As a natural lover of money and hater of waste, I found that selling my old stuff was an obvious way to get it out of my house. Unwanted stuff leaves; wanted money arrives.
After I got married, I turned to Gumtree to sell all the wedding props and accessories that I no longer wanted to clutter up my loft. I had great success here yet found that some items were easier to sell than others.
When Facebook launched it’s current version of “Marketplace” back in October 2016, I was about to start applying the Konmari method to my home. Therefore, I need a good exit strategy and Facebook was there to help me out.
What is Facebook Marketplace?
Within your Facebook account there is a place where you can list items to sell. Think of it as a modern way of placing an ad in your local corner shop window or leaving a sign on your old bike on your driveway.
The difference is it is available on a platform that you are already familiar with, you can target people to see your listing and you don’t even have to leave your home.
Where can I find Facebook Marketplace?
The device you are using to access Facebook will change where you can find the Marketplace. If you are accessing it through a desktop or laptop computer, then from your Facebook homepage you should able to find Marketplace in the top few menu items on the left-hand side. It should look like this.
On your phone you will need to look for the Marketplace symbol. In the picture below you can see it is a small white and green shop. Find this and click on it and it will take you to a selection of listings.
How to sell an item on Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook makes this part truly simple. You can do this from your PC or from your phone which makes the process very slick.
Once you are in Facebook Marketplace, you’ll need to locate the button the either says “Sell” or “Sell Something”. This will then provide you with a box with sections to complete. Just like this one.
At its most basic level you complete the form and click post and you are done. Facebook will normally ask you where you want to share your post to. At this point you can choose to sell in any local selling groups or in a specialist group, but I’ll get to that later.
How to get your listings seen?
First tip here is to use good quality photos. This is the main reason people will click on your listing. Your phone camera will be fine but try to take pictures in natural light, away from shadows and with a neutral background. Aim for at least four images and use this as an opportunity to display the items best features as well as any markings or defects you wish to alert a potential buyer to.
Think about what images you would like to see as a potential buyer and capture those images to add to the listing. This might mean images from several different angles. Inside and out.
Secondly, think careful about what you call the item you are selling. “Old boots” is not going to attract the same interest as “Ladies Black Leather Boots Size 6”. If it is a branded item include that too. Think carefully about what people might type in to find what you are selling and use that to name your item.
Finally, use the description to your advantage. Use this space to tell people about the condition of the item you are selling. How has it been used? Did you make it? Why are you selling it? Is there anything you want to tell people about this item? It is also an opportunity to explain any other conditions of the sale. For example, does the price include postage? What forms of payment will you accept?
What to sell on Facebook Marketplace?
I have sold all sorts on Facebook Marketplace from valuable computer components to the kids’ old clothes. There is always someone on Facebook who wants to buy your stuff.
The trick to Facebook Marketplace is where you advertise your listings. Facebook has lots of groups and many of these exist as a place for people to sell their stuff. Of these groups they range from the very vague “Unwanted stuff in [your local town]” to the more specific “Unwanted baby clothes and toys in [your local town]” to the super niche “Harry Potter themed baby carriers and accessories”.
Finding the right groups to sell your items is key. And, I’ve found that the more specific the group the more likely you are to get paid a good price for what you are selling.
To give some examples, if I were selling my daughters’ old baby clothes, I would likely look for a few local baby themed selling groups. If I were selling an unwanted TV stand, I’d just stick this on a local selling group for random stuff. However, if I wanted to sell a branded wooden toy, then I would find a group for selling that brand and list it there.
Facebook is quite unique in that you can target the people that you want to see your item. You can literally dangle it in front of their eyes without getting off the sofa.
How to determine prices?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact answer for this. But what I can offer is a few tips that I have found successful in the past.
First thing I normally do is have a look at what else is available on the Marketplace. Search for the item and see what prices people are selling similar items for. Look at how long these items have been for sale. If someone has something list for a high price and it is has been live for a while, chances are it is a bit expensive. List yours for a bit less.
Secondly, don’t forget to factor in any costs you might incur in selling it. Personally, I recommend listing the item price and then including any postage charges or PayPal fees in the item description. However, you’ll need to check the rules of each group you plan on sharing your listing in. Some of these insist that the price is all in (includes postage, packaging and fees).
Next, think about how much you want to sell it for. If it is an item that you know is going to take a little while to shift for whatever reason, make sure you factor in your time and effort into the price. Keeping a listing alive, just to get 50p at the end is not worth all the slog.
Finally, it is wise to expect that people will try and knock down the price. Now you can ignore this and holdfast with the price or you can prepare for it and put the price up a bit to begin with. I recommend doing this in chunks of whole numbers and preferably £5 and £10 for more valuable items.
It is likely, like me, that you will mess up the pricing sometimes. I have had items sell so fast that I wish I’d just ramped up the price to start with. Other times, you’ll be trying to sell something for weeks and weeks reducing the price slowly until it final goes. You’ll get better at pricing over time. I promise.
What if you are not getting the interest you expected?
Luckily Facebook has some handy little tools to help you with this. The first is the option to renew your post. Every seven days after your post goes live Facebook allows you to give it a little boost again by renewing it. This boosts it up the listings and can get a few more eyes on it.
Facebook also makes it easy to reduce the price of your item with a quick button to reduce the price by a small amount. Potential buyers can see that the price has been reduced so it might make them feel like they are getting a bargain.
If all that fails, you can always try deleting and listing all over again. Try some fresh images and a new description. Sometimes that is all it takes.
How does a buyer contact you?
Two ways. They can leave a comment on the listing in the group that you shared it in. I find this particularly annoying because I normally share it in several groups and can’t be bothered to go back and check them all. Therefore, I normally add to the description that anyone interested should contact me via Facebook Messenger.
If someone finds the listing though Marketplace then they will contact directly through Messenger. Facebook will automatically name your chat after the item you are selling which makes it much easier to manage if you get several people interested.
Facebook also provides tools to reply to people including marking the item as “pending” which let’s all interested parties know that you’ve got someone coming to collect it or “sold” to tell everyone the bad news.
It can get a little manic if it is a popular item. But stay calm, work through the list of potential buyers and consider it an opportunity to ensure that you get the best price.
How to people get the items and take payment?
In a nutshell you have two options: collection or delivery. Collection you can arrange between yourself and the buyer. If it is being delivered, then you will have to find a courier suitable for the item and discuss the cost of this with the buyer.
Paying for it again is entirely up to you. Normally, if someone is collecting it, I will say I want cash and for delivery it is PayPal. But if you want to accept cheques, foreign currency, Bitcoin or an offering of chocolate fudge cake then knock yourself out.
Just make sure that you receive the payment before you hand over or send out your item. Don’t let anything go on the PROMISE of payment.
What are the advantages of Facebook Marketplace over other selling platforms?
- Most of us are already on Facebook. Therefore, there is no new app to download, new system to figure out or any of that. It’s just good ol’ Facebook!
- You have control. You decide what to charge, how people get the item, how they pay for it and when they collect it.
- You can target your audience. As I have said above, by choosing your groups carefully you can get you items to the people that want them.
- IT IS FREE! There are no listing fees. Facebook doesn’t get a cut of whatever you sell it for. That lovely money is all yours.