A sign of the pace at which social commerce is development is the perhaps surprising fact that you can now buy a car on Facebook. Social commerce trends have been a particular focus of the social media giant over the past year or two. However, while many users may not think twice about buying a handmade scarf or hat through Facebook’s ‘Marketplace’, they would probably be far less sure about making a high value purchase like that of a car.
Car listings have featured on the Facebook Marketplace since its 2016 launch, however trust issues meant that limited transaction numbers actually took place. However, the company has recently moved to add functionalities such as being able to search car listings by the categories that would be common on a dedicated auto sales website.
Users can now search cars being advertised by make, model, mileage, colour, engine size and all of the other important qualities they would normally consider. This has added a layer of both convenience and trust Facebook clearly expects to help drive customer engagement and Facebook-based social commerce transactions.
The push into auto sales has involved a number of partnerships being signed with big auto dealers in the USA, including Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global and SocialDealer. These companies will be able to integrate the listings on their own websites with Marketplace listings on Facebook and even be able to communicate directly with potential customers via the Facebook Messenger chat app.
While these partnerships are so far limited to the US market, it can be expected that the project will be rolled out to the UK at some point over the course of 2018. Facebook has been putting considerable effort into developing the Marketplace section of the social media platform. Partnerships with eBay for ‘daily deals’ and Eventbrite, the online ticketing service have also been established.
For now payments cannot be directly processed through Marketplace but social commerce trends are pointing in that direction and this is another development that can be expected over the coming months. Beta testing of payments being made through Messenger has already been carried out and Facebook users can also now pay retailers directly through their company pages.
Facebook is not the only social media currently driving social commerce development with Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat all quickly developing social commerce functionalities that allow direct purchases and payment processing without leaving their platforms.