This Facebook Marketplace article was initially published in 2014. And, since then, WOW has things changed! For new tips on purchasing and selling in the Facebook marketplace, please see my revised notes at the bottom.
I talked about the latest trend to hit Facebook today on both B105.7 and Indy Style: online garage sales or the Facebook Marketplace.’
Are you part of any of your area’s Facebook Marketplaces? In my county, I’m in 20 different markets, ranging from furniture & home goods to crafts & handmade products, and everything in between.
I have some tips from buyers and sellers, and even from a couple of group administrators who can help you get the most out of your money, fully headache-free, whether you’re fresh or seasoned!
How do you get started on a Facebook Marketplace?
All is just about who you know! Often they start city- or county-wide, and it can become difficult to handle when memberships become too large, so administrators can prefer to split off by group. Do some testing, survey your friends on Facebook, and ask them to invite you if they’re part of a marketplace. Many groups are “closed” or “secret” and need an administrator to accept possible new members.
Tips for Selling on a Facebook Marketplace:
- Admin tip: Read via the company’s policy, normally pinned to the top of the group’s page. Some won’t allow you to cross-post, meaning in different groups, post the same thing. That just opens up an entire o ‘crazy bag trying to keep track of who’s next in line!
- Admin tip: Before jumping in, watch multiple transactions taking place. See how the dialog moves. Ask questions.
- Take a decent photo: Cut out the spouse/kid/dog sleeping on the sofa and potato chip bag on the coffee table, please! The best pictures have a contrasting, strong backdrop (I saw it, for real).
- Price your items to sell, At or just above the selling rates for the garage. That gives you a little wiggle room to bargain, but the buyer never asks if I can take less, possibly 75 percent of what I sold.
- Post in the correct category: In women’s clothes, do not post a blender because you think women will be the ones who want a blender. #Quite seriously.
- Be quick in responding (also when buying): It’s a basic courtesy here. No one wants to get excited because they are the first to react to an offer, and for 48 hours, you don’t get back to them. For appropriate timeframes, see the group’s guidelines. Having grace, not everyone is mobile, and in 15 seconds or less, they will respond.
- Meet in person off-site for higher-priced items. I’m sure it goes without saying, but for 10 hours, don’t leave cash lying on your doorstep. You may be comfortable leaving your sold goods in a tote on your porch if you work from home or stay at home and collect cash until the item has been picked up. Otherwise, to make your transaction, find a secure meeting place near to home.
Here’s an example of a great transaction from the Facebook Marketplace. The seller posted details of her item, her general location, and price. Someone answered, and then the seller replied that she had given the first responder a private message. One additional individual expressed concern by commenting on “Next.” The seller will go to the next one in line if the first buyer leaves.
Tips for Buying on a Facebook Marketplace:
- Line jumping is not a sport on the marketplace! Simply put “inline” in your comment if there is more than one person ahead of you, and any respectable seller will step down the list if the first responder passes on the object. “Don’t type “Rapid pickup! As my dog is dying and my car has broken down, and my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife has abandoned me, I need this item ASAP. Wait your turn like anyone else.
- Do any bartering before pickup. Some prefer to do this via a private message on Facebook.
- Inspect item upon pickup. It’s ok to pass!
- Learn the terms: Learn the words, so you know what the heck people are talking about, similar to selling on eBay or Craig’s List. EUC = excellent used condition; NWOT = new without marks, etc. PPU = pending pickup;
You will see some examples of goods purchased/sold on the market in this picture (above). I bought the two framed art prints for $4 to go near our bar in the basement (still with $29.99 price tags on the back, each). The two pairs of jeans are a prop I borrowed from my neighbor, and she paid $10 for the Paige jeans on the Facebook marketplace ($150-$200 retail) and $5 for the Limited jeans ($50-75 retail).
Is it time-consuming? It could be. Factor in your picture taking and uploading time. Switch off your updates, so that marketplace sales don’t inundate your Facebook newsfeed. And others say that when an object is expected to be picked up, there are no-shows.
Is it safe? I believe so, especially because you can meet someone off-site if you are concerned in some way. Be wise, as with any online contact or transaction. One admin told me that people have seen them put their street address in a comment (instead of private messaging). It wouldn’t be that wise.
Is it fun? Yeah, it’s pretty fun, I’ll admit! Via Indy Kids Sale, I sell most of my children’s clothes and toys twice a year, but with home decor, kitchen pieces, and my clothing, I’ve had some decent success. I save my money by selling some “fun money,” spending it on shoes or a bag, you know, girlie stuff like that. Another friend of mine sold all the furniture from her living room collection via the Facebook marketplace and used the money to put it in her new set.
On my media channel, you can view the video clip from today’s Indy Style segment and listen to audio from B105.7.
2017 Update on Facebook Marketplace Buying & Selling
Since reading through my original article dating back to 2014, several facts and insight nuggets are shockingly the same. Play good, wait a turn, don’t be a line jumper, and show up if you agree to meet you.
What HAS changed:
- Facebook has now altered the look of these groups and the look of posts themselves. Buy/sell posts looked more like your regular Facebook post in your newsfeed when it first became a “thing”. Now, for item name, price, location, and description, there are pages.
- You can also see from the blue callout box that you have the option to pick more groups or even ‘THE’ Marketplace now when you post to a party. More eyeballs would see it by increasing the number of groups your item is shared in, and it could theoretically sell faster.
- Another improvement; it is super easy to connect with buyers and sellers about a potential deal. “There is a box under the item’s picture that says “Message Seller”. And when you have potential buyers expressing their interest in a comment, “Like”, “Reply,” and “Message” is right under the person’s name.
- And if you want to reduce the price, the original price will be slashed, the initial price will be red, and the new reduced price will be orange. This is a good improvement that is eye-catching.
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