Facebook off to a good start in annual peer survey

14 Feb 2017

We’ve been tracking Facebook Marketplace here on this blog since it launched near the end of last year. But what do the people who use Facebook’s new buy-and-sell app really think about it?

EcommerceBytes surveyed some 10,000 online sellers in January and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience with selling. Facebook came in 10th (out of 10 listed).

Now, that’s either a poor, dead last showing, or an impressive debut, given that Marketplace didn’t even exist a few months ago.

The survey itself is not entirely apples-to-apples when it comes to classified sites — it’s packed mainly with non-classified sites, such as Amazon, Etsy, EBay and Pinterest. But, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace both made the cut, which is what caught our attention.

While Marketplace ranked low in customer service and communication, it was able to beat Craigslist in those categories. And it bested Pinterest for ease of use and profitability (profitability for sellers, not for Facebook itself).

You can look at the full rankings here.

Even the comments were telling. Here’s a sampling of our favorites:

The good

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

Facebook, is great for local sales, it is good for getting the word out, and ease of use is great.

I have enjoyed more selling success on Facebook than any other venue.

I like that on Facebook you are seeing the person and their profile, it makes me feel a little more safe about meeting them.

The bad

The problem with Facebook is, unlike Craigslist or LetGo, your listing vanishes so quickly due to the sheer number of listings posted.

It is profitable, but I do find that I have to factor in that 90 percent of the people want to knock down your price.

Selling prices were low, sales were low – I quit.

Was swamped with low-ball offers for our items.

If you want to update anything, you have to go into each group and each item individually.

Once you create and boost an ad, you cannot edit it or change it – so if you make a mistake you cannot correct it.

Some sellers had suggestions for improving Marketplace

It would be nice if you were able to sell online right from your store page with a shopping cart.

I 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 a smart phone.

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.

I would love to see more than just distance from me…I want to see the newest posted first.

I would like the upload of pics to be easier here, not just from the gallery on my camera. There’s no way to get pics from, say, Google Photos.

Users had particular scorn for Facebook’s customer service (or lack thereof)

Customer service is close to none and their sites tend to get clogged up with all the different sellers.

When we request help with our products, it can take a week or more to get a response from support.

We were kicked off when we first started and had no clue why. No warning — no, “hey that is not allowed.”

It’s 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.

Our conclusion: Facebook Marketplace is a work-in-progress, which is not surprising, given that it’s still new and Facebook loves to continually iterate its product design. Sellers are flocking to it, but in much the same way as they use Craigslist — because they have to (for the massive traffic).

LetGo and OfferUp were not included in the survey, but if they were, we suspect they’d receive more positive feedback. On the other hand, Facebook learns quickly.

This is EcommerceByte’s eighth annual “Seller’s Choice” survey. We’ll be interested to see what the 2018 results show.

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Brian Blum

Brian Blum covers the U.S., Canada and Israel for Classified Intelligence Report, and contributes to our special reports and research projects. Originally from San Francisco and now based in Jerusalem, he has been with the AIM Group since 2004. He is the president of Blum Interactive Media, specializing in writing and multimedia content development for online, print, video and audio. His clients include newspapers, universities and non-profits. He is currently working on a book about the billion-dollar bankruptcy of a once high-flying Israeli startup.