Since its introduction in 2016, Facebook Marketplace has become a place not only for people to buy and sell within their local communities, but also somewhere they can discover things they’re interested in, connect with local people, launch a business and make money.
It has become particularly popular in North America, with one third of Facebook users in the US using it each month.
It’s now two years on since Marketplace’s initial introduction and there are some exciting new features being lined up for us to look forwards to.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will allow us to buy and sell faster
Facebook has shown a clear commitment to advancing the field of machine intelligence and will now be bringing it to Marketplace. It plans to make Marketplace “more efficient and personalised for buyers” and make it easier for sellers to connect with the people that want to buy their products. So far, it can automatically improve the quality of photos as well as translate listings and Messenger conversations.
The next step is to introduce features which provide automatic categorisation and provide price recommendations, similar to what is already in use by ebay. For example, if you wanted to sell a book, Facebook can speed up the process by providing a price bracket recommendation based on the prices other, similar books were sold at. It would also save you the categorisation step by automatically placing it into ‘Books, film & music’. For all businesses out there, this will streamline the process of adding items to Marketplace.
Upcoming features should allow you to take pictures of products you like such as a friend’s jacket, and Facebook Marketplace’s AI will then provide you with suggestions of similar items available for sale nearby. It is also expected that you will be able to use your camera to take images of rooms and Marketplace will use the dimensions from the image to then suggest appropriate furniture for sale.
More shopping options
Since being introduced as a product you can buy and sell on Marketplace last year, cars have been one of the most popular Marketplace categories alongside furniture and electrics. After this success, Facebook has now decided to add more categories such as home rentals, home services and deals from e-commerce stores. This means that for any of you that don’t feel there is a space for your products or services on Facebook yet, that there could be soon. When the space arises, be sure to get in there early so that you can become a recognised seller before your competitors.
Improved community experience
As with any sales platform, it’s important you can trust the people you’re buying from or selling to. Facebook has recognised this and is working towards measures to make your online shopping experience as safe as possible. It’s trying to tackle this in three ways:
- Using AI to detect and remove inappropriate content
- Introducing buyer and seller ratings to encourage good behaviour
- Improving reporting tools to make it easier to flag up content that doesn’t belong on Marketplace and inappropriate behaviour.
We’re not quite sure when these features will be introduced yet, but it shouldn’t be long, so keep your eyes peeled!