Most of us go to Facebook to communicate with friends and read entertaining posts. However, did you know that with Facebook Marketplace you can buy and sell items on the social media site, too?
The Introduction of Facebook Marketplace
In October 2016, the Director of Product Management, Mary Ku, announced the launch of the new Facebook Marketplace on the site’s newsroom page. Ku described this new venture as “a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell things with people in your community.” She reports that Marketplace is an extension of the buying and selling popularized by Facebook groups.
According to the newsroom, Facebook will “continue to build new options and features to make it the best experience for people.”
Currently, Facebook Marketplace can be found on iPhone and Android through the shop icon at the bottom of the Facebook app. Available in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, the site will expand Marketplace to other countries and to its desktop version.
Included on this same webpage is a short video showing how people buy or sell items on Facebook Marketplace. The entertaining yet wordless video demonstrates how buyers and sellers post, search and use Messenger to negotiate deals.
Advantages of Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is similar to Craigslist in that both are venues and not involved in payment processing or shipping.
Marketplace, like Craigslist, is locally oriented. So, if you want to grow your business locally, Facebook Marketplace is a great place to do that. Buyers can filter their searches by location, as well as by item or by price. The built-in location tool adjusts the region in which buyers are searching or changes the search to a different city.
Facebook Marketplace, however, differs from other eCommerce sites in many ways. Visitors typically log onto Craigslist only when they want to shop. Social media users, however, spend “50 minutes per day on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram,” according to Josh Constine of Tech Crunch.
Facebook users are only one tap away from Marketplace, and they won’t become lost with various features on other sites. Talk about convenience! People are already on the site and will often explore Marketplace when they have time.
Another advantage of Marketplace lies in knowing from whom and where the item is coming. Since Facebook Marketplace is linked to your Facebook profile, buyers can see your name, general location and any additional information you choose to make visible in your profile.
As Lauren Eddy of Vicinity Marketing explains, “people like buying from people, so potential customers might be more likely to trust your brand if it’s fronted by your own personal Facebook profile.”
Sellers should ensure that your public profile paints you as a trustworthy person. Your profile should include a well-lit, smiling picture of yourself that is not offensive.
As Brent Freeman, Founder and President of Stealth Venture Labs and contributor to Entrepreneur, says, “Anything you buy has the potential to be connected by eight degrees of social media separation.”
Online purchasing on Facebook Marketplace from friends of friends builds a sense of trust not often associated with shopping on eBay or Craigslist. Shoppers will also enjoy the convenience and functionality of Messenger to learn more about your item or to negotiate price. With Facebook’s texting app right under their fingertips, potential buyers will not need to email you and await a response.
Facebook Marketplace Disadvantages
With the new use of Facebook Marketplace has also brought up some issues that will need to be addressed by the social-networking site. The problems include:
- Fraud Potential – Since Facebook is the go-between for buyers and sellers and does not process payments, the potential for fraud is concerning. Payments are typically made through PayPal or in cash upon a sale. In addition, paying this way means buyers cannot pay electronically within the Marketplace. “That’s a shame, because having a fast, secure way to pay would further facilitate the type of spontaneous shopping that makes up much of mobile e-commerce, and which Marketplace encourages through image-rich, easy-to-navigate browsing,” comments Tom Popomaronis of Forbes.com.
- Illegal Items – Despite some oversight over products, illegal items such as drugs and adult services have appeared regularly. Facebook blamed these postings on a technical issue.Mary Ku, Director of Product Management, said the company will more closely monitor systems to correctly identify and remove such items.
- Lack of Ratings and Reviews – Buyers and sellers are not yet able to rate or review each other. This issue matters because ratings and reviews persuade potential buyers to spend their money – or look elsewhere. Research has indicated that over half of online shoppers read reviews before purchasing.
- No Marketing – At this time, sellers on Facebook cannot pay the site to feature an item on Marketplace. Items cannot be targeted to a particular group of shoppers either.
- Individual Use Only – FB Marketplace is currently open to individuals only. Startups and online entrepreneurs may need to adjust their business strategies to remain on the eCommerce edge. Freeman offers four tips, such as using a fulfillment company for shipping, to keep a competitive edge until Facebook opens Marketplace to businesses.
Starting to Sell on Facebook Marketplace?
So, is Marketplace right for you as an online seller? If your answer is yes, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal of CNet offers practical tips for giving your postings the best shot at selling. Aside from perfecting your profile, try these:
- Post Great Pictures – Use real photos of your items, not stock photographs. Photos should be well-lit and free of background clutter. Take one photo to display the entire item. Then, take several photos to show details and different angles.
- Start on the High End, Then Negotiate – Research prices on other sites to have an idea of where to start the listing. Remember, though, that other sites offer more buyer protection and shoppers are willing to pay for it. Still, price items higher so that you have room to negotiate.
- Post Items Separately – Even if you have numerous items to sell, post each item separately to grab buyer’s attention. Since all items are linked to your Facebook account, you can mention that you have other items for sale so that potential buyers will look at those as well.
Jacobsson reminds you to settle all the sale details before transactions take place. Although Marketplace is associated with your Facebook account, meeting in a public place is recommended to avoid harmful situations or scams.
Let’s Discuss: Have you tried selling items on Facebook Marketplace? Share your experiences with us.
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