eCommerce — Serve Your Customers Online
Whether you’re a local business with a limited eCommerce presence or a brick-and-mortar product-based company that had predominantly focused on an in-person store experience, it’s critical to make as much of your product or service offering as possible available for discovery and purchase online. Below are digital commerce platforms and strategies worth consideration.
The social nature of Facebook and Instagram Shop allows you to create an online shopping experience for your existing customers while also being discovered by new customers. When paired with information sharing (posting), engagement, and promotional capabilities, Facebook and Instagram should definitely be part of your eCommerce toolkit if you’re a product-based B2C business.
While not as large as Facebook and Instagram in terms of active users, 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan their purchases, making it a platform worthy of consideration especially if your products are visual and appealing to female customers.
Online marketplaces (ex: Amazon, eBay, Etsy)
Unlike social media platforms, where intent is largely connection, and Pinterest, which largely thrives on visual discovery, online marketplaces are directly tied to purchase intent, and they bring millions of shoppers (sort of like a physical shopping center).
Shoppable landing pages
With platforms like Mailchimp, you can start selling your products without an eCommerce website. However you’ll need to be sure to direct customers to your shoppable landing pages to make purchases via email marketing, social media, and/or digital advertising campaigns.
Unlike Amazon, which provides immediate exposure but is an aggregated seller marketplace, Shopify allows businesses to build and manage a unique, standalone online store (eCommerce website). If you’re seeking more control over your branding, management, and customer relationship and fulfillment process AND can dedicate resources to marketing to drive people to your online store, Shopify might be the best bet. Basic commerce website platforms like Shopify also generally will include other benefits, such as integration with online marketplaces and social media, abandoned cart emails, and insightful analytics.
It’s important to note that the platforms above are not an exhaustive list, nor should they be considered mutually exclusive to each other. You may start with eCommerce on social and then layer in another platform for further reach and capabilities. Assess your needs, your customer needs, and leverage data to guide your strategies.
Offer discounts and promos
Most consumers (57%) say that businesses that offer special deals, coupons, or promo codes for returning customers stand out from the competition. *
Three-quarters of consumers say that having reviews either gives the business a competitive advantage (36%) or is expected (40%). However, only 7% have been asked to write a review of a local business even though 89% are willing to do so if they had a positive experience and were asked. *
Remember that comments and engagement on social media platforms can also serve as informal reviews, so interacting with your community there is important. Business accounts on Facebook and Google My Business also include reviews, so monitor those closely. Platforms like Yelp are also worth looking into.
Leverage your best-selling or popular product or content
If you have a commerce platform with the ability to rotate content, place your top-selling product next to product that’s newer or not as strong. Leverage suggested products features and key placements like your homepage, hero images, and the top of product results or upper third of the page to pair your popular content or product with ones that could use a bit more visibility. For social this means planning your posts so that popular product is featured alongside content you want to promote, ideally either within the same visual or as part of the same post.
Create and distribute content to communicate relevant information about your business or products. Make your products or services available online via ecommerce platforms and tactics. And utilize digital marketing solutions like search engine optimization, social media, paid media advertising, and email marketing to reach and connect with customers and our local community.