Monday, June 14, 2010

The FB Garage Sale: your indoor, warm and comfy (wear your slippers) de-stash Sale!

Garage Sale Collage If you’ve indulged your love of all things crafty a little too much, and have more material, findings, tools, and habby than you can possibly use; or if you have too much old market/out of season stock that you want to shift fast, then perhaps the Facebook Garage Sale is your ticket to more money in your pocket, and more space at your work station!

The Facebook Garage Sale is a mad dash sale where interested parties write SOLD underneath photos of items you have listed for sale. Depending upon the success of your promotion of your Garage Sale, and interest in your items, it could all be over in as little as half an hour; and can be lots of fun! But it does require some through and preparation first.

It utilises your craft related Fan/Business Page, which taps into your existing network of like-minded online friends/fans who will more than likely have a use for your no longer required, but still good quality goods or excess stock. And instead of having to pay for a newspaper entry, sticking up posters and dragging everything out into the yard to have an actual garage sale, you can sit back and watch the sparks fly as people compete to be the first to buy!

It is important, though, to point out that there is a clear distinction between a Facebook Sale and a Facebook Garage Sale (much like in the real world). These 2 terms invoke a very different set of expectations amongst buyers. The Garage Sale is to move unwanted stock or materials at heavily reduced prices; a Sale is knocking off a few dollars to get stock to shift. If you advertise your Sale incorrectly as a Garage Sale, people will be disappointed when they find they are still expected to pay close to RRP; and this will impact your overall sales.

Based on my own experience with a very successful garage sale on my Chicken Ink. Creative page, here are my tips for a successful garage sale.

Be Clear and Specific: Tell people important information clearly and concisely. Use proper English, grammar and punctuation. Don’t use txt spk.

Choose your Day and Time Wisely: Hold your Garage Sale between Sunday and Thursday; people go out and do things on Friday and Saturday nights! Monday was successful for me. Hold it after 8pm for 2 reasons; first because many of your customers will be parents who don’t want to miss out while cooking/bathing the kids/putting them to bed. Also, it helps to account for the different time zones throughout Australia. Remember, when advising the start time, make it clear what time zone/state you are in.

Promotion: Start posting News Feeds about the Garage Sale 2 days before the event to promote and build interest. 48 hours notice is long enough for people to plan to attend, but short enough to build and hold anticipation. Ask your friends to promote the sale for you on Facebook as well; especially fellow crafters with their own fan pages. But meter out your posts; you don’t want to turn people off by posting constant News Feeds about it. 3 posts a day is suitable; 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and one after 8pm.

Rules of Engagement: Make the rules and processes clear and easy to follow; post them in your News Feed (on your wall) before and during the event.

Country Restrictions: You might want to restrict the sale to AUS residents only; or maybe include NZ customers as well. Remember there are issues with currency conversions and postage rates to take into consideration.

Flat Postage Fee: To save time and hassle, you might consider setting a mid range postal cost that everyone pays, regardless of the quantity of purchased items, or their size and weight. It could take you days to individually calculate postage costs for each customer, invoice them, wait for payment and then send. $3 is a reasonable amount to charge and neither of you stand to lose too much either way (in most cases). Make sure people know up front what the flat postage costs are before they start buying. Also, people might be inclined to buy more if they know they have a reasonable flat postage fee to pay.

Payment Methods: Accept both Paypal and EFT payments if you can. Some people only like to use one of these options and you don't want to limit your audience.

Stock Selection and Preparation: Review the items you wish to sell; measuring, counting and checking for faults. Write a quick and clear description of each item as you go; including things such as size, material type, colour, design, quantity ( if more than 1), and any faults. And of course, decide how much you are going to charge. Group like things together. Assign each item a number. This info is to be published with the photo. Count up how many items you have in total.

Photographing Your Items: Arrange each item, one at a time, for photographing on a neutral surface with plenty of natural light. Having clear photos of each item is very important as people need and want to understand what it is they are buying (which is more difficult in the online environment). If your photos aren’t great, clean them up using a photo editing tool. is great for this, and super easy to use - and free. It’s worth the effort.

Use a Photo Album: Don’t bombard your fan’s News Feeds by posting each item onto your wall. Instead, set up a dedicated photo album and clearly name it Garage Sale. This avoids filling up peoples News Feeds and annoying those that are not interested/not participating. This could lead to them un-fanning your page, or hiding your News Feed - which is not a good outcome! Set your album up with plenty of time to spare on the day. You can publicise that the album is available for viewing, and that no comments before the official start time will be accepted.

Organisation is the Key: Print up a hard copy list with the item number, brief description, value and leave a blank spot to write in a name and email address of the purchaser. This will help you with sorting and mailing in the days after. Depending on the number of items for sale, it could take you a few hours to get the photos ready and uploaded with matching descriptions. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to get this done before the Garage Sale starts!

Inform Your Buyers: This is key - let people know what products they can expect, the most they may expect to pay per item, and how many items will be posted up for sale.

Afterwards: Hopefully you will have sold most if not all of your items. Ask people to email you a list of their purchases (including item # and description), and cross reference this with your own hard copy listing (checking all the comments under each photo in the album). Make sure you have contact with each buyer, confirming their purchases, final amount owning and payment options.

The result of my Garage Sale:

I had over 80 items posted for sale, and every single one sold; most of them had at least 3 interested buyers! There were 38 buyers who successfully made purchases (most people bought multiple items). I was so glad for the flat postage fee! The Garage Sale was well worth the exercise to clear out my work space and re-home some quality products.

Examples of Facebook Posts

Effective News Feed post publicising an upcoming event:

Facebook Garage Sale here on Monday Night - starts 8pm (EST)! Over 80 items for sale including fabric, zips, buttons, and other habby, plus old market stock. No items over $10. Flat postage fee of $3 per customer. Grab a bargain - all items are great; I just have too much! EFT and Paypal accepted. Tell your friends!

Effective News Feed post detailing the rules of your garage sale:

Facebook Garage Sale details: Sale starts at 8pm (EST). See photo album titled “Garage Sale”. You can have a sneak peak at the album beforehand, but comments made before 8pm will not be accepted and will be deleted. First to write SOLD under photo wins purchase right. AUS residents only. Flat postage fee $3 per person. Accepting EFT and Paypal. Please pay within 3 days. Email with a complete list of your purchases after the event advising item number and description.

Good luck and remember people love a bargain! So enjoy the sales as they come flooding in!


Cheers, Chicken

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  1. Great post Tania, very informative! Thanks :-)

  2. This post has come at a perfect time as I am in the process of getting together surplus stash items for my first ever garage sale!



  3. What a great informative post! Thank you for your expertise!


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