Turning to colleagues for advice is nothing new for online sellers who need help dealing with everything from difficult eBay buyers to Amazon category restrictions or various types of shipping advice – and in recent years, sellers are increasingly turning to Facebook groups for assistance.
We spoke to two participants of one such group called eBay Thrifters – Glen Buckingham and Mark Lowe – to find out why the group was started and why its nearly 25 moderators devote time to helping other sellers – over 50,000, according to the Facebook stats.
A Note about Ecommerce-Related Facebook Groups
Facebook selling groups run the gamut from the general (a group dedicated to a particular marketplace) to the specific (a particular category or a geographic location). Some groups are open while others are private, meaning you must wait to be approved by the group’s moderator.
Keep in mind that just because a group is private doesn’t mean you won’t find marketplace executives participating. One reader mentioned to us last year that she noticed eBay executives frequenting certain Facebook Groups because they are private – or as she said, “as private as Facebook can be.”
Another reason, she said: “because if something happens in the ecommerce world, it will show up on Facebook and spread throughout ALL the Groups like wildfire … long before it hits the eBay Forums.”
Case Study: eBay Thrifters
Glen Buckingham created Ebay Thrifters about 5 years ago, and anyone can join – and it’s not limited to discussions about eBay. What were his expectations going in? “Education, motivation, and a safe environment for questions – from the brand new seller to the veteran sellers alike – we hold to our mission statement with strict guidelines and rules.” He said the purpose of the group is not to sell, but to get together for strategies and support.
Mark Lowe said selling can be a lonely journey. “After a while friends and family get tired of hearing about our selling exploits. ET’s primary mission since day one I believe can be summed up as a great place for eBay, Amazon, and Etsy folks to compare notes and feel at home.”
Buckingham explained that as issues crop up, chances are that other members have experienced the same thing. “Oftentimes you can get a response within 30 minutes on anything from watches to cast Iron cooking ware to fine Art. Everybody is an expert on at least one subject.”
He compared it to having thousands of co-workers and a Virtual Office.
Lowe said one of reasons the group works is because of the power of Facebook, which is mobile-friendly; and the easygoing nature of the participants.
He volunteers his time to answer questions and share his expertise because he gets back far more advice and support than he gives. “I volunteer my time and feel that the moderators volunteer their time because we have mutual benefit of having our questions answered and the feeling of helping your fellow online retailer and developing friendships.”
Buckingham said one of the greatest benefits of his Facebook group versus the eBay or Amazon forums is the response time.
“Every day someone posts a testimonial on how the group gave them the motivation to start selling and they’ll post a screen capture of their 60 day total,” Lowe added. “It’s wonderful and beyond words to see the excitement of seeing new sellers with their success stories. On the flip side, lifting folks up with encouragement during times of a down turn. We’re all in it together.”
A version of this article appeared in the June 5th issue of EcommerceBytes 411.