Sellers Choice 2016 Marketplace Ratings: Facebook
By Ina & David Steiner
In January 2016, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 16 online marketplaces included in the survey.
Ease of Use:
Would you recommend:
Facebook came in tenth place in the 2016 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces. This is the third year we opened up nominations to social networking platforms, and just as last year, Facebook and Pinterest received enough nominations from readers to make it into the final list.
Local Facebook sale groups are popular with some sellers. One seller explained how Facebook helps their brick-and-mortar store: "Having a "Fan Page" for my gift shop has really helped to get found by locals. I post items to show what we have and often those items will sell quickly."
"Great for selling on a "classified ad" type basis," wrote another seller.
Other seller use niche selling groups. As one seller explained, "Frankly, Facebook has a ways to go in the ecommerce area. It works really well if you're part of a Facebook "group" for a specific interest/hobby and market to that through the "sales" feature... aside from that, it's a bit of an uphill battle because people aren't used to thinking for Facebook as a shopping venue."
Some sellers said many buyers don't follow through and said there is no seller protection on Facebook.
One person said they wished it were easier to search for items and to find new groups in their area. Another seller said Facebook selling groups are "like a flea market in a parking lot. FB provides the parking space. You do everything else."
Aside from saying they use Facebook to sell hard-to-ship items, there was little mention of what types of items they do sell (or buy) on the platform. One seller did say it was a good place to sell clothing, household items and yard sale items, but not a good place to sell antiques and collectibles. "I still use FB to sell inexpensive items but don't waste my time on posting antiques or collectibles." Another seller said, "Antique and vintage items don't sell well on Facebook."
Sellers said they like the fact there are no fees involved in selling on Facebook. That works for some sellers, but one seller said, "It is so much work and time for the small amount of sales I get."
"If you've got a cute kitten video then the response is great. Trying to sell something? Not so much," wrote another seller.
One seller commented, "If only one could do direct transactions rather than "send me money" requests, it might garner a higher rating."
Facebook received a 4.56 in Profitability; a 3.98 in Customer Service; a 3.98 in Communication; and a 5.34 in Ease of Use. It received a 4.68 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend Facebook as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"
Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Great for local selling & promotion. Used seasonally and loved that there's no fees.
I've made a LOT of sales on Facebook (in groups). It has been very fun and very profitable for me, plus NO fees.
Facebook works! That's because you are selling to people you already know or are acquainted with.
Key is free....all my goods go to Facebook first for 4 days. I have 5000 friends that do what I do but...(big difference) im a design director ... I know how to shoot a photo.
I am new to this but have been very successful so far.
Easy to use. No communication from Facebook or support, but great for selling on a "classified ad" type basis.
If and when I sell something directly through Facebook, it is always profitable. I don't like the selling groups because they are too hard to keep up with. I wish they would just allow us to make listings on our business pages or even our personal pages if we want to.
I've only sold through private messages on Facebook and usually to someone I know in real life. So I have no idea how FB treats its sellers or buyers, I don't use any of their apps or let's just say none of the apps I have installed have had any sales.
I sell a lot of Facebook they only issue I really deal with is no shows but it comes with the territory. No fees and no dealing with insane admins.
I like Facebook's business pages, and the opportunity to boost posts through banner ads. FB has sharing buttons everywhere so promotion is easy. Many groups to join also. Easy to add galleries of pics. Pages somewhat cluttered unless visitor focuses on center of page. I expect my sales to increase through Facebook as I use it more often.
I don't have a Facebook Selling page as I use the local For Sale /Wanted Groups local to me to list my items. Then I have to wait in for item to be paid for/Collected which can be a pain. But handy for large household items that can't be posted.
Having a "Fan Page" for my gift shop has really helped to get found by locals. I post items to show what we have and often those items will sell quickly. I do not "boost" posts, but rather "share" them onto a few of the local group pages and a sometimes a friend will onto his/her own page as well. I generally will post photos of a shop section or type of goods rather than a single item because my goals are long-term. I want to get them into my gift shop not just buy a single item on-the-fly.
Easy to make arrangements and sell to local people.
LOVE selling on Facebook, only fees are thru PayPal.
Facebook selling pages are an easy way to move items, just lots of no-shows on people picking up items. Everyone wants a bargain and will usually try to get you to sell it for less, great for selling large items you can't mail.
Facebook is kinda the same as Craigslist. If you can sell your stuff cheap and meet unknown people then there can be some money made. These sites are kinda for selling items you just don't want anymore. Some people do pretty good selling here. The only bad thing is you can't reach a large number of buyers.
FREE!! FB selling groups ROCK!
I mainly use Facebook to sell large, fragile, or heavy items in a local market.
Plusses are ease of use, FREE to use, easy reach of local markets, more in competition with Craigslist. A minus is too much competition, and difficulty sorting items on the groups.
I use a store page to list items for sale both directly and with links my page on other sites I sell on, Discogs, eBay and Bonanza.
I use the Facebook Groups to buy and sell sometimes, but I've had a lot of no-shows or people giving low ball offers. I'd suggest it if someone wants to buy something, but I'll sell elsewhere.
It is not FB that gives people the service or communication as much as it is the person running the selling "group" It's like a flea market in a parking lot. FB provides the parking space. You do everything else.
Facebook has been great for local sales. I could see potential with customized apps. But it's hard to drive traffic to a niche page.
Easy and cheap way to sell items with few restrictions or rules. Downsides are no help if you have issues and you have to be great at promotion to be seen.
I've had some luck selling on local Facebook selling groups, but it's not for everything. Antique and vintage items don't sell well on Facebook, in my opinion.
I am one of the chosen lucky ones to participate in the Facebook selling, but having a store set up on my business page. I am seeing no additional traffic coming into my Facebook store courtesy of Facebook searches. To get traffic, I have to promote it to my fb business fans. I do not participate in any of the Facebook group sales activities.
Selling on Facebook garage sale groups is extremely easy, but I don't like having it tied to my personal profile. I also wish it were easier to search for items and get views, as well as find new groups in my area.
We have Facebook sales enabled through our website. Facebook drives some traffic to our website, but we've never had an actual sale on Facebook itself.
We use this site to promote our eBay listings, but do not use it to sell directly.
Seems that buyers like to look at pictures of each individual item and I can't do that with Facebook when I have over 20,000 item inventory.
I like Facebook selling. Very easy. But also easy for buyers to commit and never pay. You take the good with the bad.
Great venue to show things, but difficult to communicate with anyone. No real sales, but leads to sales of other items.
I was an admin of two Facebook selling sites for over a year. It is a great place to sell locally and there are no fees. It was a good place to sell clothing, household items and "yard sale" items. It was not a good place to sell antiques and collectibles. As an admin, I found FB to be VERY lax about responding to "technology issues" on their Sale Group sites. I never got more than a "canned" response to the issues I reported. I still use FB to sell inexpensive items but don't waste my time on posting antiques or collectibles.
Not ready for prime time. But if you manage to sell something, the profit is there.
Facebook has a lot going for it as a selling platform, unfortunately the place is so sloppily designed and hard to navigate, you'll likely give up long before becoming successful. The only decent sales I've had are from direct contact in groups. In this regard, it's far more helpful than Craigslist with the same basic structure. If only one could do direct transactions rather than "send me money" requests, it might garner a higher rating.
Facebook is tricky - right group at the right time. No auctioning - not as many people viewing as you'd get at a place like eBay.
I like the ease of listing on Facebook, but feel it is a lot like Craigslist, in that sellers are on their own. I use caution, and only sell locally on Facebook.
I keep trying to make Facebook profitable but it's just not happening, not even with ads and/or promoted posts. If you've got a cute kitten video then the response is great. Trying to sell something? Not so much.
The having to bump things is terrible and the fact they don't have individual pages or booths for sellers that have more than 5 things posted.
Very limited information can be added and returns on different types of ads run on Facebook have been a fat $0. It might be a great social media platform, but for selling items it's at the bottom of the list.
Facebook as a selling tool, can make many friends unfriend you and sales are super sluggish even though I have new items to sell.
Each "group" has its own administrators. You are responsible for your own sales and own protection. A bad buyer MIGHT be banned from the group, but unless you used PayPal, and insured your package, you have no seller protection.
Have spent a great deal of money with FB with little results.
Difficult to use; getting seen nearly impossible. Demographics favor low value "yardsale" type items. Postings get buried quickly.
Participated in advertising on Facebook, and sold 2 items in a three month trial period. Getting information was difficult, using the site was not easy either - it's all trial and error with no instructions.
From what I see from my own Facebook pages I am NOT getting any sales but I am posting in Facebook auction groups and getting a few sales but it is so much work and time for the small amount of sales I get.
I get a lot of referral sales on Facebook, but very little direct sales.
Just sell through the swap shops. Have done well although I have been burned several times with people not buying product after it is made.
Facebook, is not going anywhere, with sales. My business FB page's been active for 3 years there, we NEVER had ONE sale there at all, but now at least folks come to my stand alone website. :)
I feel that selling on Facebook is a real uphill battle. So many people to the social media selling things that it is hard to really separate out what you're interested in seeing
Facebook doesn't provide any rules or assistance. Sellers and customers are on their own.
Sold some things via offers in groups/posts but otherwise Facebook isn't a selling venue and Facebook staff aren't involved - no protection, it's more like unregulated classifieds
Only sold in Facebook groups. There is no communication with Facebook in the groups. Things in the groups sell for very little.
Sellers Choice Awards:
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About the author:
Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.
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