You’d be interested if someone offered you a free store to sell your products, right? Especially if it’s in an area with a huge number of passersby, many of them good potential targets for what you have to offer.
This, in effect, is the reason you should sell on Facebook by setting up your own free shop. Not only do you have access the world’s largest social media platform—more populous than any country—but you are dealing with people who spend some serious time Facebooking.
Stats show than daily users spend about 41 minutes a day on Facebook. So they are predisposed to stores that continue that experience, allowing them to shop and buy without ever having to leave their beloved app.
The Benefits of Using a Shop to Sell on Facebook
Your customers are hanging out on Facebook, so it just makes sense to set up a store here. This is also true (or doubly true) if you don’t already have an e-commerce site for your business. You don’t need one to set up a store. You just need a Facebook account and a Facebook business page, and then you can run your whole online business through your Facebook shop, if you wish.
With a Facebook store you also can:
- Have access to Facebook Marketplace, vastly expanding the number of potential customers
- Add as many products as you want
- Organize your products into collections and categories, helping customers navigate their way through your inventory.
- Communicate with customers directly through the page
- Have access to useful statistics on sales, visits and more, so you can fine-tune your sales strategy
There are some limitations that you should also be aware of. For example, you are restricted to selling physical items through your Facebook store. That means digital products and downloadable items aren’t allowed.
And the Facebook shop option isn’t yet available in all countries. And some features, such as Facebook shopping cart and checkout, are only currently available in the United States.
How to Set Up Your Facebook Shop
Setting up your shop to sell on Facebook should be a quick, straightforward process. On your Facebook business page, simply click the Shop tab. If you can’t see this, then try changing your page template to the shopping one.
Just follow the instructions and fill in the required fields, including banking and shipping information, and agree to the merchant terms of service. As I said, eligible products can also appear in Facebook Marketplace, and you can use your Facebook store to host products for shopping on Instagram.
Working from a computer (you currently can’t add products from a smartphone), you simply click Add Product, include the product details and add relevant pictures and videos before choosing shipping options, return policy and product category.
When a product is first added to your shop, it will say processing while it is vetted by Facebook. If it complies with its policies, the product will go live and become available to customers within 24 hours.
Strategies to Successfully Sell on Facebook
It would be nice that if once you set up your store on Facebook, you could just sit back and wait for your customers to come, and your sales to ring up. But just as with a bricks-and-mortar store, you’ll need to do some savvy marketing to build up your customer base.
Fortunately, there a number of ways to successfully sell on Facebook. (And what follows is just scratching the surface.) In my last column, I talked about the power of advertising your business on Facebook. For example, with paid-per-click ads you can specify a tightly defined target, by demographics, interests, buying behaviors and other criteria, so you can reach people who may not have heard of you but could be predisposed to what you have to sell.
Studies show that videos and photographs are some of the most important factors in social media e-commerce success. So take full advantage of your Facebook store’s capacity to upload pictures and videos with products. The images need to make your intended audience want to buy your product—so should be clean, crisp and creative.
And videos, in particular, are becoming increasingly powerful selling tools. Research shows that consumers are 73 percent more likely to purchase a product after seeing a branded video that explains it.
Remember also that a store isn’t just about selling. People are on Facebook for engaging visual and written content. So just doing a hard sell might turn off prospective customers. Think about the kind of posts that would engage your target, through either organic or sponsored posts. Be creative and mindful of your audience’s pain points and what benefits you offer.
If you produce content that gets a thumbs up (preferably lots of them), you know you are on the right path.
If you want to kick up your sales potential another notch or three, you could consider using an e-commerce website builder to create an online store that automatically links your product inventory to your Facebook shop, while providing you greater reach to the rest of the internet, as well as more-powerful selling tools.
But more on that in my next column.