Doing it the right way: Social commerce for beginners
By Patrick Schaudel, ecommerce expert at IONOS
Ecommerce is more advanced in the UK than in any other European market, with almost 90% of the population shopping online. The more digitally adapted consumers become, the more they expect companies and service providers to do the same. Any businesses who aren‘t represented online hardly stand a chance. But how do you start out? And where?
Patrick Schaudel, ecommerce expert from IONOS, says that to reach the right customers for your products, you have to know which social channels to use. Here he shares five steps for determining the most suitable option and explains how social commerce beginners can get started with minimum effort.
Step 1: Make an initial assessment
Good preparation and honest self-assessment are essential, as the three things that usually fail are expertise, interest and – especially for smaller companies – time. With the ecommerce sector constantly evolving, things can quickly become overwhelming and beginners must therefore start small and plan for sufficient resources.
Step 2: Plan strategically
It‘s important to decide what it is you want to sell and who to sell to. Successful business owners already understand their target audience and products, but newcomers are often not as sure. Those starting out should ask the following questions: is there a market for my offer? Do people like to buy these products online? What are my competitors doing? Once you know this, it’s important to check which social channels your target audience uses most and where they ultimately buy from.
Step 3: Choose your platform and technical solution
Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are ideal for turning existing followers into buyers. A web shop is ideal for a larger portfolio or online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Whichever you choose, it‘s important to have a simple technical solution that offers common payment and shipping methods, as well as enabling central management of several sales channels at once. This way, additional channels and platforms can be easily added as your business grows.
Step 4: Design your shop and get marketing
Good quality images, accurate descriptions and a clear shop structure all increase the likelihood of a purchase. Friends or acquaintances who are part of your target audience can help review these aspects for you in a “friendly user test”.
When it comes to marketing, it’s a good idea to start where the shop first opened – online. Targeted advertising on Google or social media channels like Facebook, which has a large range of audience types, is an easy and cost-effective way to reach your chosen group.
Step 5: Learn by doing
If things don’t go to plan, it can be easy to dismiss social commerce and think “it won’t work”. However, it could just be the way you are approaching it that doesn’t work. It’s important to try different ways and slowly feel your way forward, but be sure to analyse regularly. It‘s essential to think outside the box, observe competitors and new trends, and adjust the screws as needed. Learn by doing and don’t just throw in the towel – because at the end of the day, social commerce scales very well.