Whether you’re a mid size retailer or manufacturer just starting out in the world of eCommerce, your goal is to grow your business rapidly and get new customers before your competitors do. Traditional marketing is no longer effective with today’s social and mobile customer base. Augmenting your eCommerce business with Social Commerce is the surefire way to acquire new customers, engage and convert them quickly, and keep them coming back. Online commerce empowers owners of midsize and startup companies in ways that simply wasn’t possible in the foot traffic days of brick-n-mortar business. As Internet virtually eliminated the constraints of location, the physical foot traffic gave way to the digital foot traffic. One such powerful source of digital foot traffic is Social Media.
Following are some ways Social Commerce can push your eCommerce business into rapid growth.
Level the Competitive Playing Field
As your company grows you are competing with enterprise companies for customer’s attention and only half the advertising budget. Social Commerce helps level this playing field when it comes to traffic, engagement, compelling content, and loyalty. In the digital and social media space, midsize and new businesses can compete on a more equal basis with well-crafted Social Media campaigns, contests, and other social marketing programs. Creating a national television commercial is incredibly expensive, but creating a compelling, visually stunning social media campaign is well within the means of even a small ad budget. And should a social post go viral, your company gets the opportunity to experience the same level of attention their enterprise competitors receive at a much lower cost.
Expand Your Business Faster
Sure, the people in your region love your clothing boutique. The people in other states and countries probably would too, if they knew about it and had a convenient way to shop. When you add eCommerce to your bricks and mortar business, you open the door to a potentially worldwide audience. Setting up an online storefront is remarkably easy these days, including setting up “shopping cart” technology and secure online checkout. You’ll need to invest in high quality images of the products you sell, but these can be used as part of your local traditional advertising strategy as well. Augmenting that with a solid set of social commerce tools opens the door to a vast wealth of User Generated Content including ratings and reviews, image galleries and social conversations. You can utilize this to improve your customer service, expand your marketing content, and reach a wider range of customers.
Mobility Empowers More Customers
In the last quarter of 2014, more traffic arrived at online stores from mobile devices than desktop computers. The lines between mobile and social started blurring when over 80% of off-line shopping experiences began on a mobile device.
eCommerce capitalizes on this mobile revolution, particularly when businesses make the mobile shopping experience as simple, aesthetically pleasing, and frictionless as possible. If you are just starting your business’s eCommerce strategy, then “mobile first” should be your guiding principle. Website architecture needs to be suited to the mobile experience, and fortunately, more web developers than ever are cognizant of this and are making it a priority to create websites that are visually appealing, responsive, and functional for both desktops views and mobile use.
Another promising trend in mobile eCommerce is the convergence of people who use mobile to strictly browse and people who actually complete purchases on their mobile devices. People are becoming more and more comfortable shopping from mobile devices, and technology is allowing businesses to make the mobile checkout process fast, seamless, and intuitive.
This quickly developing shift towards mobile shopping offers new companies an opportunity to disrupt the space and get ahead of their enterprise counterparts. As they are just beginning their eCommerce efforts they can build mobile functionality and friendliness into their strategy for seamless marketing and customer experience right from the get go.
Social Media Can Build Your Brand Faster and more Efficiently
Social media and eCommerce can work together terrifically, and the investment in social media is more of a time investment rather than a capital investment. The social media landscape includes giant corporations that use social platforms to burnish their reputations as well as smaller businesses that use the platforms to build their brand. The great thing about social media is that when it’s done well, a small or mid size company can appear just as impressive and dynamic as their larger enterprise competitors. One especially effective technique is to employ user-generated content, especially photos and videos. A picture taken by a real customer with the product in real life situation can be remarkably inspiring and helps consumers make better purchasing decisions.
Successful social media strategies revolve around engaging with customers and providing them with information that is entertaining, fresh, original, and relevant to their interests and preferences. Companies can run contests on social media websites, and can, on occasion, use these platforms to announce new products, offer promotions, and even collect feedback. You have to be careful, however, to avoid using social media simply to pitch products. People are quick to unfollow brands that they believe are constantly trying to sell to them. Social media should be mostly informative, entertaining, and engaging.
A huge range of businesses can add eCommerce to their operations at a relatively low cost, and expand to serve consumers in a much broader geographic territory – worldwide in some instances. Social Commerce gives businesses the ability to capture user profile information with a click of a button, take and fulfil online orders easily and boost revenues significantly without a huge capital investment.
Mobility is revolutionizing people’s browsing and shopping habits, and with a mobile first strategy, businesses can reach people around the world, around the clock. Social media platforms give new companies a worldwide stage on which they can educate, entertain, and inform their customers, and ultimately monetize their social media following.