Local commerce is firing and only getting started.
Driven largely through Buy and Sell groups on Facebook and now an ever-expanding Facebook Marketplace. While social media has migrated in droves to channels like TikTok, reddit and Instagram, Facebook is largely the place to buy and sell … just about everything!
I’ve been using Marketplace since it’s 2016 Australian inception and have noticed a lot of changes recently. Yesterday I was asked to review a purchase immediately after picking up a brand new pair of shoes. Not a massive steal, but exactly the same pair that I was going to buy in-store - just 10 minutes from my office and on the way home.
My wife had messaged me to pick up a pair of Van’s shoes since she couldn’t be bothered waiting 5-7 days for an AusPost delivery. I combed a few of the Accent Group shoe sites looking for click & collect options to grab them on the way home. While click & collect is available on some of their sites, Foot Locker AU isn’t one of them.
I use Click & Collect often as it provides convenience and certainty. Less than half of Australian national retailers do C&C at all and only a handful do it well. I rarely need things within an hour or even the same day. 1-2 day certainty is good enough for me. That’s the allure of local commerce. I feel good about upcycling and saving a few bucks with convenience and certainty whether I'm buying from the local homemakers or Marketplace.
On Facebook there’s now a seller dashboard!
What’s coming next?
I buy and sell quite a bit. It’s part art part science. You get pinged at all hours “Hi Mike, is this still available?” … Click the button, “Yes, It's Available.” Quite a few drop off here as they’ve probably sobered up to realise they can wait to buy your mask & snorkel set until the car is fixed. You get so many lookie loos that you have to save giving every potential buyer your address until you’re convinced there’s a deal to be done or risk someone rocking up after you've already disposed of the item. What would make it a lot easier would be escrow styled payments. Buyer says they’ll take it and get zapped back an invoice. They pay Facebook and when the confirm receipt of the goods, release the payment and it’s held in the middle. Much less risky than a bank deposit which a lot of people are too willing to do.
The other side is logistics. So many buyers aka customers want you to ship the item as geo-location is under indexed against supply. When payments and logistics come to the party, we’ll have a real accelerator of local commerce with plenty of local businesses onboard.
A powerful matching algorithm, no listing fees or commission ... Convenience and certainty with a little immediacy mixed in.
About Mike Fowler
Mike is an eCommerce veteran, senior leader & growth strategist for some of Australia's best retailers. Formerly at Afterpay as Director of Merchant Services APAC, General Manager and founder of the growth team at Mosaic Brands (Noni B Group) developing and launching 9 iconic multi-category online marketplaces, including: Noni B, Rockmans, Millers, and Rivers, as well as Head of Digital at Blue Illusion. Member of the Australia Post Customer Advisory Group with more than 15 years experience in helping retailers leverage eCommerce, CX, payments, & logistics opportunities to maximise growth.