Starting from a simple dorm room in Harvard to becoming the top social media and networking service, Facebook has undergone tremendous change. From connecting people to strengthening ties, it has moulded itself into a platform that offers all its users something.
As a web pro, Facebook plays an important role in your business by enabling you to connect with your customers, create business pages, post ads and in turn increase your reach. Nevertheless, it is your sales pitch that eventually decides the size of your customer base. However, with the increasing popularity of doing everything online, Facebook revamped its simple buy-and-sell model to a full-fledged Marketplace. Marketplace officially rolled out in October 2016, in a few select countries and as of January 2018 has finally rolled out in India and a few other global markets.
So What is this Facebook Marketplace?
As quoted directly from Facebook, “Marketplace is an easy, convenient way to buy and sell in your area. You can look through listings or search for items near you to find great things to buy.”
In essence, Marketplace helps you discover things around you easily, be it renting out property or selling your bicycle, or running a mini-startup kind of buy-and-sell business. Marketplace is a go-to place for everything you may need.
What Facebook hopes to achieve with Marketplace is still a key question. According to Facebook’s Product Manager Bowen Pan, “One hundred per cent of the focus was really on thinking about how we can serve our current set of people and their community better.” Having said this, while it is impressive to know that since its inception in 2016, Marketplace is now in over 50 countries, it is equally important to understand its implications for web pros.
Let us see them in detail below.
Three Implications for Web Pros post launch of Marketplace
- Buying and Selling for Startups is Easy
Facebook Marketplace is the perfect platform for startups to begin. It is easy to understand and setting up a store is hassle-free. All someone needs is a Facebook account and they can start selling their product in a matter of minutes.Unlike Facebook pages/Ebay that is verified for authenticity, Marketplace does not provide this protection to the buyer. There might be vendors who are fake and as there is no way to figure out if they are genuine or not, there is no indicator of authenticity or a trust factor from the customer’s point of view.
What does this mean for a Web Pro?
As a Web Pro, the customer is most likely going to need a website at some point. If you provide SSL encrypted secure websites, the startup owner would feel confident in setting-up their online business website with you. Also, they could purchase SSL and website security add-ons from you for their website, so that their customers, in turn, feel secure. Another point to note is, if your website itself is secure this would create a strong impression on the startup owner (your customer) to host their website on your server.
- Growing Online Business
For our ease we’ll discuss this aspect of a business in a 2-step process:
- Opens up New Avenues
Facebook is a hub of social networking with more than a billion users. Owing to this if a person decides to set-up an online store via Marketplace he is sure to get many customers. What this requires is the right marketing and building a trusted reputation. Once these two are achieved there are bound to be several customers and your business would be a success. However, as the business grows the customer too might not want to wait till the owner messages them about the availability of the product. A redirection to a website helps in this case, where the customer can readily view whether the product is sold or available.
What does this mean for a Web Pro?
Grabbing customer attention with effective marketing might be simple for some businesses. Though on the other hand there might be others who would be struggling to promote their online store within the Marketplace.As a web pro, one add-on that you can provide the store owner is that you set-up, manage and market their Marketplace account and their customers can be redirected to the business website where they can make a direct purchase. This is a win-win situation for both, you the web pro and the startup business owner.
- Wider Customer Base
As seen in the above points, once the startup establishes itself as a reliable seller there is bound to be an increase in the customer flow. Now should the startup owners decide to expand, managing the business Facebook Marketplace might become a confinement with its limited space.Moving to your own website at a time like this would be considered a smarter move in terms of connecting to your customers on a one-on-one basis. This would not only build customer relations but also increase the sales and revenue. Also, getting investors to invest in the business can be an issue, the reason being Marketplace is still not secure and investing can prove to be risky.What does this mean for a Web Pro?
As covered above, a website helps businesses track customer-client relationship by checking its traffic source, page views, sessions etc. This way the businesses know what their customers are looking for. At this point, the business owner decides to move to a website so that they can cope up with their increasing customer base as well as provide the security aspect that is needed when looking for investors.
As a web pro, you help growing businesses with technical know-hows by building, hosting and managing their website. Also, if their sales increase further it means the traffic has improved, you can help in scaling the website without any hassle. This way the business owner can fully concentrate on managing the business and being able to keep up with the latest trends.
- Opens up New Avenues
- Brand Customisation
Visuals are very essential when it comes to the brand and marketing of your online business. And customisation is one way to building your brand value. With Facebook Marketplace, even though you sell and run a business, you might find it difficult to carve out an identity for it. There might be some other business selling similar products and you might be lost in a sea of vendors. One way of building your brand is by having your website and professional email address.What this means for a Web Pro?
Having an own personalised website can give the ‘business owners’ more control over their brand and storefront. And for you as a web pro, this is an opportunity to benefit by designing amazing brandable and customised website for the business owners approaching you. Depending on the owner you could either offer them managed services, where their website creation, hosting and maintenance is done by you. Otherwise you could also offer services like online website creation tools like website builder, weebly etc for them to design their own website and hosting.
An End Note:
In conclusion, even though Facebook Marketplace is an evolving platform, it is more like Ebay or Quickr where people can become self-sellers as opposed to running a hands-on business. Once their business grows and they’re an SMB, there is a need for a website for continued successful growth. Due to this factor, they will need a web pro to host and manage their website while they concentrate on their customers and business. If leveraged smartly, Facebook Marketplace can be a boon to a web pro rather than bane.