolling through the Newsfeed from the Marketplace.

Your eCommerce business might not be able to gain this exact visibility or access to potential customers without being a part of the Facebook family. However, the decision to move Facebook Marketplace inside the bigger social media platform was massive, and your company can mimic this strategy. Look for ways to market your business that are already in front of your customers, whether that’s through a social media site or a third-party website. Make it easy for potential customers to see your brand, and don’t forget that accessing your product page or the particular product that caught the shopper’s attention must also be seamless.

A number of people access Facebook during down time. Downtime is an ideal time to shop online because browsing isn’t an obstruction to making a purchase. Facebook’s Marketplace team recognizes, though, that even bored people don’t want to waste time with lengthy checkouts and make finalizing a purchase on the peer-to-peer eCommerce platform a breeze.

Discover the Potential Behind Your ECommerce Store

Looking for a digital agency that understands the trends and potential of eCommerce? No need to search any further. 1Digital Agency is passionate about eCommerce and the digital marketing behind every online brand. To learn more about our digital marketing strategies, visit our website right now.

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