Sold: Facebook Revolutionises Group Selling

‘For Sale’ groups on Facebook are nothing new, but with the recent roll-out of a new ‘sell’ button and relevant associated functions, things just got a whole lot more practical.

Facebook Group Selling

There are literally tens of thousands of ‘for sale’ groups on social media sites like  Facebook that cover territory from highly specialised items, such as figurines and, say, sneakers, to much more general fare like books and electronics. It’s a thriving community that is often geographically based – search your own location for hundreds of examples. Cars, jewellery, DJ gear, boats, wedding dresses, ski clothing, mobile phones; the list goes on, and this was all Gold Coast based.

The amount of largely untracked money moving via Facebook group sales makes the mind boggle, so it’s no surprise that some sort of order is being introduced.

Facebook Group Selling New Feature

Until recently, group selling on Facebook was a fairly haphazard process; a seller would list an item, often forgetting essential details, and interested buyers would comment below, which caused problems with post jumping. The seller had to remain alert and react to new posts, and would often forget to remove or post ‘sold’ when an item was gone. While it worked, and worked for many years it might be said, the system was slightly rudimental and in need of an overhaul.

As of early 2015, Facebook introduced a range of group selling features that has some questioning whether the company has designs on Craigslist, Gumtree or eBay’s lucrative income streams.

Group members can now choose a ‘sell’ feature when creating a post, also adding a description, price, and set a delivery/pick up location. Sellers can now mark their posts as ‘available’ or ‘sold’ and easily view a catalogue of items previously sold, which also works as a testimonial to the seller’s status and there is little doubt these changes will streamline the buying/selling process and remove some headaches previously associated with group selling, but as with all change, there are teething problems.

Buy sell swap Facebook Groups
Example of a local Buy, Sell, Swap Group on the Gold Coast with more than 22k members.

One early criticism is that the functionality has not yet spread to other public Pages, where the majority of professional selling takes place via e-commerce retailers of varying sizes. Another is that it is not mobile phone friendly: Facebook does not make it easier for buyers searching for an item to locate them with a mobile phone. In fact, searching across a group for a particular item such as ‘Picnic Table’ or ‘Antiques’ is not even possible from Facebook’s newly launched mobile apps for Groups.

And you know that ‘other’ Facebook email that you never access? Well, that’s where any private messages from interested buyers currently end up, which, again, makes access from mobile and Facebook Messenger pretty much impossible.

But when a behemoth like Facebook starts making moves on the private sales market, you can guarantee they aren’t messing around. It is a calculated strategy that reflects the ability of the company to recognise its own importance in genuinely connecting like-minded people, and a potential indicator of the beginnings of a fresh income stream.

Media Junkies recently tried it and listed a much-loved piece of DJ gear on a local group with 830 members. The whole process took three minutes and we will let you know how it works in a practical sense over coming weeks.

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