Whether it be clothing, coffee, cakes or cosmetics, every online retail store is always looking for ways to sell their wares online and promote their amazing products to the world. From large multi-national retailers to small boutique stores selling handcrafted trinkets, every online retail store can take advantage of the opportunities available on social media.
There’s no question that social media needs to be part of every online retail store’s marketing strategy with 90% of shoppers turning to social media to help make their buying decisions. So, if you need a few pointers on how to make an impact in this space, read on to learn some of the latest tips and tricks.
Give your Facebook followers the means to find your products and begin the purchase process directly from their feed and your Facebook page by utilising Facebook Shop. When this feature is activated, your products will be listed under the ‘shop’ tab in the left-hand column of your Facebook page. In here people can see product pictures, details and prices. Once they click on a product, they can then click ‘Check out on Website’ to go directly to the website product page to make a purchase.
But how will your visitors know that they can view and purchase products directly from your page?
You need to promote it of course, and you can do this by sharing a post featuring your products as shown in the example below. The post can include ‘products shown’ at the bottom of the page which links up to the Facebook shop page.
Facebook shop is so effective and user-friendly that we even found a company who runs their business entirely on Facebook and Instagram and doesn’t rely on a website to generate business. Bebe A Coffee Delivery has their coffee and prices listed in their Facebook shop, and visitors to their page only need to send the page a private message to place their order.
For most online retail stores, hooking up this feature with an existing website is the way to go. Facebook shop is set up to integrate with Shopify, BigCommerce or WooCommerce websites. Within Facebook shop, products can be segmented into different collections, making it easier for customers to browse, and there’s also no limit on the number of products you can add.
You will also have access to valuable insights and statistics, but the types of insights you gain will depend on the type of shop you add to your page.
Facebook Marketplace is in direct competition to the likes of Gumtree, the Trading Post and Craigslist. It’s a place where people can sell new and second-hand items and now, Facebook is also allowing businesses to sell on this platform.
If you already have Facebook shop set up, your products may appear in Marketplace automatically, allowing more people to discover your products beyond your existing page following. However, this feature is still being rolled out and may not be available to everyone yet.
Currently 2nd hand items are dominating this space, but retailers are slowly starting to show up here. In most cases products will be promoted locally, and the buyer will need to pick the item up to purchase unless the seller specifically states that postage is available.
Instagram’s New Shopping Feature
Many retail stores have already carved out their own space on Instagram, but now they will be able to actively gain purchases from their followers through this platform thanks to Instagram’s new shopping feature which is currently being rolled out for eligible and approved businesses in the US.
In this upcoming feature, a business can tag products in their posts and each tag will lead to a product detail view where customers can learn more about the product. When one of the tags is tapped, the user will see an image of the product from the post, a product description, price and a link to the website where the product can be purchased.
For any retailers in Australia, watch this space, because if this trial is successful, we can expect to see this feature rolled out globally.
Sales, Discounts & Competitions
One of the biggest reasons why people follow businesses on social media is to be across any deals and discounts being offered. If you’re holding a sale or if you’re discounting stock that you want to get rid of, promote it on your social media platform to get the message out there.
If you’d also like to grow your social audience, you could even offer exclusive deals that only social media subscribers will see and have access to. Competitions such as raffles or giveaways are other big drawing cards which can help generate awareness for your brand and products.
User Generated Content
If your customers love buying your products, why not encourage them to share their love on their social pages? Plenty of retail brands have significantly grown their market share by doing just this. There are a few ways to go about this. Creating a branded hashtag and encouraging fans to use it in snaps featuring your product is a good place to start. On Instagram, fans can tag your Instagram page on their snap too.
But sometimes a bit of extra encouragement is needed initially to kick of this trend. A contest or giveaway encouraging followers to share their product pics for a chance to win a prize could be the perfect way to do just that.
The importance of user generated content in the online retail space can’t be understated. Because customers can’t pick up or try out the products in store, they rely on examples of real people using the product to decide if the product is right for them.
Statistics back this notion up too with 93% of consumers finding user generated content to be helpful when making a purchase decision. 71% of consumers also feel more comfortable about buying a product after researching user generated reviews.
Another great way to generate interest and awareness for your products is to reach out to key influencers on social media (particularly Instagram and YouTube) who have a significant following that matches your target market.
Do your research to scope out some key influencers. Once you’ve found a few, reach out to them and ask if you can send them some of your products for free in return for a sponsored post on their social page featuring your product. To ensure this exchange is worth your while, if the content is shared on Instagram, your Instagram page should be tagged in the post and your branded hashtag should be included. If the content is shared on Youtube, a mention of your brand in the video and a link to your website in the description should suffice.
Do keep in mind that if the influencer has a large following, they may request a fee in exchange for their promotion. It will be up to you whether your budget allows for this and if the fee is worth the expected return you’ll gain. Some influencers may also decline your offer if they think your product doesn’t suit their brand our audience, so make sure to pick influencers who will be a great match for your product and will genuinely like it.