Marketplace: Facebook’s new service takes on OLX, Quikr

Facebook Marketplace is available on the mobile app and desktop version as well.

By: MARCIA SEKHOSE
| Updated on: Jan 22 2018, 12:06 IST
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Facebook Marketplace will take on local players like OLX and Quikr
Facebook Marketplace will take on local players like OLX and Quikr (AFP)
Facebook Marketplace will take on local players like OLX and Quikr
Facebook Marketplace will take on local players like OLX and Quikr (AFP)

Facebook's OLX-like platform, Marketplace, has been officially rolled out in India. The company had started testing this service in India last year, first with Mumbai.

Facebook Marketplace allows users to sell and purchase items on a dedicated platform. This feature is available for the mobile app and desktop version as well. Facebook Marketplace is currently operational in 36 countries, making India the 37th one to join.

First reported by Entrackr, Marketplace hasn't officially been announced by Facebook, but it's availability has spread across India.

On desktop, Marketplace will be located on the left bar just below Messenger. You can find it on the mobile app for iOS and Android on the menu panel.

Facebook Marketplace: Top features

Marketplace has a section for browsing, buying, selling and saved items. You can also set a price limit for items, and area radius as well.

Facebook has also made a list of different categories to choose from. These include appliances, bicycles, car parts, clothing and shoes, electronics and computer, among others.

The items displayed on Marketplace come with information like the title of the product, duration of the post, and location.

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Facebook Marketplace is available on iOS and Android platforms
Facebook Marketplace is available on iOS and Android platforms (HT Photo)
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Facebook Marketplace is available on iOS and Android platforms (HT Photo)

Reliability

The concept of marketplace has been around for quite some time. But most of the marketplaces including OLX and Quikr face the issue of fake items.

For instance, a bike is listed for 10 while a smartphone for 9. It appears that Facebook's Marketplace still doesn't have stringent rules to identify genuine sellers.

But thanks to Facebook's massive base in India, Marketplace will most likely with an overwhelming response and instant adoption at a large scale.

There are many groups in Facebook already where people sell and purchase used items. With a dedicated platform on Facebook, it will now give users a more organized way to commerce.

Focus on commerce

Facebook started off this year with a big overhaul of its News Feed, reducing the reach of Pages. While the move has hurt businesses on its platform, the social networking giant doesn't seem to overlook one of their biggest source of revenues as yet.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg just yesterday announced hiring Kenneth Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express. One of the key areas Chenault is believed to focus on includes "direct commerce."

Marketplace is clearly part of a larger scheme of Facebook. And India foray is equally important as the country is one of its largest markets in the world apart from the US.

Commenting on Marketplace's launch in India, a Facebook spokesperson said, "In November 2017, we started a small test of Marketplace in Mumbai, India. We are committed to learning about how people everywhere use our product, and make sure Facebook works for them. This test helps ensure that we build and design for the people using our product and help us better understand what is working and not working. We're excited to see how people use Marketplace so we can improve the experience and provide people with a better selection of goods and services."

India focus

Facebook's Marketplace will compete with the likes of OLX, Quikr and Sulekha among other online classified services in India.

According to a 2016 report by Google and KPMG, India's online classifieds sector is estimated to grow three-fold to $1.2 billion by 2020.

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First Published Date: 19 Jan, 20:11 IST
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