Facebook Marketplace might be the best thing that has happened to local eCommerce in the developing world; only it hasn't reached them yet. Millions of people use Facebook to buy and sell, but the company's transformation into an eCommerce hub will provide added tools and advantages.
Listing their products on Marketplace is going to change the game for many businesses and individuals trying to sell to locals. This is invaluable for sellers who have very few local options in developing countries. First, they can list their products for free and display them to locals looking for these items. Once a buyer signals interest, they can connect on Facebook Messenger to communicate, and if an order is made, they can meet in person to seal the transaction.
Over 800 million users in 70 countries are already doing this. However, unlike other attempts at replicating ideas from different parts of the world, Marketplace is an upgrade on a global social shopping trend. There's no doubt that Facebook will make a dent with Marketplace. However, this will be another place where it continues to battle antitrust accusations from an already suspicious group of regulators. The EU is already knocking on the door to find out if Facebook benefits unfairly from its massive storage of data. Facebook can afford to provide free classifieds, a move that will disrupt the online advertising market and put some companies out of business.
While this might benefit the company and its users, in the long-term, some people see it giving the social media giant enormous power, stifling diversity and placing more of our lives in the hands of one already massive monopoly. With the advent of Facebook Watch, payment services, and even attempts at showing live sports, there are certainly more creative ways Facebook can seamlessly link different parts of its business. They'll be able to leverage their top-notch artificial intelligence to dominate the market altogether.
While we're still here, it's a massive opportunity for developing countries whose eCommerce platforms are struggling. Sellers get to cut out fees and raise their profits and build a reputation for their businesses. It has the potential to raise incomes by increasing opportunities and reducing costs on expenses like rent.
One of the advantages of the product is that the options users have to do business. Facebook buy-sell groups and shops let buyers review, recommend, and trade, and Facebook now offers shipping and checkout. Once these services are fine-tuned and rolled out to more countries, it will transform the nature of eCommerce and put Facebook in a great position to shape how we interact, live, and shop online and in the physical world.
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