Today’s e-commerce landscape is changing rapidly. Your customers are ready to interact with and buy from your brand at more places online than simply a single e-commerce website. They are hanging out on social networks like Facebook or Pinterest, on a variety of mobile phones and tablets, as well as the major search sites and comparison shopping engines.
This begs the question: how can smaller, budget-minded retailers sell in multiple places at once? The following tips are used by our merchants that have been highly successful selling from storefronts on multiple sites.
As e-commerce continues to evolve, it is clear that much of the success is due to operating storefronts on multiple sites. Fortunately, today’s shopping cart technology helps you take advantage of this trend and have your store in many places at once, while managing it all from a unified control panel. Adopting this “sell-anywhere” approach will help you realize a meaningful impact on your bottom line.
Maintain an active presence on the major social networks
According to recent estimates, anywhere from 10% to 15% of the world’s population is using Facebook actively, making the sales and marketing opportunities impossible to ignore. So retailers need to have at least a presence by setting up a Facebook fan page.
By simply increasing your number of Likes, you will extend your brand’s visibility by tapping the viral reach of your fans’ networks. This is why retailers actively promote their Facebook fan pages to customers in their brick-and-mortar stores.
But your customers also appreciate the opportunity to buy the products they discover without leaving the confines of Facebook, so ideally you should set up a working store on Facebook. Today’s shopping carts enable you to do this easily, and you can manage and administer your Facebook commerce (or “f-commerce”) and e-commerce storefronts with just a few clicks.
Being active on Facebook doesn’t require a huge monetary investment. In fact, several merchants have discovered there is no need to buy ads or pay to promote Facebook posts. A key lesson: younger staffers who grew up in the world of social media know how to communicate with customers and work that social system effectively – that is, being informative but not “salesy.”
For example, woman’s clothing boutique Apricot Lane regularly posts pictures of items it is considering offering. Customers are allowed to weigh in, which helps build brand loyalty and engagement.
Even if you do not notice conversions happening quickly on Facebook, do not lose sight of the importance of maintaining this social conversation. Another merchant has noticed that as they became more interactive and engaging on their fan page, the volume of e-commerce sales experienced a major uptick. This merchant likens f-commerce to “showrooming” for his primary store, meaning Facebook can also have an impact on downstream conversions in other channels.
Adopt a responsive design strategy
According to Adobe’s Digital Index, over the past two years mobile page views as a percentage of retailer website traffic have steadily increased, but conversions have been going down. This is not too surprising as mobile e-commerce sites have not been very mobile-friendly, since product images built for the desktop do not adapt well to smaller screen sizes. This is where responsive design can help.
Using a shopping cart with a responsive design, you can create one web page which includes multiple sets of CSS rules that change the format and layout based on the size of the browser window. This means the site will adjust fluidly and automatically to any screen size from smartphone to big screen, thus optimizing the consumer shopping experience and effectiveness of your store. So if you’re starting out, you’ll save time and money by making certain your shopping cart is “responsive design compliant.”
Make sure your products are discoverable
Use the searchable nature of the web to your fullest advantage. If your content has strong SEO indexation, your products will appear on Google, Bing and other search engines. In addition, getting your products listed on the major comparison shopping engines where shoppers are searching is a great way to drive sales.
Today’s shopping carts enable merchants to easily list, categorize and update their products on the major shopping comparison websites, including Amazon Product Ads, Bizrate, Google Shopping, Nextag, PriceGrabber and Shopzilla. Within a matter of minutes, merchants’ products can appear on all of these sites with millions of qualified shoppers able to access their storefronts.
Jesse Ness is a marketing manager at Ecwid.