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Sellers Choice 2019 Marketplace Ratings: Facebook

Facebook

Facebook came in 11th place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards. Buy-sell groups in niche categories were preferred by many over Marketplace; some sellers panned Facebook for its enforcement practices.

In January 2019, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 13,000 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 11 online marketplaces included in the survey.

Facebook - 2018 Sellers Choice Awards

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Facebook
Year Established: 2004
Description: General social networking site
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Summary:

Facebook came in 11th place in the 2019 Sellers Choice Awards. Sellers liked the fact that Facebook was free, but there were enough challenges in using the social networking site to sell on that it came last in this year’s Sellers Choice Awards.

In addition to Facebook Marketplace, sellers also sell in Facebook Groups, both local groups and by area of interest. (You can sell things in Facebook Groups that have the buy and sell feature turned on, which only an admin of the group can do.)

“Neighborhood Groups/Marketplace not that great. Some of the Buying/Selling pages in Niche areas seems okay,” wrote one seller. However, “I’ve not been very active /successful most of the offers are lowball offers,” they added.

One seller only sells through Facebook Groups and said they would never sell on Facebook Marketplace. “My new niche did not have a group, so I started one. Still small but I am selling like crazy to dedicated buyers who are avid buyers in this niche.”

Some of the pros of selling on Facebook are similar to those of selling on Craigslist – posting is free, and it’s good for selling large, hard-to-ship items. That is becoming every more important as sellers see the cost of shipping rise.

Not only can Facebook help sellers promote yard sales, but it can also generate traffic to off-Facebook listings: “Facebook helps attract potential customers to our website,” wrote one seller.

One seller saw the “ability to see customers profile” as a pro, but another didn’t like the commerce aspect tied to people’s profiles.

Some sellers said it’s extremely easy to sell on Facebook, others pointed to challenges, such as the reader who wrote, “I do think they need to improve their ad creation/management interface, as it is difficult to manage item photos, extend items that take a while to sell, etc.”

Another seller wrote, “There are no tools on the SHOP to allow you to arrange your items how you want.”

“Very easy to use; not enough tools, and selling across multiple groups and marketplace is difficult to navigate; would help if there was a single place to update listings in marketplace.”

Many of the cons are also similar to selling on Craigslist: security concerns, many questions from would-be buyers, no-shows (buyers not showing up when meeting is scheduled), and no customer service from the venue.

Facebook’s spam algorithm can flag legitimate items in error, such as removing a stuffed animal thinking it was a real animal, or for no apparent reason, sellers reported. “Facebook bots take down many ads mistakenly,” one seller wrote. Another wrote, “I can’t list anything name brand or it doesn’t show up, and they don’t respond to questions.”

Some of the items sellers said Facebook had blocked: supplements and diecast collectible cars, a fabric stuffed crow, old milk bottles and “a painting from Haiti.” Sellers said Facebook doesn’t respond to questions about the reason behind takedowns, nor does it allow those sellers to appeal the decision.

And it can escalate – “If you mess up and mistakenly list something that’s not allowed, they will LITERALLY kick you off the site no questions asked. You don’t get a warning (or an explanation) in many cases until it’s too late.”

While some cited Facebook’s “hands-off” approach as a pro, it could also be seen by some as a con: “Another hands-off venue. Wild west at this point. A tad better than Craigslist since you have to have a Facebook account to sell there and can get a little info on the person interested in your item. Still not much in the way of security or customer service.”

Several sellers were critical of Facebook advertising. “I used to pay $10 to promote a post and I’d get $100 in sales from it. But now if I pay to promote, I get nothing in return.”

And another said, “Traffic is there on Facebook, but unless you hand them you bank account for the fees they charge on advertising it’s not very profitable for the small guy,…”

“You have to have a very good online following, as FB does not like to put your items in the newsfeed unless you pay for advertising,” said another.

Facebook received a 5.85 in Profitability; a 3.88 in Customer Service; a 3.94 in Communication; and a 6.42 in Ease of Use. It received a 5.45 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

I love Facebook sales. Not only local selling groups, but there are many antique/vintage selling groups as well. I’ve made a decent amount of sales via Facebook, so it’s worth the effort.

It’s fast and easy to use Facebook marketplace. I have no idea how to contact someone if I needed help. FB does not make it transparent on how to get help. Other than notifications from potential buyers, there is no communication from FB. If I need quick cash or need to sell furniture, this is where I go.

I have never had to use Facebook Customer service, so I cannot rate that. BUT, Ease of use is the best BAR NONE. I mean take a picture, description post, local buyers, no shipping involved! I have made a ton of cash here. I post most of my bigger items here.

Best part of FB Marketplace is that is it FREE to sellers.

Facebook is filled with groups of collectors of certain items, easy to join a group and start selling to a certain niche of collectors, also sell larger items we don’t want to ship on local group pages and Marketplace. Facebook is also the best place to post ads if you are having a yard sale to clear out stale inventory, can get more yard sale traffic from Facebook than any other way of advertising

I mostly advertise on FB and sell from my biz page. It drives traffic greatly! Customer service is no good.

I sell in lots of Facebook groups and it has worked out very well. Better than eBay with no fees!!!

This could be the future, viral potential ease of use and potential to reach more than any other site.

I sell a lot in Facebook groups. It has worked out well for me and is much more profitable than selling on eBay because there are no fees. Plus, I have met some very nice neighbors as I sell locally!

Facebook is ok to sell close to your home.

I really put a lot of effort into Facebook this year, and it showed! By November 2018 I was making more on Facebook than Etsy, Amazon and eBay combined. My new niche did not have a group, so I started one. Still small but I am selling like crazy to dedicated buyers who are avid buyers in this niche. Many of my customers are now good friends and enjoy talking to them outside of my niche! Also I sell in about 20 other groups, all are also niche subjects which I have some products that are perfect to sell in those groups. The sales just add up. The only negative about Facebook, no customer service and no direct communication with anyone at Facebook! Oh by the way, I don’t sell on marketplace (I refuse to sell there), all are groups. So I am very pleased and plan on increasing my presence on Facebook in 2019.

Like Craigslist, it’s free, and has wide-spread traffic. Free advertising with no commission.

Sold a lot of things this way. I KEEP ALL my sales, (with the exception of PayPal.)

Facebook is a decent venue for selling low value items locally, assuming those items have a generally high demand. It is not good for getting top dollar, especially if the item you are selling can be cost-effectively shipped.

Again, my merch isn’t flying off the walls on this site, but I have far more sales on this site than others. It’s FREE to advertise. But, like CG, the preset is geographically close. One has to remember to set the area to a wider range to get more options.

The price is right. I’ve had good success selling household cast-offs, but haven’t been able to get good prices for stuff. Still, it’s more lucrative than a garage sale, and I don’t have to keep stuff sitting around the house forever waiting to have enough inventory for a garage sale.

I started using Facebook Marketplace for sales this past year or so. It is, like Craigslist, better for larger or higher-dollar items. I do not list small items or low-dollar items on FB. I do think they need to improve their ad creation/management interface, as it is difficult to manage item photos, extend items that take a while to sell, etc.

Large amounts of customers, ease of site, no fees, have to meet customers to make sale transaction, ability to see customers profile.

Absolutely excellent. Selling items there that unable to sell on the pricey sites. Very easy to cross sell on local sites. Straight forward policies.

80% of my sales are now with FB Marketplace. Luckily come from a small community 40,000 people and it works out great. I started selling FB Marketplace June 2018. Usually have about 200 items on it. I don’t ship yet, however, I do get many request to do so.

I’ve used the marketplace on Facebook and sold what I listed but it took some time. I liked the amount of traffic and that it has no fees.

Fairly new to Facebook as a selling platform but I do know that listing items is confusing and communication with Facebook is impossible (do they have a way to reach them???) I think Facebook is a fantastic platform and a way to reach lots of people so I will continue to try to use them I just wish there was place I could go or someone I could talk too that could help with questions.

I just recently used Facebook as a selling venue. I did make a very nice sale but I found that there was very little communication from Facebook regarding the listing or the sale. I don’t think I would recommend them to anyone just yet. I do like that it is free to use and listing an item was pretty easy. I will continue to use them for items that are large or heavy and need to be picked up locally as shipping rates have become unreasonable.

I’ve sold on Facebook through groups, and also in the Marketplace. Groups is fine because the admins and moderators keep flaky buyers away. With Marketplace, once I list an item I constantly get ‘Is this available?’ messages from buyers who are looking, but not buying. Since it’s a face-to-face venue, I only use it for large items I can’t ship.

Easy to use platform. Can be profitable if used properly. Customer service basically nonexistent.

I believe Facebook is the up and coming venue, along with Instagram. However, their seller support is completely nonexistent. There are no tools on the SHOP to allow you to arrange your items how you want. Their product review algorithm gets it wrong 25% of the time and there’s no grievance process. So they have a LOT of work to do on the admin and support side. It’s a shame it’s as primitive as it is because there’s so much potential. The marketplace is somewhat better, but I don’t have much experience with it as a seller.

Absolutely awesome sales on Facebook. None of the limitations and hidden listing situations as found on eBay and one can sell merchandise that can’t be listed on Etsy or eBay with no problem. Buyers have plenty of payment options and are not limited to platforms with bad reputations such as PayPal.

Need more clear instructions on how to sell on Facebook…the use of closed marketplaces is wonderful for niche items.

I use Facebook to post articles about the niches I serve. It garners little business, but does round out your online presence. Facebook is niche driven, but you can hyper target your audience.

I have only sold a few items on Facebook. They were all larger, heavy items that I would never ship. They all sold. Nothing special about selling on Facebook, it is what it is.

Facebook reaches a lot of people and charges no fees, but there’s always the safety issue of having people come to my home.

I seem to sell a few things a month, but like Craigslist people say, they want something and then either don’t show up or you never hear from them again.

Just started in December. Have had several sales, keeping all but the cost of goods in my pocket. I’m referring the Facebook Marketplace. Downside? People want to pay less than eBay, lots of messages “Is this still available?” that go nowhere, no way to “sort” searches other than price ranges, no one to contact at Facebook, and listings being flagged for stupid things such as “animal print top” being flagged as potentially selling an animal. Also, way too much new product advertising.

No fees is nice. I have sold a few things on Marketplace, but I hate meeting up with people.

I have sold items on FB and there are no fees involved, however there are a lot of non payers and unlike eBay, there is no way to take action on them. Facebook bots take down many ads mistakenly.

Facebook is great to promote my other selling channels but after “selling” on Facebook for 4 years, I haven’t sold one item.

Just a complete waste of time. It is easy to sell but not safe or secure.

Again, never been successful here. Also I think it is too easy for people to use this as a way to sell their products without properly paying business fees.

Facebook was easier before they changed the sell button on your business page, now I only use it to showcase designs.

We have Facebook Marketplace but it seems to be a lot like craigslist. Customers that do approach us there think we are selling our products as if they are used – our products are new so… this just isn’t a workable marketplace for us.

Facebook is a place where people go for attention and have too much time on their hands – do I list items there? Yes I do. Realistically I have absolutely no clue why. NEVER have sold anything on Facebook. Guess that puts me in the same place as all the other lonely losers on Facebook. I think that at one point in time they had a horrific chance to do something there, but the opportunity has escaped them now – what a shame.

I do not like selling on Facebook. To many automated “Is this available?” questions that nobody ever follows up on. Over half the people never show up when they agree to meet. When they do show up, half the time they either change their mind or try to offer less than they agreed on. Waste of time. Only use on items too big to ship and still do better on Craigslist. I live in a small town, that does seem to affect both sites.

Free, easy to use , good for local sales/low priced produce. Not always clear but some listings are banned. Duplicate errors on Marketplace annoying and time consuming

I list in groups, marketplace and my Facebook shop. A year ago, sales were extremely good….now just like eBay…marketplace items get no views…groups don’t have much activity…as I type this it makes me wonder if my IP address has been flagged for some reason….because sales used to be really great but are no more.

Decent traffic & low fees, but no control over anything and very poor communication. People make rude comments on your listings, so you need to moderate the comments fairly often.

I used to sell on Facebook exclusively but found so much of my time being taken by people that ultimately don’t buy, Because you are called “friends” people ask for discounts, extra time to pay, and so on. Many people ask to hold things and then don’t pay. It was a huge hassle selling on Facebook and I don’t miss it at all.

Very difficult to navigate and quite simply put, it is designed to confuse the seller so seller falls into a continuous fee cycle.

The site administrator is in charge and they are hard to please sometimes. It can be profitable, but your listings get buried. You can refresh them. Buyers do not show up at meets often.

Facebook is plagued buy a lot of buyers looking for someone to stressed financially.

I don’t get a ton of sales on Facebook but I have gotten some. It’s the primary place I advertise for social media. In fact I manage the social media postings of 4 business pages there and get paid monthly to do that for one of those. Currently I’m not using their paid advertising because something changed and I don’t get the exposure I used to. I used to pay $10 to promote a post and I’d get $100 in sales from it. But now if I pay to promote, I get nothing in return. Very Sad. But I’m told it’s the best exposure to people on the internet and potential customers, so I keep posting there.

There is no customer service – if you have a question your SOL – no one is going to answer. However it’s free and people buy.

I advertise in our local polk county swap shop things which we have quite a few. I’ve never had a store on Facebook. I had no problems and was doing really well directing people to the storefront when I have my physical items until 2018. They started blocking my listings for my supplements and I don’t know why. I’ve appealed, repeatedly changed titles, redid pictures, anything I could think of. I asked what is the problem? No response none. For awhile I had my die cast collectors cars blocked. What? I told them they are basically a toy not a bomb or illegal drug but a car with the paperwork. No answer but now they show. Idk.

I live in the ninth largest city in the US, so Facebook is not a good option for me because our city is so large that people can be an hour away. When I sell on Facebook at my parents, who live in a smaller town, things sell well. Pick up is easy and the options are small

Too many false communicates, people who ask and don’t follow thru. Facebook pulls too much that they consider in violation, such as old milk bottles and a painting from Haiti, all were in violation, you can resubmit to them a form if you feel they made some sort of error in judgement.

Facebook has made it easy to list items for sale in local yardsale and selling groups and have the items listed on their Marketplace at the same time. I don’t have to pay any fees and that is very nice. But,… it’s surely not easy to search for items and it’s not buyer friendly, in my opinion. There needs to be more improvements.

Overall crappy experience, the whole thing is very geared towards using your personal profile, which is not a very good feature at all. I don’t want to link my business with a profile for friends and family. The customer base is not great, I think it is a dying platform, unsecured with constant data leaks, very invasive and intrusive.

Harder to follow and keep track of listings on marketplace, I preferred it when it was selling in smaller Facebook groups, now they have marketplace.

If someone I know is on Facebook and has items to sell, I do encourage them to use it. If someone I know is NOT on Facebook, I would encourage them to stick to their principles and sell another way. Facebook is user friendly and extremely popular but comes with too much drama. I had good selling experience with Facebook but not good personal experience. So I’m no longer on Facebook.

Facebook’s algorithms defeat seller’s interests. There is no such thing as communicating with Facebook.

I find it difficult to manage selling on FB. You have to have a very good online following, as FB does not like to put your items in the newsfeed unless you pay for advertising.

Facebook USED to be very profitable for me before they made changes that affect the way group posts are displayed, i.e. they automatically show the posts that have the most comments instead of the most recent. Users can change that, but most aren’t aware, so a brand new post may be the 20th post down the line and isn’t seen. Many sellers are too lazy to take their post down or mark it sold when they no longer have the item, and monitoring/deletion of old and/or duplicate posts is rare so the sales groups are clogged with posts that bog the page down when loading. I do use it on occasion when I have items that are too heavy or bulky to ship. I will be using the local groups in the near future to advertise my ecommerce store.

Facebook has NO customer service. You cannot actually speak with someone. Everything reply message is automated and FB Block you for NO Reason.

Fees. The click fees are too high. Traffic is there on Facebook, but unless you hand them you bank account for the fees they charge on advertising it’s not very profitable for the small guy who is struggling to make a profit because they have no startup funds or not a high budget on marketing. Advertising on Facebook is dream unless you have the wallet size of a country or Corp business

Facebook pulls and blocks listings for no good reason, and now the ad posts cover individual sellers’ items, so many items go unseen. I can’t list anything name brand or it doesn’t show up and they don’t respond to questions.

They don’t reply to you when you inquire as to why an item was removed for sale, and then when you say something to them more harsh because of them not replying about it, then they do finally reply but toss you out as payback for complaining of their not answering your questions. Or at least that is what they did to me.

Facebook spam algorithms need work. Several legitimate postings are incorrectly restricted as spam.

Facebook is terrible. The whole system is like it’s in Beta – glitchy, no removal of inactive listings, no contact information on most listings, no ability to sort, no real categories, yuck. You can tell the UI is an incomplete afterthought skin, added to dupe and distract people while they collect information on their search history and attempted communication to sell advertising to 3rd parties. Communication seems to rarely be sent or received. Don’t relish the idea of sharing my personal information with anyone in the pre-sale communication, even if they end up being a paying buyer. Bad idea. Like craigslist, but 100 times worse. Did not replace it with anything better, but made it more jumbled and worse. Overall crap that needs to be scrapped and redone entirely with some actual focus.

FB selling groups can be very good or a waste of time. FB Marketplace is a total waste of time as a seller, however I’ve bought a few things there! I don’t think FB has a clue what customer service is or how to provide it. What communication? When they remove a post for a primitive stuffed crow (fabric!!!) because they think I’m selling a dead animal?! They did the same thing to a friend who paints the most adorable mice! The also put me in FB Jail last year for 3 days because I’d posted 3 Etsy links to one group too quickly … so they apparently thought I was a bot. There was NO WAY to appeal this!!! FB advertising is a waste of time and money. Oh, and I’ve been trying for MORE THAN A YEAR to integrate my “FB Shop” (on my business page) with IG (Instagram) so that I will have shoppable posts on IG. I’ve followed every direction I’ve been given, but I still can’t get approved by IG, but they have even LESS customer service than FB (yeah, I know FB owns IG), because they don’t reply at all, even with an automated reply.

Facebook is OK as a selling site. But if you mess up and mistakenly list something that’s not allowed they will LITERALLY kick you off the site no questions asked. You don’t get a warning (or an explanation) in many cases until it’s too late. Case in point….they don’t allow “animal” sales. Sounds normal in theory. But try listing anything with ANY kind of animal name in the title on marketplace (like a concrete turtle or dog). OR try listing something having to do with horses (like spurs, straps, bits, bridles etc). They have their “rules” wound so tight that you can easily get caught up in having your items flagged by the “bots”. Too many of those and you find yourself suspended. And when that happens GOOD LUCK trying to find a real person to appeal to. And WHATEVER you do never….EVER make the mistake of listing anything that could be VERO. I stupidly listed a handmade plasma cutout Iron Harley sign my husband bought at a flea market and listed it without thinking and was PERMANENTLY kicked off the site. FIRST offense (I swear)…NO appeals and NO questions asked. Lost my long time personal Facebook acct over it. And again, there is virtually NO WAY to ever talk to a “real” person to appeal. You’re just SOL when it happens. Pretty much 1 strike and you’re OUT.

If you like dealing with idiots this is the go to place. Sell things here in garage sale groups that are not economical to ship. Had easily two DOZEN folks arrange to meet to buy and then just not show up.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the Sellers Choice Awards, please feel free to post them below.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.