Want to start a dropshipping business? So does everyone else.
For anyone who has tried dropshipping before, you’ll know it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd these days.
While markets like eBay and Amazon are still huge players for dropshippers, they’re no longer trade secrets when it comes to making a quick buck or two.
Enter Facebook Marketplace.
Yes, Facebook hasn’t been the cool kid on the scene for a long time. But since their launch of Shops in 2020, they’ve been slowly building out their suite of eCommerce tools, making it an increasingly attractive avenue for sellers. Which is now being taken advantage of by a small number of savvy dropshippers.
So let’s take a look at how you can have a slice of the pie too.
Facebook Marketplace started out as a local buy-and-sell forum of sorts, where private users could sell their second-hand items, much like Craigslist really. The platform has evolved a whole lot since those days, although the classified ads side of things is still very much alive and thriving too.
What’s changed is that professional sellers now have a whole host of avenues for monetizing Facebook Marketplace for their business. These include Facebook Pay and Facebook Checkout, which let users pay for products directly on site, as well as other Order Management tools that can integrate with Shops on various platforms. Now unfortunately the main bulk of these new features is currently only available in the US.
But there are still ways in which you can use Marketplace to your advantage elsewhere. The main difference is that your listing will appear only to users that are near you, and that you have to arrange your own payment. So say a customer is interested in your product – they will message you to express interest and ask any questions. Once happy and ready to make their purchase, you will need to direct them to your preferred method of payment, e.g. pass on your account number or PayPal link.
As you probably well know, dropshipping means connecting customers to a product with you as the middleman. The customer orders from you, you notify the supplier, and they in turn ship the product to the customer.
Marketplace is basically the platform on which the customer finds you and your product listing, making it an excellent vehicle for sales – without actually having to create your own website or shop. And if you already have a shop, it’s just another excellent string to add to your bow. With Facebook reporting more than 1 billion monthly global users of Marketplace in the first quarter of 2021, this is no small advantage!
All you need to do is pick a product, list it on Marketplace and watch the orders roll in. Without wanting to exaggerate, the fact that relatively few dropshippers have set up on Marketplace to date makes it a particularly fertile soil for making sales with a huge customer base.
Listing on Marketplace is relatively straightforward, as long as you keep in mind a few simple rules.
So first of all you need a Facebook account, a personal one is sufficient to get started. Once you’ve got that sorted, you can start thinking about your product. Let’s work on the assumption that you don’t already have a Facebook Shop or an existing product catalog and start from there.
You need a product that is profitable and has a high chance of bringing in a lot of sales. Since dropshipping has relatively small profit margins, volume is your friend here. So how do you find the products? One way to approach this is to pick a supplier first and analyze the product from that angle.
When looking at suppliers, it’s important to make sure they are relatively local, as Facebook requires you to ship and deliver quickly, with the tracking number being added no later than 3 days past the sale date. The SaleHoo supplier directory lets you easily filter by product type and warehouse location to find exactly what you’re looking for. What’s also invaluable for analyzing products are market research tools such as SaleHoo Labs, available as part of SaleHoo Directory. Here you can see exactly how competitive a product is and how well it’s predicted to do on particular channels.
Some easy supplier examples for the US are Amazon or Walmart, which have the added benefit of handy filtering tools on their website. On Amazon, you can check out ‘Movers and Shakers’ under their ‘Bestsellers’ section, and Walmart lets you sort by ‘Best Sellers’ in their product listings.
Another handy tip is to search for Walmart or Amazon specific products (i.e. their own brands) on eBay and picking one that shows at least 100 sales. (When you go into an eBay listing, the number of sales will be shown to the right of the ‘Quantity’, right below the listing title). According to Dropshipping YouTuber Paul J Lipsky, products that sell well on eBay tend to do well on Marketplace too.
It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t be going off your own interests and preferences when it comes to picking a product, but rather make the business-savvy decision. High value products that are easily shippable and unlikely to break during transport are ideal. You can either go down the lane of a broad audience with products that lots of people need (e.g. a bed frame) or take advantage of niche markets who might be more inclined to spend more (e.g. Massage Gun). Or even repeat products that will have customers returning to you regularly such as high-end Electric Toothbrushes and brush heads. You’re looking for a product that has a relatively high price so that you make a decent profit by adding your margin, but obviously stay below $500.
💡Pro Tip: Need product inspiration? Here are 50 dropshipping product ideas to get you started!
Next, create your listing. Click your way into Marketplace by following the market stall symbol () , select ‘+ Create new listing’ and ‘Item for Sale’.
Download the images from your supplier’s website and use those in your listing. Also copy the description – no need to make unnecessary work for yourself! Maybe tidy up the description a bit if required, otherwise move on to product category and title.
These are very important as they will determine who is going to see your listing. Try and be as accurate as possible with your category (there are many subcategories available), and choose an appealing title. This won’t necessarily be the supplier’s title. Go through some options and ask yourself what would grab your attention if you were your target audience. Tools like TitleBuilder can also come in useful here.
Be sure to set ‘Shipping’ as the sole delivery option, as pick up obviously doesn’t work for Dropshipping.
Finally, set your price. This should be the supplier’s price, plus your fees and a healthy margin, e.g. 15%. Facebook Marketplace charges 5% (or USD 0.40 for items USD 8 or less), so you’ll want to make sure you take that into your calculations. This also includes tax already, which is handy.
For countries outside the US, Facebook doesn’t offer checkout or payment through the site, so you don’t need to worry about it here.
Finish your listing and you’re live!
Now you’ve sorted your listing, you might think about placing some ads. Selling from a personal account, you can ‘boost’ your listings, which means they will appear higher in a given search result.
Or if you’re operating from a Facebook Business account, the Ads Manager (accessible from your Commerce Manager) will let you place targeted ads to a specific daily budget and conversion result, with the option of A/B testing. These ads will show up both as Marketplace search results (labeled ‘Sponsored’) as well as in the general Facebook feed of your chosen target audience.
Once you get your target audience in front of your listing, it shouldn’t take long for orders to start coming through. The nice thing about Facebook Marketplace is the customer service side, as customers are able to message you directly and ask follow up questions. This direct contact with the customer is what’s unique about this platform and something you don’t get so much with e.g. eBay, Amazon or Etsy. Yes, it can be a little extra work, but it also ensures your customers end up happy with exactly what they were after.
Outside the US, Facebook Checkout isn’t available, which means you’ll have to arrange payment via Facebook Messenger, e.g. by sending account details or similar.
When an order is confirmed, you now have to order the product with your supplier. Once it gets to shipping details, enter the customer’s address you’ve received on Facebook rather than your own. Confirm, and the product should soon be on the way to a happy customer.
Don’t forget to update the tracking number within Facebook or your payment could be delayed. One downside to using Facebook Marketplace for Dropshipping is that Facebook only clears the money once the item has been delivered, which works out around 15-20 days after the order has been placed. So you’ll need some extra start-up capital as opposed to other dropshipping set-ups.
So you’ve decided you want to give this Facebook Marketplace Dropshipping thing a go? Here are a few more tips and tricks to help you on your journey.
When it comes to users visiting your listing, first impressions are very important. You need to pay particular attention to the title and primary image, as these are the things that will draw potential buyers in, as well as ensure a good position in search results.
The title should contain the main keywords for whatever you’re selling (ie. what users would type into the Marketplace search bar), as well as the most important details pertaining to your product. Say you’re selling a bluetooth speaker, you would want the condition (Brand-new), brand and product name (e.g. UE Megaboom), color (Lagoon Blue) as well as the words ‘wireless bluetooth speaker’ in the title. Other important semantic keywords and details such as battery life, accessories and sound quality should be in the description.
In terms of pictures, you’ll most likely be using the images taken from your supplier’s website. These should be of adequate quality and size, but always make sure you’re downloading the highest resolution version you can find (as opposed to a thumbnail for example). Then, take a look at your selection of pictures and choose the one that’s not only most appealing visually, but also shows the product most accurately.
Over time it could also be useful to test a few different titles out, running each one for a couple of months at a time and seeing which one results in more sales.
Finally, Marketplace gives you the option to ‘renew your listing’, which is good practice to do regularly as newer listings get bumped up higher in search results. After two weeks Marketplace will send you a prompt to do this, but you can also preemptively do so in the overview of your listings.
Follow the above steps and your listing should be in excellent shape to go perform on Facebook Marketplace.
It’s not currently possible to advertise exclusively on Marketplace, so when choosing the placement in Ads Manager, either select ‘Automatic Placements’ (which will give Facebook algorithm permission to place it in relevant areas) or select both ‘News Feed’ and ‘Marketplace’.
Since your ad will be showing up in different placements as well as mobile and desktop views, it’s important to think about the creative text you’ll be using. When creating an ad, you’ll need to set a headline and primary text (i.e. the text underneath the headline), but the primary text is often not visible in certain placements (e.g. for mobile Marketplace feed) – so the headline is extra important. At the same time, there’s a 40 character limit, so you don’t have oodles of space. About 5 words is ideal.
In our UE Megaboom example, the headline could read: “Brandnew UE Megaboom bluetooth speaker”
For the image, Facebook recommends a 1:1 ratio and a resolution of minimum 1080x1080. This should also be the same image you’re using as the primary image for your listing, so that the user experience is nice and consistent.
We’ve said it time and time again, but customer support is key in eCommerce. Loyal customers are a boon to your business and the majority of people who have a bad experience often don’t return for at least two years.
So your Customer Service game needs to be on point even somewhere as relatively informal as Marketplace. The good thing is that people can get instant support from you via Messenger, but this means that you have to be on the ball when it comes to responding. Especially as typical response rates for business Pages are recorded and shown to users in the chat window. To let people know when you’ll be available to respond, you have the option of setting an auto-response and/or an away message for when you’re not by your phone or computer. However, this is only possible with Facebook for Business or for people running a Page, not yet for a personal account.
If you’re starting out and running your listings from your personal account, you’ll have to keep checking Messenger and making sure you’re responding to people in an adequate time frame.
Aside from response time, you’ll also want to make sure your tone is professional yet approachable and you’re always being helpful and accommodating. Think about how you would like to be spoken to if you were thinking of buying something – that’s generally a good guide to go by.
If maintaining and updating your listings is starting to feel like quite a lot of work, you might start thinking about automating your process. Currently there are only a few providers who offer full automation of the Facebook Marketplace Dropshipping process, AutoDS being one of them that looks promising and provides plenty of step-by-step guidance. As this is a growing trend, there’s sure to be plenty more providers popping up in this space in the near future.
One thing to keep an eye on if you are planning on automating your listings is to make sure your listings are still coming out professional and accurate. With computerized listing creation you run a higher risk of having listings banned if the Facebook algorithm deems them suspicious.
No, as long as you’re following the listing guidelines, meaning your listings are accurately describing what you’re selling and don’t appear like spam. Plus, sold items need to be marked as shipped within 2-3 days by uploading tracking details, so you need to make sure this is possible with whatever supplier you’re going with.
Facebook Pay accepts Debit/credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) and Paypal.
Rest of the world:
Whatever you arrange with the buyer via Messenger. (This won’t run through Facebook itself)
No listing fees, but a 5% commission on sales (or USD 0.40 on sales under USD 8)
Note: Facebook has waived fees on sales until 30 th June 2022 (inclusive) so it’s a great time to start!
Rest of the world:
Overall we can see that Facebook Marketplace does offer some exciting opportunities, especially for budding dropshippers who want to test the waters without too much risk. However, outside the US, managing all the processes involved could well become cumbersome and time-consuming, begging the question whether it’s really worth it. Hopefully, Facebook will continue its rollout of commerce tools and make Checkout and Pay available globally, which would open things up significantly. In the meantime, sellers from the US are in luck as they can really familiarize themselves with all that’s available on the new Facebook Marketplace horizon.
What do you think about dropshipping on Facebook Marketplace? Exciting new avenue or just another fad? As a dedicated eCommerce community, we’d love to find out your views! Let us know in the comments below.