EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 399 - February 12, 2017 - ISSN 1528-6703     12 of 0

Sellers Choice 2017 Marketplace Ratings: Facebook

By Ina & David Steiner

Email This Story to a Friend

In January 2017, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 10,000 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 10 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

Facebook
Year Established: 2004
Description: General social networking site
More Info

Summary:
Facebook came in tenth place in the 2017 Sellers Choice Awards for Online Marketplaces, the same placement as last year. Depending on how they use it, some see Facebook as a social networking site, an ad platform, or a classified site - with some holding out hope it will become a real selling platform.

Many people use Facebook the same way they use classifieds sites, and as we noted last year, local Facebook sale groups and niche groups are popular with some sellers.

"I list items in the various selling groups directing to PM (Private Message) me or go to my website," wrote one seller. "Keeps my name out there."

But as shoppers on classifieds sites, Facebook buyers expect low prices. "I use FB Marketplace as well as local selling groups. It is profitable but I do find that I have to factor in that 90% of the people want to knock down your price." Another wrote, "Tried Facebook selling for the first time last year. Selling prices were low, sales were low - I quit."

One respondent said while Facebook was fine to use as you would a classifieds site, they saw the potential for more: "It would be nice if you were able to sell online right from your store page with a shopping cart and all the rest."

Some sellers who tried Facebook's advertising program seemed underwhelmed:

"It's really JUST OKAY. That is it. I spend about 50 to 100 dollars a month on advertising with no steady results," said one respondent.

Another said, "While you can segment your advertising better on Facebook than anywhere else, unless you have a large ad budget and a team to produce slick videos, it's next too impossible to advertise on FB now as a small business and have it produce any sales results, let alone profitable results."

Several respondents noted their dissatisfaction with having to use business features with a personal account.

Several who use Facebook Marketplace app said they wished they could use it on the desktop, as it was difficult to manage using their phone.

Some sellers said buyers don't follow through by paying for purchases and said there is no seller protection on Facebook.

Facebook received a 4.47 in Profitability; a 3.77 in Customer Service; a 3.75 in Communication; and a 5.12 in Ease of Use. It received a 4.58 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 really like Facebook, lots of options and sales only result in fees from PayPal.

Selling in the Facebook is easy. I hope Facebook can grow better.

There is a HUGE customer base, and advertisements go very far in getting customers.

Another good way to get rid of items quickly. You need to be careful if meeting people face to face, but if your model involves shipping items, it can be one of the easiest and most profitable ways to sell things.

Facebook, is great for those local sales, it is good for getting the word out, and ease of use great. Customer service is close to none and their sites tend to get clogged up with all the different sellers, but we will continue to sell here, as long as it stays free.

Have only sold through local Facebook groups and I like it. Easy to use and no part of profit goes to Facebook.

I have enjoyed more selling success on Facebook than any other venue. I just wish Facebook would get the ability to post and manage items on laptops and PCs. It is difficult and tedious to edit and enter good descriptions on the smart phone. And, it is also hard to get good clear photographs of the items you are selling using a smart phone.

I've only recently started adding items to Facebook so my experience is somewhat limited to date. Profit per item is good and the minimum customer service I've needed has been good.

Facebook groups are the best. I've sold more through groups then in several years on all the other sites including eBay, and selling within the groups is free!!!!

Focused FB Groups lets you sell to serious collectors. Self-policing by Group Admins eliminates the problems endemic in other venues.

Depends on local market. Have not yet found an easy way to check on all my listings across the yardsale websites.

Have not been able to sell anything on Facebook although I have tried.

I find Facebook confusing with respect to trying to promote my products there.

Like Craigslist, there is no customer service as a seller, and all communication is between buyer and seller. They have recently made a change to where once you list an item in one group, you can check boxes to list it in others; however, if you want to update anything, you have to go into each group and each item individually. However, I have found it to be a very good place to sell certain items locally.

The Facebook fan page store is easy to use but you cannot set your own terms and conditions for shipping/returns. Turns me off of selling there. However, promoting my Etsy shop through groups has been really good.

Some folks I know are doing well here. The site is not set up for sellers, and you have to use your personal account to do business. You should be allowed to open a business account and join groups under that name. You should also be allowed to create a sales booth instead of an album. Groups are great for communicating with other sellers, but not so much for selling itself.

Arranging a drop-off time is usually the hardest part. Some people transfer personal information online when doing this, and don't realize what they are doing.

I don't like the way Facebook has it's marketplace set up. I would love to see more than just distance from me...I want to see the newest posted first. Also would like to be able to list items from my desktop not just my phone.

Facebook is great to reach local buyers. It can be hard to learn how to use the site to sell products or create ads. Also once you create and boost an ad you cannot edit it or change it - so if you make a mistake you cannot correct it. Facebook has regularly been extremely rude to us when we request help with our products, it can take a week or more to get a response from support. We would only recommend it as an add-on channel.

They don't give much communication, but you don't need much. As long as you are not selling anything illegal or using someone else's intellectual properties they are unrestrictive. I actually use Facebook to advertise my products on the main auction sites.

I sell a lot on Facebook and admin several groups. There have been occasional glitches and sometimes the search function hasn't worked well...but overall. ..it has been very easy to use for me.

Facebook is like Craigslist - easy to post items, however the buyers tend to be folks looking for low priced items to resell (at least in my categories). Unless the page moderator is on the ball, nothing is done about non paying buyers.

Facebook continues to place limitations and procedures that reduces profits and make it more difficult for a seller to get their foot in the door thus favoring big sellers and against small sellers plus if they ban you for some reason - they do not tell you why, etc making communication, ease and customer support poor.

If you're a social media person this platform may be good because of your own marketing but if you depend on FB marketing it's expensive and flooded making to efforts easily ignored.

I use Facebook only for advertising what I just posted in any one of my 3 venues. It connected to my personal page which I don't like and recently received 3 emails from Facebook, sent them an email asking if they really sent them or if it was a scam and never got any communication back! I assumed it was a scam. I'm not going to pay them to advertise as I'd rather put effort into Etsy, Bonanza, or eBay. I don't make that much off my items to pay for any extra advertising.

I haven't been able to reach the audience I anticipated using Facebook as a sales channel.

Facebook is not seller friendly. We were kicked off when we first started and had no clue why. No warning - no, "hey that is not allowed." I had to contact the site moderator to ask why. Only to find out I put photos in wrong place. A quick message would have been appreciated and resolved the issue without termination. For a first-time user it was very confusing.

Market isn't as wide for local items as for items selling to a non-local market. FB communication and customer service is basically non-existent in my experience.

Waiting to meet up with a buyer is a pain some don't show and ends up to be a waste of time but is good to get rid of large items that are difficult to ship.

Listed many items, and had no sales, but was swamped with tons of low-ball offers on all of our items. Have since closed my Facebook account and would not recommend it to anyone.

I use the buy sell trade and have a store, but only did a couple sales on the store. They need to put a decent shipping module in place to make it effective or at least give the option to charge additional shipping on each item.

They say Facebook is a good way to get your products out there. I must be doing something wrong. My entire line of 2000 products are listed on Facebook that is connected to my BigCommerce store. Advertising is very expensive but I did spend money over the holidays but still got no sales. Facebook has no customer service that I am aware of and their help pages are a joke. If I could only determine if I have it set up correctly???

I think they still have some work to do. The selling app doesn't work well if at all in Firefox. I always have to use a different browser to work on things. I have never actually sold through app! But I do sell directly from Facebook, buy people seeing my things and just asking to buy them! Customer service is slow, and they don't always get the question.....or answer it correctly.....frustrating!

It's easy enough to list items for sale in the various groups, but it's impossible to keep track of all of the things that you have listed in this, that, and whatever group. Then the other members of the groups are posting their items and everything is just in one big UNORGANIZED mess!!! There's no way of searching by keyword, category, seller, etc. There's no way for me to keep track of it all and so it is not a profitable way for me to sell if I have to spend so much time trying to stay on top of things.

Never had a single sale while adding items on there, but was swamped with low-ball offers for our items. Would not consider Facebook as a selling venue.

Chronologic listing - no search feature - items get lost in the listing. Almost have to have the person looking for your item on line and watching at the same time you post for successful sales.

I did sell on Facebook's seller venue and did zero for four months I had it. They keep wanting more and more money from you to step up or promote. I have done well on there just offering in special groups the items I have and they want. No fees no fuss. If someone is not upfront or honest out of the group they go. Chances of them moving to another similar group does not float since someone will out them on past performance

I have a business page on Facebook. I haven't paid for advertising. I belong to a couple of private selling groups (dolls), and my posts are advertising. I refer them to my ebay listings. Facebook keeps changing the format and messing with my photos. They never tell you what the changes are or give any warning. They bombard me with opportunities to pay for ads.

Hard to get anyone from Facebook to talk with you or get an answer unless you call. Would love an easy email or chat program. Dislike the fact that FB wants $$$ or we can't be seen....#Sad

I have had no real luck selling on Facebook. Listing to their new Marketplace was a total headache. I attempted to open a store and changed my mind rather quickly. I notice some folks do great in their own groups. Maybe the selling features work great for some people, but not in my experience.

The ads on Facebook are a waste of money. The selling on Facebook is best when found in groups and left alone by Facebook. I suppose, like all platforms who want money, they will figure out how to involve themselves in the transaction. For now, it's profitable. Plus, you have a dedicated audience in a group that you cannot find anywhere else.

I would like the upload of pics to be easier here, not just from the gallery on my camera, which is where FB automatically goes. There's no way to get pics from, say, Google photos. I'd also like to be able to put in as many pics as other places, but here it's only one in marketplace or a few in selling groups. I do like that on FB you are seeing the person and their profile, it makes me feel a little more safe about meeting them. I do mention that I'll ship but so far it's only been local people buying from me. I also like that they have an automatic reminder after 7 days that I can repost as written, or on any random day I can change the ad, and it will pop up to the front of the feed.

Problem with Facebook is, unlike Craigslist or Letgo, your listing vanishes so quickly due to the sheer number is listings being posted that prospective buyers are not even seeing your items. Great concept, but depending on your location - not working well and definitely not a profit maker. Good place to sell an unwanted item when top dollar or flipping is not a concern.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
All other use is prohibited.