Facebook Is Testing Classified E-Commerce In Groups

December 19, 2014 0 Comments

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Facebook is testing a service that provides users with a Craigslist-like casual commerce platform within Facebook Groups. Initially available only to select users, Facebook is preparing for a broader rollout and has added new terms of service to make it clear that the company is not responsible for goods that are sold on its platform.

Select users will see that within Groups, they now have a “Sell Something” option beside the standard “Write Post” and “Ask Question” buttons. If a user wants to utilize this service, they are asked to provide additional information about their merchandise, including its price and the pickup/delivery options. The user is also encouraged to upload photos of their items.

“We are testing a new feature within Facebook Groups to help people better organize posts about items they’d like to sell to other people on Facebook,” explained the company. “This is a small test limited to select Facebook Groups that have active selling communities today.”

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Once a user has shared their post, Facebook formats the details and other users can comment with offers or discussion, in the same way they can with any other post.

Will Facebook’s classified e-commerce option become popular? It’s difficult to know at this early stage, however, Facebook has generally experienced mixed results with its commerce initiatives. This past summer, the social media company ended its Gifts service after two years due to a lack of popularity. The service featured gift cards for businesses such as Starbucks and iTunes, but failed to catch on. Facebook has recently been focusing its e-commerce energy on its “Buy” button.

Although some industry experts expected differently, social media still hasn’t gained a significant share of the e-commerce market. Social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, accounted for only 1.7% of the total e-commerce sales in 2014, according to research firm Custora. Comparatively, email accounted for 27.3% of total online sales, with 18.9% originating from free search and 18.5% coming from paid-search marketing.

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