I’m a thrifter. I love buying most household items used. I like to haggle and negotiate. And I especially love seeing a big-ticket item (like a piece of furniture) that I can repurpose or refurbish for pennies. But until I had my daughter, I had never thought I could make money selling on Facebook Marketplace.
In an interview with the Verge, Bowen Pan, a project manager at Facebook, said that over 450 million people worldwide use Facebook to buy, sell, or trade items via online sales groups. Earlier this year, Facebook launched a streamlined “Marketplace” that makes the process more organized for both buyers and sellers.
I had used Marketplace and sales groups to help my family downsize before our move to Wyoming.
In just one month, I sold tons of unused items — from new toys and clothes to furniture and household goods — via Facebook Marketplace.
I made roughly $520 selling on Facebook Marketplace, which was a huge help with paying for a cross-country moving company. And I had a hunch that there were ways to repeat this success. Using my limited marketing skills and a friend’s help, we A/B tested several traditional sales strategies to see what sold best on Facebook Marketplace.
My friend Teresa and I each listed 20 similar items with differently styled pictures, descriptions, pricing methods, and so on. After two months of selling on FB Marketplace — with a profit of $189 for me and $213 for Teresa — we compared the data to see what, if anything, had the maximum impact on sales.
6 Tips for Selling on Facebook Marketplace
Here are the six tricks we found to be the best ways to sell your items faster and for higher prices:
1. White Backgrounds are Important
We live in the world of Instagram and Snapchat, where everyone wants that vintage, effortless look. And apparently that applies to buying used toys, too. I used the “Nashville” feature on Instagram to brighten the pictures and give it a vintage style while also placing the toy in front of a neutral white background. Teresa, meanwhile, took pictures of the toys (one of the best-selling items on Facebook Marketplace) on her kid’s bright green carpet. My view rate beat hers by a whopping 80 percent across the board, even once you adjusted for group size.
2. List Current Pricing and Reviews
I know that when I shop, I always check the Amazon reviews first, and I figured that moms searching for deals on toys would do the same.
Who wants to buy something with one-star reviews?
When Teresa listed the current price on the toy – along with a link to reviews – the item sold an average of three days faster than mine did, listed without the current “new” price.
3. Mark Down at 30 Percent
While neither Teresa nor I seemed to find a “magic” number for pricing, after reviewing the sales data, it looks like those that were marked down at 30 percent the current price sold over those that were cut only 10 to 20 percent (despite all toys being in pristine condition). When a sale stalled, what worked for two of the four toys was to reduce the price by five percent every other day until it sold or the campaign deadline hit.
4. Offer Videos to Start a Bidding War
Because baby toys often light up, sing annoying songs, or move around on the floor, we both tried to offer videos to those interested in seeing the toy in action. Each video was between 30 and 45 seconds long and showed the toy’s main features (such as the songs it played). When we placed the videos in the comments or private messages, four of the six toys had a line of interested buyers.
5. Fewer Details, More Profit
Both Teresa and I were totally wrong about one strategy: we each had a hunch that having very detailed descriptions would sell faster. But it was the exact opposite! Four out of eight of the toys with descriptions under 200 words sold at asking price or higher. For those with descriptions over 200 words, only two sold at the original price, and the rest needed the price-cut strategy.
6. Bumping Works… to an Extent
Finally, for all the toys remaining, we employed the bumping strategy. In other words, we commented on our posts to move the item up in line. Most groups had rules on this, so we stuck to bumping every other day. With five toys left between the two of us, this method – along with the price cutting – helped us to sell two of the toys within six days, while the rest went unsold.
After our successful debut, we now feel confident that we could sell nearly anything on Facebook Marketplace. By keeping details to a minimum, offering add-ons like reviews and videos, and adding beautiful pictures, you can walk away with an impressive profit for your used items.