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Facebook Swap-Meets Attract eBay Buyers and Sellers

Facebook is turning into an online swap-meet in Australia, according to the Sydney Morning Herald – and it’s become a magnet for eBay buyers and sellers.

“As more than 9 million Australians flock to Facebook every day, the social media giant has, quite inadvertently, become a major player in the e-commerce market. In addition to endless selfies, the site is now awash with online bazaars, as users hock everything from household items, to property, to personal services such as yoga classes, and to customised venetian blinds.”

The newspaper interviewed a former longtime eBay seller who made the switch because she got “sick of eBay fees.” But don’t expect to be able to join the Eastern Suburbs Buy Swap and Sell page she administers on Facebook. It’s a local pick-up only group – despite that, it has gained close to 10,000 members.

And that’s the appeal for shoppers: an administrator for another Facebook selling group said, “”The whole reason of not being on eBay is to avoid the postage fees. If you don’t mind driving to pick it up, we’ll usually let you in,” she said.”

EcommerceBytes has been covering the appeal of Facebook to online sellers and buyers for a number of years – Julia Wilkinson delved into it in this AuctionBytes Blog post in 2013, for example, and sellers have described their experiences using Facebook as a selling platform in the annual Sellers Choice awards.

But earlier this year, Facebook introduced new features to make it easier to buy and sell in Facebook Groups – “For Sale” group members can add a description of what they’re selling, add pricing, and set a pick-up/delivery location. Sellers can also mark posts as Available or Sold and easily view their catalog of items previously sold.

What’s news to us is that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “sellers can now also request a “recommendation” from buyers, similar to eBay’s rating system.” We’re asking Facebook about this, but if you’re familiar with the feature, send us an email and tell us about it.

The Sydney Morning Herald ends with a bit of a bummer: it quotes an expert saying sellers shouldn’t expect to be able to sell fee-free forever, as Facebook looks to monetize its site.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.