High street shops have been a familiar sight for many generations, but for in a fast paced world where every minute feels packed full of things to do, a visit to the shops may be one thing too many to fit in to your day. Many independent retailers have a following of loyal customers and have set up a website to connect with them, but there is now a growing trend towards setting up an ecommerce site. This can help your customers manage their desire to shop with you, and at a time that is more convenient to them, so that now your shop is open and working for you, even when you're sleeping.
Setting up an ecommerce site is an opportunity for you to reach a wider audience but have you also considered connecting your ecommerce site to social media? Full of potential customers, combining your ecommerce site with social media is a great way to grow your business. Facebook and Instagram are two social media platforms that host social selling, and with 2.32 billion users on Facebook by the end of 2018, it’s brimming with potential customers. With more data consumed by people on mobile devices than on desktops, social selling is a convenient option for online shoppers, allowing your customers to browse and buy your products whilst scrolling through their favourite social media websites.
You don’t to have lots of technical knowledge to create a Facebook Shop. To begin selling, you will need to set up your Facebook Shop via your Facebook Business page. Once this is done you can upload pictures and details of the products yourself and then manage payment and shipping options, and add as many products as you like. This manual way to use Facebook Shop is a more basic way of selling and is best used if your existing ecommerce platform doesn’t link directly to Facebook Shop, or if you don't have an ecommerce website as you only have a few products.
If you have not yet set up your ecommerce site, and are planning to link it to a Facebook Shop in the future, it’s worth doing some research into which platforms are compatible before you invest any time or money. Shopify is the most commonly used and highly rated ecommerce platform. Connecting a Shopify site to your Facebook Shop is an easy way to expand your online selling options, and you can choose to keep your checkout option on Facebook to make the buyer’s experience simpler, or direct them to your website to checkout. Another reason why Shopify is such a popular option for users to link with Facebook Shop is that any updates you make to your products on your website will automatically be made on your Facebook Shop, so there’s no extra effort required or manual changes needed.
Other ecommerce website builders that are compatible with Facebook Shop are BigCommerce (best for businesses with large number of products that lets you create targeted Facebook advertisements for your target audience) and Squarespace (known for its creative features and design templates but with social shopping features better suited to Instagram).
Instagram is an increasingly popular social network centred around sharing photos and videos, so there are lots of marketing opportunities if your business sells products. Shopify, BigCommerce and Squarespace are Instagram’s only ecommerce partners and to start using the shop feature in Instagram you’ll need to have one of these as well as a Facebook Shop and an Instagram business account. From here you can choose which social media channel(s) you want to add on your ecommerce website. You can then sync your business’ Facebook Store to your Instagram business account, and it will pull over products from there. Instagram allows you to tag your products in your pictures (like you would tag a person in a photo) after you upload them, which allows customers to simply tap on the image and be directed to the product on your website and purchase it!
Engagement rates on social media will suerely continue to grow, so whether you’re an ecommerce business or a retail shop looking to add an online shopping experience to your offering, Facebook and Instagram can both help with your sales. We strongly recommend that you take your time and plan in advance. Choosing the right ecommerce platform at the start will save you more time in the longrun.
For more advice and support in getting your business online and selling through social channels contact us at email@example.com.