Online marketplaces are the best new thing for great deals. With the internet connecting others that are miles apart and with the current pandemic boosting the trend of online shopping, online marketplaces are a great alternative to your usual bazaars and markets – and it looks like it’s here to stay for the long run.
There are plenty of online marketplaces to look for great deals. But did you know that if you already have a Facebook account, there’s a huge marketplace at your fingertips without having to browse the internet or download another app onto your phone?
It’s called Facebook Marketplace, and if you know how to search carefully, you can find the best deals within a two hundred-kilometer radius from your home. Here’s our guide to help you understand what it is, how to use it, and tips for finding the best deal on Facebook Marketplace.
What Is Facebook Marketplace?
Facebook Marketplace was introduced back in 2016 as a place for Facebook users to buy and sell products not just within their networks, but to those who may be searching for a certain product within the platform. It was successful and, as of 2018, around a third of Facebook users in the United States use Facebook Marketplace to find brand new and used items, services, and properties for sale.
Why Should I Choose Facebook Marketplace?
Peace of Mind and Security
Unlike other online marketplaces that are, to an extent, filled with anonymity from people who may not live near you, Facebook provides safety and peace of mind to buyers. Sellers are people who live up to a 200-kilometer radius from you, so you know they’re within your area. You can also see their public Facebook profile, mutual friends, and seller ratings you know you’re not dealing with a scammer or a shady individual.
Facebook Marketplace consists of everyday Facebook users selling products, services, and properties in new or used condition. It is also home to authorized stores, branded shops, dealerships, and property managers, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with fake sellers.
Searchable Sea of Selling Posts
Facebook Marketplace can be broken down into several categories you can look under. Or, if you have a specific item in mind, simply search for it the same way you would on search engines or other online marketplaces. You can save listings if you’re not sure about purchasing but want to find it faster later on.
You can also create and join Buy and Sell Groups for people within the same neighborhood, interests, or item searches.
All Available in One App
All on Facebook and Messenger, you can contact the seller, check the seller’s profile for legitimacy, arrange for pickup, and even transfer payment. You don’t have to give out your phone number and email for communication.
How to Use Facebook Marketplace
If you’re on a computer or laptop, go to your Facebook Homepage. You’ll easily see a tab labeled Marketplace. From there, you can search for a category, specific product, or any seller near your location. Take note that this will require Facebook to use your location based on your IP address.
For mobile, open the Facebook app and tap on the tab at the top of the screen with a store icon. This will take you to the Marketplace page. Turn on GPS and allow Facebook to use it so that it can accurately find the closest deals to your location.
Searching for Products on Facebook Marketplace
You can search for products in three different ways: scroll through Today’s Picks, search by category, and search for an item.
Today’s Picks are Facebook’s suggested listings within your area that are either popular, trending, sponsored, or based on something Facebook thinks you may like. When you’re at the Marketplace page, it will indicate your city location and how far the kilometer radius scope of listings it will show.
You can make the radius customized from a 1-kilometer radius up to a 200-kilometer radius from your estimated location. The bigger the radius, the more results you’ll see. But take note that some items may not be worth the 200-kilometer shipping fee or drive to claim it, so it might be best to limit yourself to a radius within your immediate area.
Search By Category
If you’re on a desktop or laptop, you can find the categories within the page. For those using a mobile devise, tap on the magnifying glass icon. You’ll be taken to a list of categories as well as a separate page for vehicles, rentals, and buy and sell groups.
Simply select the category you want to browse. If you’re looking for buy and sell groups, tap the Buy & Sell Groups option. You’ll be shown all the listing posted in the groups you’re a part of.
Search for an Item
If you’re looking for a particular item, simply click on the search bar (for laptop and desktop users) or tap on the magnifying glass (for mobile devices) and type in what you’re looking for.
Why Is Facebook Marketplace’s Search Limited to 200 Kilometers?
Facebook used to have a search limit of 100 miles, but it has since increased to 200 kilometers (approximately 124 miles) radius from your location. Facebook Marketplace is supposed to be convenient for its users, so it’s possible that Facebook created this limit to keep listings close to the buyer’s location.
Take note that not all products are worth having shipped from 200 kilometers away. A person looking for baked goods or cheap items will find it more practical to check close to their location rather than have someone who may be cities away have it delivered. The cost of fuel to get to the seller and back or the cost of having the item shipped may not be worth it, so it might have been for the best that Facebook placed a search limit.
Tips for Using Facebook Marketplace
How to Find Free Items
Some people use Facebook Marketplace to give away items they don’t need for free. To find these items, filter your search to “Only show free listings.” There, you’ll see items that are being given away for free.
Be sure to read the listing first and see if it’s really free. Some sellers tend to be coy about the prices of their products and list them as free only to later say that they’re charging a certain amount. But these are a rare few, so be sure to read the listing first for any caveats or reasons why they’re giving away an item for free.
Another option to find free items is to join “Buy Nothing” groups within your area. These are groups of generous people who give away things they don’t need to anyone within their community. However, because these items are free, expect these sellers to only offer these items if you are willing to pick them up or pay for shipping.
Be Wary of Expensive Items
Like any online store or marketplace, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. For items like cars and houses, it’s important to do your research first and know roughly how much a car or property like the one you’re looking at should cost.
For cars, never pay for a car you haven’t seen in person. Research what year it was made, and then ask the seller questions like when it was bought, whether they followed the maintenance schedule, and if there are problems with the car. If possible, ask for a test drive or have someone knowledgeable with cars come with you to see its condition.
For real estate, schedule a tour of the property before making decisions. For houses, hire a property inspector to assess the home and its value. If the price is too good to be true, you might be buying a property filled with structural issues.
Word Your Searches Properly
When searching for a specific product, be careful about the words you use to find it on the Marketplace. For example, let’s say you’re looking for a used smartphone. Typing “used smartphone” or “smartphone” will provide more results than “used iPhone 10” or “used smartphone 128gb.” The most generic your search terms are, the more results you will get.
Negotiate, But Don’t Overdo It
Unlike online marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy, you can haggle with a Facebook Marketplace seller. Some sellers are firm on their price, but some sellers are open to negotiating if you’re persuasive enough. So, if you’re buying in large quantities, offer to do pick-ups, or are the only buyer they’ve heard from, you’re likely to strike a better deal for yourself.
However, don’t over-do your negotiations. If it’s clear that they aren’t going to change their minds, either pay the price they ask for or look for a seller with the same product but at a lower cost.
Facebook Marketplace offers a sea of great deals, but only if you know where to look. Using the right search features and keeping your search radius at the right size, you can find the best deals and shop in this online bazaar!