Facebook launches Marketplace so you can sell items to friends – but Canada will have to wait

Marketplace is based off of existing user behaviour; according to Facebook, more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups on the platform every month. Handout/Facebook

Facebook is betting on the popularity of buy and sell websites like Kijiji and Craigslist with its latest feature dubbed “Marketplace.” But Canadians will have to wait for it.

The feature, announced Monday, will allow users to buy and sell items with friends and people within their community. Just like existing buy and sell options, users will be able to interact with buyers and place offers on items they are interested in. To sell an item, users can simply upload a photo, set a name and include a description and price.

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The feature will launch this week in the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand. Facebook has not yet announced Canadian availability for the new feature, but noted that more countries would be included in the coming months.

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Marketplace is based off of existing user behaviour; according to Facebook, more than 450 million people visit buy and sell groups on the platform every month.

Of course, Facebook users will be required to follow the company’s rules and regulations when it comes to what kind of products they buy and sell online. For example, Facebook does not condone the sale of weapons and guns, animals, fraudulent goods (like fake designer purses), and prescription or recreational drugs. And, as The Verge pointed out, those who use Facebook Marketplace will not be protected by money back guarantees that sites like eBay have – in other words, you take the risk in buying from another user.

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However, some buy and sell platforms have found that forcing users to sell using their “real identities” by signing in with their Facebook profiles provides some safety.

Take for example Canadian startup VarageSale. To use the platform users are required to sign up with their Facebook account to verify who they really are. Before you are accepted into a community, a VarageSale administrator is tasked with validating your profile.

Varagesale admins look for a number of identifiers to make sure the person is from the community and isn’t using a fake profile – for example, do they have mutual friends with other community members, do they have pictures that identify themselves, do they have a lot of friends from surrounding areas.

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In 2015, Varagesale creator Carl Mercier told Global News that having users use their real names made them more accountable to produce friendly and safe sales.

READ MORE: Canadian startup VarageSale aims to make online buying, selling safer for families

In an interview with The Verge, Facebook project manager Bowen Pan said the company is also betting on this anti-anonymity stance to encourage safe sales on Marketplace.

“We think knowing who you’re transacting with is very important,” Pan told The Verge.

According to the report, Marketplace will also show potential buyers additional information about your profile, including how long you have been on Facebook, so that they can feel better about buying from you.

Tips for selling your stuff online

If you are looking to do a little de-cluttering of your own, Varagesale’s Mercier has some tips for posting good listings online:

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Good pictures sell items fast

Make sure that it’s a clean, well lit environment. Most people will only see your picture, so you want your picture to be really attractive.

Try taking pictures outside, or beside a big window, where the lighting is natural and will light your items better than indoor lighting – this is especially important for furniture items, so people can see the true colour of items.

Don’t be scared to list a lot of items

If you are desperately trying to de-clutter, don’t be shy about listing everything and anything. You never know who might be interested.

Buy and sell platforms often favour multiple listings. People using these services typically scroll through listings and may not be looking for one particular item, so people end up buying things that they didn’t know they needed.

Be willing to negotiate

Don’t have your heart set on a specific price for your item – one of the benefits of a buy and sell website is that you can barter on price, allowing you to reach new sellers.

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