Have you tried selling something on Facebook and found the experience extremely frustrating due to the number of time wasters?
Well, you are not alone.
For the past few months, I have been using a combination of GumTree, eBay and Facebook Marketplace for second-hand parts. What I have found, frankly has been no real surprise to me and probably you too.
Facebook is full of time wasters, GumTree is slow, almost pointless and eBay, besides a few niggles, eBay just rocks.
The lure of Facebook Marketplace
If you didn’t already know, you can sell all your wares on FaceBook for free via their “FaceBook Marketplace”. Using this crude “Marketplace” you can add a limited number for images, set a location and add a description & price for what you’ve got to sell.
In theory, it’s a really good idea, billions of potential buyers, localised results, no fees (a massive lure compared to say eBay, Amazon or Etsy) and a messaging app natively built into the site too.
Is this not what we have all been dreaming of for years? A competitor large enough to challenge eBay, Amazon or even take a swing at Etsy.
What could be wrong with such marketplace?
Since February I have used the FB marketplace extensively and what I’ve found has been less than delightful.
Out of all the messages received, 95% of them have been from time wasters.
They are time wasters on the FaceBook marketplace for many different reasons, here are a few of the common ones I came across:
- Never replied after saying hello
- Only read the title and missed important information in the description
- Started a messenger conversation with a silly low offer (not even a hello most of the time)
- Used the marketplace post shared in a group to show how much of “an expert” they are
- Were guessing on compatibility
- Were plain rude or insulting (see photo for a recent example)
- Just plain didn’t turn up
Don’t get me wrong, I have met some lovely people because of the FB marketplace. Enthusiasts from around the UK and some really funny people too. I’ve certainly had some laughs along the way.
However, the amount of time wasted to just get that far has been obscene.
I frankly do not know how anyone could seriously use the FB marketplace to promote their products or services via in any shape or form. It’s been THAT bad.
People just are not on Facebook to buy
This is the fundamental flaw with the Facebook Marketplace is that people are not there to buy.
If you are on eBay, Amazon or Etsy, your purpose of being on these two sites is to buy or are about to buy a product. Both these sites are for the best part “product-oriented”.
Facebook is not product-oriented.
Note: Yes I am ignoring Amazon Video, Audible and other Amazon variants.
It’s totally understandable that Facebook added a marketplace to their offerings, in many ways it makes really good sense. An existing platform with an obscene number of users, a messenger app and the ability to send notifications to users and share things with other people.
In theory, it makes for a really good idea. Almost genius!
However, the reality is far, far from a good experience when compared to the likes of eBay, Amazon or Etsy.
With those marketplaces, they facilitate the whole buying experience. They allow a buyer to make a purchase and control the process the seller and buyer go through. Simply put, you actually buy something on these sites.
Whereas on Facebook marketplace you’re left to your own devices and this is where the wheels just fall off.
There is no buying option, there is no straightforward buying process, payments are left to “whatever” and accountability is pretty much lapse.
No wonder buyers aren’t committed to a purchase when the “marketplace” (which is not really a marketplace at all, it’s just a load of items random people have added with no real order at all and then left to sit) is not there to back anyone up. The buyer or the seller.
Combatting Facebook Marketplace time wasters
Soo…. if you are you are still interested in using or have been using the FB marketplace and want to spend less time with the time wasters, these tips should help you along the way, the last one is the key tip to culling time wasters in their tracks.
Tip #1 A Clear Product Title WITH the Condition
Unlike eBay or Amazon where you have to keyword spam the titles, with FB you can be more lapse and keeping them human-readable is the way to go.
Unless it’s completely obvious that the product is used or new, include the condition in the title at the beginning. This is definitely the right way to go as sometimes the person reading the title is not the sharpest tool in the box.
Tip #2 Use ALL the Images
Wow, this sounds like old-school eBay advice, however, it’s still applicable here for the FB marketplace as it is eBay & Amazon. Use every single image slot available to you.
Tip #3 The first sentence is ALL they see 99.9999% of the time
The way in which the FB marketplace shows a product description is extremely limited.
This is not just because of the severe lack of formatting options or the restrictive length of a description you can add, but because FaceBook limits the description to the first paragraph and then chop off the rest and show a “More” link that most people miss.
So if you’ve not been extremely clear in the first few words, yea, that buyer most likely did not even see the link to “More” let alone read what you wrote for the product description.
Side comparison: On eBay etc… the buyer has to scroll down. In some cases that can be too much even for an eBay buyer. However, on Facebook, the user must make a click action to click on that “More” link. That is probably too much for the average user browsing the FaceBook marketplace.
Tip #4 Copy & Paste Reply to ALL Messages
This tip alone has saved me hours of wasted time dealing with dead-beats.
Literally, copy & paste the below and then wait to see if they come back, if they do… chances are they’re not another lame Facebook marketplace time waster.
Hi, thanks for your interest. Due to the number of time-wasters I’ve had on FaceBook for other items, I have to ask, have you actually read the description for this item?
This one copy & paste reply I kid-you-not has saved me hours of not having to deal with time wasters or not having to answer things that were already covered in the description.
I am sure I am not the only one that has been dying for a new contender to appear to take on the likes of eBay, Etsy or even Amazon as a new sales platform. We all want that right? Especially a free one to use platform too!?
In theory, the Facebook Marketplace is a really good idea. I even suggested earlier, a genius one at that. However the reality is that there is no process for a buyer or seller to flow through, so what is left behind is utter carnage with frustrated sellers and half-hearted buyers.
Yes, I’ve sold a few items via the FaceBook marketplace, however, it has been a very, very painful process.
I cannot believe that I am about to say this… (and I’ve sold over 100,000 items on eBay in the past)
eBay buyers were a delight to work with compared to the Facebook marketplace time wasters.
Running at the same time, eBay outstripped sales compared to the FB marketplace by at least 70 times and with a lot less hassle too. Yes, we had the odd daft buyer along the way over there too, but generally speaking, eBay frankly ROCKED!.
Facebook marketplace, not a good experience.
So that’s my findings from the past few months with the Facebook marketplace. I do not see much hope for it improving any time soon due to the lack of buyer/seller processes that are inground into the likes of eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. I wished it could be better news.
One day FaceBook marketplace might be taken seriously, instead of faffing with cryptocurrencies and just getting the basics right.
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