Facebook Marketplace launched in the US in October 2016. Despite initial teething problems – like drugs, guns and hedgehogs being sold – the social network’s move into online selling was broadly welcomed. One commentator even called it “a nightmare for eBay and Etsy.”
Two years on, however, Facebook Marketplace hasn’t brought the revolution in eCommerce that many expected. Yes, Facebook has rolled Marketplace out to new markets. It’s added features to support business sellers such as car dealers and cleaners. And it’s created some nifty listing and reporting tools, powered by AI.
But Facebook Marketplace largely remains a site for classified ads – a way for individuals to buy or sell second-hand items within their community, akin to Craigslist or even a local newspaper. And with no payments processed through the site, all transactions are completed in person. This means Facebook Marketplace doesn’t work for eCommerce sellers.
So how can you sell through Facebook?
If you want to sell products properly through the site, you need to set up a Facebook Shop (sometimes called a Facebook Store). The first step in doing this is to create a Facebook business page. You can then add a shop to it in two different ways:
1. Use Facebook to set up and manage your shop
You can use the “Shop” tab within a Facebook business page, to set up your products, payment details and shipping information – eCommerce Platforms has a step-by-step guide.
This approach means you can start selling to your existing Facebook fans quickly. But, in the longer term, it’s likely to limit the audience you can reach. As X-Cart puts it: “No matter how successful your Facebook Store is, with it you will be getting only about 10% of all sales, compared to having your own website PLUS a Facebook presence.”
This brings us onto your second option.
2. Integrate an eCommerce platform with Facebook
With the introduction of the Facebook Shop API, many of the best eCommerce platforms have introduced integrations, including Shopify, BigCommerce and Ecwid.
If you already use one these platforms, then you should be able to set up your Facebook Shop in just a few clicks. If you don’t, then setting one up this way will require a little more time, skill and investment than going for the Facebook-only option. But, in the longer term, it will be more scaleable.
When you take this approach, you’ll be able to sell via Facebook PLUS your own online store. You’ll be able to manage your stock, payments and shipping across multiple stores from one place. And, if your shop really takes off, you’ll be able to outsource your order fulfillment to a service like ours.
It all began in 2010, when James Hyde and James Strachan couldn’t find a modern shipping service for the eCommerce business they ran. Faced with messy warehouses based on out-dated systems, they decided to build their own. We’ve not stood still since, helping hundreds of online brands scale up – and scaling with them.