Everyone knows Facebook as a place to catch up with friends and family, share photos, and join interest groups. But did you know that you can also sell things, and even build an ecommerce business on Facebook? All you need is an active Facebook account, and you can start selling right away.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to sell on Facebook Marketplace, borrowing from the tried-and-true techniques I recommend to Amazon sellers.
What is Facebook Marketplace?
The Marketplace was introduced by Facebook in 2016 and quickly became a popular platform to sell items to local buyers. Compared to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is a safer and more user-friendly platform to use when selling locally.
Now, Facebook further sets itself apart from Craigslist by allowing eligible sellers to offer nationwide shipping for products in certain categories—providing them with a much larger customer base than local-only sellers.
Because of its origins as a local buy/sell platform, people tend to think of the Marketplace as a clearinghouse for people’s used or unwanted household items. But its shipping capabilities mean it’s also great for retail arbitrage—the practice of buying in-demand products from a retail store and reselling them online at a higher price.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Marketplace, take some time to look around and see the types of products available. Like eBay or Craigslist, you can buy and sell practically anything you can think of—from cars to couches, video games, furniture, and more.
Who should sell on Facebook Marketplace?
The short answer is: anyone! Facebook Marketplace is for people who have extra stuff they want to get rid of, but it’s also for entrepreneurs, ecommerce businesses, Amazon sellers, woodworkers, handmade artists, brick-and-mortar stores—you get the picture.
In fact, seller strategies don’t differ all that much between Facebook and other platforms like Amazon and eBay.
Unlike other ecommerce or reselling marketplaces, Facebook charges zero fees to list your items if you sell them locally. If a customer places an order for shipping, the seller is only charged 5% of the sale price. The low overhead makes listing products on Facebook a no-brainer for new or experienced ecommerce sellers.
What do you need to start selling on Facebook?
All you need to start selling on Facebook Marketplace is an active Facebook account. It’s really that simple! If you would like to offer shipping on your listings, you need to take the extra step to enter your payment and shipping information.
How to Sell on Facebook Marketplace: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: How to set up your Facebook Marketplace account
If you already have an active Facebook account, then you have access to Facebook Marketplace. On the left-hand side of your Facebook homepage, you should see a “Marketplace” tab. If not, search for “Marketplace” in the search bar and it’ll come up.
If you don’t have a Facebook account, it’s easy to set one up.
Go to Facebook.com and click on “Create New Account.”
Enter in your information and click on “Sign Up.”
After that, your account will be set up and ready to go. You’ll need to fill in some information so you actually seem like a real person—it’s an important step that’ll make you more trustworthy on the Marketplace. People won’t want to buy from you if you don’t have at least a profile picture and some basic identifying information on your account.
That’s all there is to it! Once your Facebook account is ready to go, you can access the Marketplace.
Step 2: What should you sell on Facebook?
Similar to eBay and Craigslist, you can sell practically anything on Facebook Marketplace. Your first step to selling on Facebook is to look around your house, garage, or attic to see if you have some stuff cluttering up your home that’s valuable enough to resell.
This can include old furniture, old electronics, video games, kitchen appliances, books—anything! Take a look around the Marketplace and see what others are selling in your area.
While you’re at it, take note of other sellers’ product descriptions and photos. What did you find helpful as a potential customer, and what areas do you see for improvement? For instance, did the seller include the product’s dimensions and well-lit photos taken from multiple angles? Keep your observations in mind as you create your own listings (more on building listings in Step 4).
Categories on Facebook Marketplace:
You can sell in many different categories on the marketplace, including apparel, musical instruments, and pet supplies.
Here’s the category list in full:
- Property rentals
- Free stuff
- Garden & outdoor
- Home goods
- Home improvement supplies
- Pet supplies
- Sporting goods
- Toys & games
If you’re a car dealer, a computer refurbisher, or even a realtor, there’s a category for you on Facebook.
Before you start selling on Facebook Marketplace, you should do some product research to make sure what you’re selling will be profitable. This is a crucial step, especially for sellers looking to build an ecommerce business through Facebook.
Effective product research depends on data: it considers how many units of a given product sell over time and at what price, as well as how many other sellers are competing for the same customers within a particular niche.
Facebook Marketplace mostly deals in local sales of one-off items, and we don’t have a ton of helpful data on what sells and what doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean we have to guess as to what will sell—we can just look to see what works on other marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.
There are shortcuts to estimating profitability, as well as a variety of ecommerce business tools available that handle all the heavy lifting. One such tool is Jungle Scout. Its powerful features like Product Database and Keyword Scout analyze Amazon sales data to reveal profitable opportunities with just a few clicks. And while Jungle Scout’s product research tools are built for the Amazon marketplace, the insights they provide are transferable to Facebook Marketplace.
You’re not required to use software to do product research—I’ll show you some manual techniques to use. But you should always trust data over gut feelings when it comes to selling online—it’s a science.
Let’s talk about the three main points to consider when doing product research for any ecommerce marketplace: profitability, demand, and competition.
If you set up shipping on your listing, Facebook will only charge you a small 5% selling fee. This fee is there to cover the cost of the payment processing for using their checkout system.
For example, if you sell an item for $10, Facebook will charge you a $0.50 selling fee.
- eBay fees: ~14% + shipping
- Amazon fees: 15% referral + 15% for FBA fees
To determine your potential profit, simply subtract your buy cost from your selling price.
Since Facebook doesn’t provide us with any data, we need to use data from eBay and Amazon to give us a good idea of what’s selling.
Since we’re able to view sold and completed listings on eBay, we can calculate the sell-through rate, or the number of sold listings versus the number of active listings for a product, expressed as a percentage. We’ve gone over this process in detail in our guide to selling on eBay, but we’ll review it here.
A high sell-through rate indicates strong demand—meaning a large percentage of products listed are being sold. If a product has a low sell-through rate, there’s not much demand.
So, what is a good sell-through rate? If you want to sell your products rather quickly, look for items with at least a 50% sell-through rate. Below that, you may have to wait a few weeks to a few months for the product to sell.
Using eBay’s advanced filters and search results, we can easily determine the sell-through rate of any product using data from the past 90 days. Let’s try an example. .
On eBay, I am going to search for “Charizard cards.” That search term returns 19,816 results. This means there are currently 19,816 active Charizard Pokémon card listings.
Now, scroll down the page and you will see the “Sold Items” and “Completed Items” filters. Check these boxes.
This filtering returns 64,157 results. Wow! This means 64,157 Charizard cards have sold in the past 90 days.
Let’s calculate the sell-through rate for Charizard cards. If you divide 64,157 (the Sold and Completed listings) by 19,816 (the active listings), you get 3.23, or a sell-through rate of 323%. So there’s crazy-high demand for Charizard cards. If you can get your hands on some, you should definitely list them on eBay!
Let’s try this again, this time on Facebook Marketplace. Here’s what I see after a similar keyword search.
While there’s clearly lots of competition for Charizard cards on Facebook Marketplace, eBay tells us that the demand for these cards is even greater—so we don’t need to be intimidated by the pages and pages of results.
The next product research tool you can explore is Jungle Scout. Its all-in-one suite of tools pull essential data for Amazon sellers, such as daily and monthly sales volumes, historical pricing and sales rank data, and its powerful data analytics point users to potential product opportunities.
- Use Product Database to set custom filters and view popular products in any category on Amazon.
Let’s measure demand for Charizard cards on Amazon. Using Product Database, I’ll set my filters to search in the “Toys & Games” Amazon product category for listings that have a minimum of 100 sales per month and include the keywords “pokemon” and “charizard.”
That search returns over 200 results with my exact search parameters.
Taking a look at the Monthly Sales column, we can see that Pokémon card listings are selling by the hundreds each month—this is a good niche to pursue.
- Use Keyword Scout to view monthly search volume and trends for particular keywords.
I searched Keyword Scout for “Pokemon cards” to gauge how often real Amazon customers are searching for Pokemon products—including Charizard cards. Keyword Scout shows me related keywords, monthly search volume, how popular this keyword has been in the past 30 days, and more. As a seller, I consider 500 to 1000 searches per month my minimum when determining whether a product has sufficient demand.
This is clearly a very popular niche, as “pokemon cards” and related keywords have tens of thousands of searches per month—and most are trending upwards. People want Pokémon cards!
- Use Opportunity Finder to discover high-demand and low-competition product ideas.
Opportunity Finder reveals high-demand, low-competition keywords—it helps sellers sniff out profitable product niches they may have never thought about. Using this tool, let’s also search for keywords related to “pokemon cards” and “charizard” within the “Toys & Games” category, with competition set for “Very Low” to “Medium.”
Here, we get some great news—take a look at the “Competition” and “Niche Score” columns.
On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best opportunity, each of these keywords score between 6 and 7. There is low competition with medium-high demand for this niche.
While calculating the sell-through rate on eBay is helpful, Jungle Scout will give you even more robust insights into demand, competition, and potential profitability—without any math on your part.
Whether you’re selling a used couch, a car, or a product of your own creation, you’ll be competing with lots of other sellers on Facebook Marketplace.
As you can see with the Charizard card example, it’s easy for a listing to get lost in the search results. To stand out, optimize your listing with great photos and a keyword-rich description. In a later section, I’ll give you tips on how to do that.
How to come up with product ideas
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to sell on Facebook, take a look at eBay’s “Trending Deals” page for inspiration. There, you’ll find popular, in-demand products.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind as you narrow your product search:
- Keep an eye out for new releases of popular items
Take advantage of product releases that are in high demand. For example, resellers bought up inventory of the newly-released Xbox and PS5 gaming systems to resell on marketplaces like eBay and Facebook.
- Stay on top of new trends
Use the Pokemon/Charizard card example from before. Pokeman trading cards have really exploded in popularity again in recent months, and people are looking to buy them.
- Seasonal products
Think of different items you buy as the seasons change. The winter months are a great opportunity for jackets, coats, holiday decor, etc. Inflatable pools and swim gear are popular during the summer months.
- Normal, everyday items
It’s great to sell exciting, trendy stuff, but reliable ecommerce best-sellers tend to fly under the radar. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to sell everyday household items like furniture, cleaning supplies, books, and glassware. There will always be demand for these kinds of products.
Step 3: Where to source products to sell on Facebook
Now that you’ve got an idea of what will sell on Facebook, how do you actually get your hands on these products? In general, sourcing products for Facebook is similar to sourcing products for eBay. The best way, in my opinion, is to go the retail arbitrage route, so we’ll start with that. But there are a few other methods I want to discuss.
Resell products from retail stores
This is retail arbitrage, a business model that works well on Amazon. In fact, 19% of Amazon sellers do retail arbitrage, and over half of them make $1,000 or more each month in sales.
It also works well on eBay, so there’s no reason why you can’t succeed with it on Facebook. If there are local people in your area looking for those same products, you will have customers.
Just keep in mind that people notice drastically marked-up products, and Facebook users aren’t shy about bashing sellers who try it. It is best to price your arbitrage products reasonably and ignore these types of people. Eventually, you’ll receive messages from people looking to buy.
Search the clearance or sales sections of retail stores like Walmart, Target, and even grocery stores. More likely than not, you will find great deals to resell.
Using our eBay example in Step 2, use the eBay app while you’re out browsing and use the sell-through rate method to suss out profitable opportunities.
Sell your own private label product
Chances are, if you have your own private label product (i.e., a product you sell under your unique brand) Facebook Marketplace is already on your radar as a potential place to list it. 10% of Amazon sellers (who mostly run private-label businesses) currently sell on Facebook, and another 8% are looking to expand there in 2021.
If the concept of a private-label product is new to you, just know that selling your own branded products is a proven route to success on Amazon, and presents an equally good opportunity on Facebook. Remember, Facebook Marketplace has over 800 million active users nationwide—a huge pool of potential new customers.
Advantages of the private label model:
- You create your own unique product and brand
- You can sell something nobody else can, which sets you apart from other sellers
- You can save money by sourcing your products from suppliers outside of the U.S.
For an in-depth tutorial on creating and sourcing a private label product, check out our updated guide to How to Sell on Amazon.
Go to your local thrift store
You can always find some hidden gems at thrift stores. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you look hard enough and stay consistent, you will find some hidden treasures priced way below market value.
Look out for vintage or designer clothing, used but functional video games and toys, furniture, glassware, and other items that hold their value.
Source from garage sales and estate sales
Garage sales and estate sales are places where you can find great items at an even better price. Typically, when a homeowner has one of these sales, they are trying to declutter their home or they’re moving—which means they’ll let stuff go for cheap.
They can be hit or miss but if you stay consistent, you can dig up gold. Use these two free websites to find garage sales and estate sales in your local area
Step 4: How to list your items
Now that we’ve reviewed product research and sourcing, lets go over how to create your listings and start making some money.
Facebook makes it easy to list products for sale. We’ll do it from a desktop in this example, but know that you can also list products from your phone.
On the left-hand menu on the Facebook homepage, click “Marketplace.”
Then, “Create new listing.”
Next, click “Choose your listing type.” You can choose from “Item for Sale”, “Vehicle for Sale”, “Home for Sale or Rent”, or “Job Opening.”
We’re going to choose “Item for Sale.”
Now, you’ll fill in all of your product information and upload product images.
Here’s where we begin the process of listing optimization: making our product more visible to customers, more likely to be clicked, and more likely to sell.
First off, you want to be sure your listing title and description include all as many relevant keywords as possible to improve your SEO—this helps your product show up more prominently among the results when a customer searches for it—or for similar products.
The more detailed information and keywords you include, the better chance customers will actually see your product.
For this example, I will create a listing for an Xbox One console I no longer want. I’ve titled it “Used Xbox One with Wireless Controller and Wires,” so there should already be zero confusion about what the customer will get if they purchase my listing.
In the description box, I communicated the Xbox’s condition, making note of cosmetic defects the customer could notice, why I’m selling it, and, again, what’s included with the purchase.
I added plenty of product tags, too. These act as additional search terms you couldn’t fit in the title or description.
Let’s preview the listing before going on to the next step:
Looks pretty good! We’ve filled in all the product information we need, so we’ll click “Next.”
In this section, we’ll choose our delivery method. For video game consoles, we can choose “Shipping and Local Pickup” to target both locals and remote customers from over the country. Alternatively, we can opt for “Shipping Only” or “Local Pickup Only.”
I am going to choose “Shipping and Local Pickup” so as not to exclude any potential buyers.
We’ll go for a prepaid label provided by Facebook, which makes the shipping process much easier. But you can also choose to create and print your own shipping label elsewhere.
Choose your package weight to determine the cost of the label.
Facebook will then show you how much money you can expect to make once someone buys your product.
Your last step is choosing where to list the product. You can just list it in the Marketplace, or you can list in the Marketplace, plus local selling groups. Search for “buying/selling” groups in your local area and join them. This is a great way to get your products in front of even more people.
After you choose where to list your product, hit “Publish.” Your product is now up for sale on Facebook!
Now that your listing is public, expect to start getting some messages from interested buyers.
The first thing you should do now that your listing is live is download the Facebook Messenger app on your phone. That way, you won’t miss any messages.
How to communicate with buyers
As I mentioned before, some customers can be pretty rude, especially if you are reselling a product for more than the retail price. Just stay calm and respectful no matter the situation.
- Try to answer messages as soon as possible to increase your chances of making a sale
- If someone is rude or angry, simply ignore the messages or block them
- Use the messenger app to answer questions when not at your computer
- Expect to negotiate—customers will lowball you
- If asked, respectfully communicate your lowest price and stay firm
How to handle a local sale
I don’t need to tell you that meeting up with strangers you talked to on the internet can be a little sketchy. Just be cautious when handing off a product to a local buyer, and follow these safety tips:
- Meet in a shopping center parking lot where you know there will be lots of other people around. If you’re meeting at night, park near the front entrance of a store that’s still open, or under a light post
- Most police stations have a designated area where you can meet up with people to buy and sell goods. For instance, my local police department has a “Safe Exchange Zone” that is well-lit and monitored by 24-hour surveillance cameras
- If you are comfortable with it, give the person your home address so they can come and pick up the product at your convenience
- If you’re selling high value items to cash buyers, you’ll want to keep a counterfeit money pen on hand
You can always view someone’s profile before meeting up so you know who to expect. Make sure they have a few real photos of themselves and basic information on their profile, such as where they live or work, family members, or life events. If something seems off with the customer, stop all communication. Go with your gut. Facebook allows you to report suspicious people or activity on the Marketplace as well.
Step 5: Advanced selling tips for Facebook Marketplace
Once you get the hang of product research and listing optimization, you’re going to be a Facebook Marketplace pro. Let’s go over a few next-level strategies to increase your sales.
Boost your listings
You can advertise your Facebook listings by “boosting” them, or moving them back to the top of Marketplace search results. Boosting your listing essentially turns it into an ad, which comes with a few benefits:
- Your listing will also appear in people’s news feeds
- Customize your audience to target likely customers
- Set your own daily budget and campaign date range
- See insights from Facebook about your listing’s performance
Here’s how to boost your marketplace listing:
In “Your Account” on Marketplace, go to “Your Listings.” Find the listing you’d like to promote and click on “Boost Listing.”
Next, set your daily budget and boost duration. Facebook will estimate your audience reach based on your budget, so you can make a cost-effective decision on how much to spend.
After you set your budget, you can choose the audience you want to target. Facebook allows you to target users by location, age, and even interests. You can save custom audience settings for future use.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, click “Promote Now” to begin your boost campaign.
After your boosted ad starts to run, you can monitor its performance with metrics like reach and clicks. You’ll be able to see what you’ve spent, how many people saw your listing, and how they’ve engaged with it.
Offer free local delivery
Many customers don’t want to leave their house to go pick up items, especially for things like heavy furniture. Offer free local delivery within a range that’s convenient for you, and you’ll boost your conversions.
Take great photos
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many listings on Facebook I come across that have dull, poorly lit, or blurry photos. Take some time to make sure your photos are crisp, clear, and well lit. If you don’t include good photos in your listing, you can bet people will ask for some.
For taking great Facebook Marketplace photos, you can borrow tips from Amazon sellers. Check out our guide to product and lifestyle photography and best practices for Amazon product images for more information.
Remember, customers want to know exactly what they’re going to get, so be sure to include high-quality pictures taken from different angles, close-ups of cosmetic errors, and lifestyle images showing the product in use.
Post your listing in local selling groups
I mentioned this in Step 4, but I want to touch on it again. Putting your products right in front of local customers is always helpful.
Keep in mind that if you post a listing in one of these buyer/seller groups, people can comment on your post. This can be good or bad. If you’re reselling an item for a dramatically inflated price, you risk racking up some disgruntled comments.
On the other hand, if the group is fairly active, your listing will get immediate attention.
Renew your post
If your product has not sold yet and has been listed for at least 7 days, you can renew your listing. This will “bump” your listing back to the top of the results—for free. As more sellers list new products, your listing will be pushed back down the list.
To do this, go to the Marketplace, click “Your Account,” then “Your Listings.”
Find your listing and click on the 3-dot icon in the listing thumbnail. In the drop-down menu that appears, there will be an option to renew your listing.
Expand to other marketplaces
If Facebook Marketplace is your first taste of ecommerce, you can eventually move onto more advanced selling marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
Ebay is still alive and well, with 183 million active buyers worldwide—over 70% of that traffic coming from the U.S. Ebay is probably the next step up from Facebook Marketplace, as you can easily set up an account and sell similar products.
Amazon has an audience of millions, including 83% of all U.S. consumers. Needless to say, it’s a great place to launch and grow an ecommerce business. On top of that, Amazon’s sophisticated fulfillment network (Fulfillment by Amazon) makes shipping a breeze.
If you’re interested in selling on Amazon, check out our in-depth guide here.
Start selling on Facebook Marketplace!
After you sell your first item through Facebook, you’ll be hooked. This easy-to-use platform makes shopping simple for buyers and sellers alike.
All you need is a Facebook account, and you could be selling products from your house the same day.
I hope this detailed guide will help you start your selling journey using Facebook marketplace! If you’ve already found success on Facebook, let us know your top tip in the comments.