As I mentioned in my last post, Facebook does not allow you to use a personal Facebook account for business or selling items. Instead, you’ll need to create a business Facebook Page. After you’ve created your Facebook Business Page, it’s time to start selling! There are two methods of selling through your Facebook page.
Sell directly from your Facebook Business Page Wall
Simply take a picture of your item, list a price, and post it to your Facebook Page wall. To collect orders, you can have people comment on your image or send a message to your page. After you receive each order, you would send them an online invoice or otherwise collect their payment.
Pros: This method is quick and easy to get started, and it’s free. If you are already familiar with Facebook, selling items through your Facebook Business Page should be easy, as you gain new likes and followers.
Cons: As your business grows, it will become too time consuming to collect the necessary information from potential customers to create an invoice, answer their questions, keep track of orders, hunt down those that don’t pay promptly, create items, and get everything out in a timely manner.
Updated 3/28/17: Facebook has recently launched native shops, right one Facebook. While you can still use a third party program to sell on Facebook, it is easier to set up directly on Facebook. See this post for more information.
Sell directly from your Facebook Business Page using an app
There are a dozen or so apps that allow you to sell through your Facebook Business Page, with new ones popping up often. One of the easiest to use is Shopify, which also offers the option to build a standalone store. Today, we will look only at their Facebook store option.
1) Sign up for your 14 day free trial of Shopify, no credit card required: Sign up here. Use your trial period to see if you like the system, if you find it easy to use, and begin uploading products.
2) After filling out a few quick forms, log into Shopify and select “Apps” from the left hand sidebar.
3) Search for the “Facebook Store” app in the Shopify App Store and install it. Shopify will ask for permission to access your Facebook page, and you’ll need to accept. (You must already have your Facebook Business Page set up to install the store.)
4) Next, click “Add a Facebook Store”.
5) Now you’ll be able to customize your store, by adding logos, deciding how to arrange your products, and more. When finished, be sure to click “Save”.
6) Add some products. From the left hand sidebar, click “Products”.
7) Then click, “Add A Product” to list your first item.
8) Next, simply fill in the form to list your item. You’ll be able to enter a title, description, photos, a price, set shipping weight, inventory, variations, and more. When you are finished, remember to click “Save Product” in the top right corner. Continue listing your products.
9) Before launching your store on your Facebook Business Page, you’ll want to visit the “Settings” link on the left hand side and visit the subcategories to enter your own settings. (General, Payments, Checkout, Shipping, Taxes, Notifications, and Online Store). Shopify does a great job of telling you what to enter where, and all the details are basic information like your email address, how you would like to get paid, if you need to charge sales tax, and more.
10) Once you’ve handled all the back end settings and uploaded your products, you will want to choose your plan and start promoting your new store. Your new store is located right on your Facebook Business Page.
Here is what my demo store looks like:
You can view my demo store at: https://www.facebook.com/cuttingforbusiness/app_410312912374011. Feel free to click around, look at the cart, and view the social media sharing features.
Pros: Using an app like Shopify streamlines your customer experience. You do not need to manually send invoices to collect payments, and customers can easily see what items you have for sale without leaving Facebook. Additionally, your items are presented in a more professional manner, giving even the smallest business more credibility. You also don’t have to post new items each day, as all your items will be available all the time on your Facebook Business Page store. This leaves you more time to spend creating items and promoting your Facebook Business Page to reach new customers. Lastly, all of your orders will be in one place where you can easily view them.
Cons: Like any new system, there is a learning curve to set up the store and manage it (I was able to set up my demo store in about 30 minutes). Unlike selling directly from your Facebook wall, using an app is not free. View Shopify’s pricing on shopify.com.
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