MONEY : The Social Age

Changing the Face of Shopping

by Bill Nolan

Ecommerce is nothing new, but its relationship with social media is just beginning to bloom, and it’s having a huge impact on how businesses vend to their customers. If your business has the potential to sell products online, but has no website and no connection to at least one of the big social platforms, then you might as well keep advertising in the Yellow Pages, NOT. Your customers and potential clients are online 24/7 buying products at 3:00 p.m. as well as 3:00 a.m. in the early morning. I’m guessing your “top” competitors know this, and they are taking advantage of ecommerce and its new connections.

Social Money

Just think for a moment, how often do you see people checking their various social media networks on the go? Every time they do, while standing in line at the grocery store or waiting to pick up the kids, that’s an opportunity for your business to promote, connect and make money.

Ecommerce revenue generated through social media networks in 2015 reached $25 billion. That is projected to pass $40 billion over the next 2 years. I think it’s time for us to go shopping!

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Are Now In Bed With Shopify.

In addition to promoted ads and posts which take potential clients directly to your website for a purchase, you can now take customers to integrated social product pages, tweet products with “Buy Now” buttons or create searchable pins for direct product buys. Shopify.com provides sexy shopping carts for the new age of ecommerce, and they have now bundled their packages to work with these top three social media networks. Eye candy call to action buttons are also available and Twitter coupons and promotions are at your fingertips for just a few extra dollars a month.

WARNING: Please read the fine details and understand the fees. Yes, monthly costs start at $9, but that does not include an actual online store or a connection with Twitter. These make-sense-options bump up your costs with Shopify.com to $29 monthly. The price keeps going up with some very basic needs. But, it could all be bundled in one spot. You just don’t really own any of it. Renting!

What products are HOT in Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest social shopping? Home and office furnishings, antiques, garden products, collectibles, tech toys and specialty gifts. Looks like it’s prime for some new options!

What About Instagram? Well, They Connect Direct With You.

With over 400 million monthly users, this platform is a great way to reach potential customers. They have been providing the “big” users with ad services since late 2013. These options have recently expanded to smaller businesses as well. Last year the network implemented an ad feature for all users through Facebook apps, their new daddy, allowing retailers to add call to action buttons like “Shop Now” to their ads. These buttons link directly to your own website’s product page’s URL. That’s money! No hidden fees. Sure, you pay for the ads like you would on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but they go directly to your website.

WARNING: Whether you choose Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or another social platform to connect, you really should have your own website. These social media business pages do not belong to you. Think of it like, well, you’re renting a billboard. So ask yourself, would you build all of your marketing and sales around one billboard?

What products are in on Instagram? Clothes, jewelry, toys, sporting goods and specialty gifts are responsible for the majority of transactions. Looks like there’s some growth options here too.

Social media now offers a bevy of possibilities to enable sales… more than we had room to mention here. Take advantage of this new 24/7 customer connection. The population no longer runs on bankers’ hours, and neither should your business. Know your audience, where they are and get social shopping.

Next Up…

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Paypal, Square, Apple Pay and more… offering your business unique, safer POS and online sales on the go. Who needs a dollar bill these days?

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