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For a seller, what’s the difference between Facebook Shops and Facebook Marketplace for Business?
Facebook is eager for your business as a vendor of products, so they’ve tried to give flexible options to sellers interested in either or both channels. Let’s start with a summary of each one.
About Facebook Marketplace
The architecture of Marketplace remains where it began: a service to individual buyers and sellers. It functions like a classified marketplace for mostly used items. But Marketplace also welcomes sellers of new items, if they’re able to work with the limitations of a classified ad model. As such, it remains a good choice for smaller e-commerce businesses just starting out. Many participate from their Business profile page on the platform.
Advantages of Facebook Marketplace
You can test responses to different products, photos and titles. Hone down which are the best sellers, before spending a chunk on advertising or investing in an e-commerce storefront.
It’s free to list your products on Marketplace. You can also purchase dynamic product ads for Marketplace that move around Facebook with the user.
Through Facebook Messenger, vendors can chat live with buyers to help move them towards a purchase
Vendors can display selected individual items from inventory, either in regular listing posts or through ads. If they have a Facebook Shop, they can also list Shop items on Marketplace to reach more buyers, provided the shop has the Facebook checkout feature.
About Facebook Shops
Facebook Shops is relatively new. Shops debuted in 2020 as a response to demand from vendors who were outgrowing or already too large for Marketplace, but still wanted access to Facebook’s gold mine of a user base. It was also a way to nudge commercial sellers into a more suitable channel for merchandising and order handling in larger volumes.
A Facebook Shop isn’t the same as a Business Page, which is basically a commercial version of a personal page, with all the same kinds of profile information displayed. Businesses can feature items for sale on their Business page. But the process is cumbersome and the buyer still needs to go elsewhere to find and purchase the product.
A Shop is a storefront, with individual or bundled products offered for sale, full product listing pages, and a shopping cart. But it resides only within the Facebook ecosystem, and you must advertise your products to get buyers to find them before clicking over for more browsing in your Shop.
Advantages of Facebook Shops
Unlike the basic listing features afforded by Marketplace, Facebook Shop gives e-merchants tools for promotion, sales, marketing, conversion, customer support, and more.
Facebook Shop integrates with third-party e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc.
You get a unified shop presence across the entire Facebook family of apps and services. This will make your Shop visible on all their social media apps: Facebook, Instagram, Stories, FB Ads, Messenger, and WhatsApp. You can turn on any of the channels you want through the Commerce Manager in your Shop’s dashboard.
Facebook Shop gives you the opportunity to install Facebook’s checkout feature, wherein they collect and store the shopper’s payment information when they make a purchase, for faster checkout on future purchases. Buyers can make their purchases within the app (Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp) instead of going to an external site to complete it.
Another big difference between Facebook Shops and Facebook Marketplace is that Shops gives you access to Facebook’s Pixel. Pixel is the tracking and analytics tool that unlocks all that user data they’ve collected since the beginning of time. It enables highly specific micro-targeting of your desired audience, and performance comparisons for your ad campaigns.
Pros and Cons of selling on both channels
We interviewed a furniture dealer who mainly uses Marketplace, but also has a little-used Facebook Shop. He maintains a basic WordPress-based storefront of his own, and uses the Facebook posts from his Business page as his product feed.
He prefers Marketplace to the Facebook Shop because it gives him exposure to many more buyers, for free. (You need to advertise a Shop for people to discover it, whereas millions of people browse or search through Marketplace every day.) He can post photos and links to featured products onto Marketplace without all the extra setup required for running a Shop.
As a family-run small business, this suits him for now. “Marketplace is unorganized and a mess,” he said, “but really cheap as in less than half the cost to sell on compared to everyone else.”
One complaint he mentioned is that Facebook is constantly changing its interface for sellers. He speculated this could be to discourage Chinese e-commerce companies seeking to flood Marketplace with cheap products. Facebook guards its reputation by quality-checking every new product listed. The upside result is there’s not the fierce price competition you see on Amazon or eBay.
You also don’t pay any seller fees on Facebook. In that regard there’s no difference between Facebook Shops and Facebook Marketplace. With a Shop using their checkout feature, there is a small payment processing fee of 5% but it’s actually suspended through the first half of 2022.
Which service you choose really depends on the maturity of your business and the number of products you sell. The higher those numbers, the more you can use the advantages of Shops to grow your sales.
For more about Facebook Shops and getting one started, see this article.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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