Gale, an online seller based in Oklahoma, has sold more since early December in her local Facebook local "online yard sale" selling group than she has in four years on Bonanza. And while granted, she did not list big or bulky items on Bonanza because of the hassle and expense of shipping, compared to major online selling venues, she says, "the local Facebook group just makes selling a lot simpler."
This and other such Facebook local yard sale groups have been growing in popularity: Gale's local county group is up to almost 10,000 members. And selling this way has many benefits. Among these are: no fees, no shipping, no promoting, etc.: just a few photos, a short description, price and wait for a buyer, she says. And of course, it makes more sense to list large, heavy items on a site like this. "I believe there is a great opportunity for some sellers of miscellaneous stuff or large items using a local Facebook group," she says. (You can see some of Gale's recently sold items here).
Facebook brings more of a personal and interactive component to sales. "And compared with Craigslist, about the only difference is you can be chatting live with a potential buyer or a seller," says Gale. You can also "bump" your post (make it more prominent/higher up on the list of posts by making a comment under it) more easily than on Craigslist, which has strict rules about reposting.
Plus, with local online selling groups, the burden of promotion is not there, because your buyers are inherently more qualified to buy from you because of their proximity and their very membership in the group. "In my opinion, to be successful on the major venues, you must meet too many requirements, such as "promoting" - Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Blog, Forums, etc.," she says. "Then there are requirements for traits, attributes, MPN, EAN, UPC, ISBN, etc."
In this Examiner article about the growing popularity of such sites, Debi Walstad writes, "What draws many individuals to these online groups is the ease of selling an item in a single post, while finding great deals on other things posted. Facebook yard sales focus on a specific area (typically within reasonable driving distance) and tend to grow quickly as members of the group share it with their friends.
She touts the additional benefits as, among others:
- Make money from home by selling items you no longer need.
- Post items at your own convenience (no need to stand outside all Saturday).
- No listing fees and typically no shipping fees involved.
- Being a social networking site, it's simple to communicate with the seller or buyer through messaging questions and contact information.
- Opportunity to meet new people that you exchange items with.
Among her advice on how to list your items (please note, each Facebook local site will likely have its own set up rules posted as a FAQ or about file), she suggests posting a brief, but clear description of the item, its condition, price and its relevant features.
"Include a clear picture of the item and/or a link to the item on a website that sells it new to give interested buyers more information. Specify what city you live in so potential buyers will know where they would need to pick the item up from."
Also keep in mind, another type of Facebook group selling site to consider is one that specializes in a certain niche or brand, such as the Re-Lilly Group I've posted about before, which only deals in Lilly Pulitzer brand items.
Have you tried selling something from a local Facebook group, and if so how was your experience? If not, is it something you would try, and why or why not? Post a comment here!