As social commerce matures, more and more sales are happening not just with an assist from social media, but within social media itself. Whether it’s through a “Shop” tab on a brand’s Facebook page or a Have2Have.it link on Instagram, sales abound for retailers who make their social profiles shoppable.
For those contemplating the plunge, here are the top reasons to start selling on social media.
Small Startup Costs
Opening a traditional retail space costs tens of thousands of dollars. A brick-and-mortar location requires rent plus a security deposit, utilities, shop fixtures and customizations, and supplies. It may be daunting to rustle up such a large sum of money, and understandably so–58.9% of retail businesses fail within the first five years.
With a social commerce business, however, many of the costs evaporate. It takes no money to maintain a Facebook or Instagram page, and you don’t have to hire employees to cover the day’s shifts. You don’t need to invest in store displays or pay an electricity bill. Because costs are minimal, risk is low, and you are free to focus on the business you love.
United States e-commerce has grown steadily over the past ten years, surpassing the $300 billion mark in 2014. For customers, online shopping has several seductive qualities: it requires no transportation, avoids the problem of crowds, allows for instant product research, and is always just a screen away. With the advent of mobile e-commerce, consumers can shop virtually anywhere–in bed, at the bus stop, at the gym. In fact, TrueShip expects smartphones and tablets to be responsible for 60% of holiday shopping this year.
Running a business on social media takes further advantage of the fact that people can check their phones anywhere, at any time. They don’t have to be “shopping” to come across your product on Instagram and click “buy.”
Part of the allure of owning a business is the ability to be your own boss and set your own hours. Your social storefront doesn’t require that you be online to process orders around the clock, unlike a streetside business, which is dictated by normal store hours. This gives you an unprecedented amount of control over your schedule, which makes this business model ideal for everyone from second careerists to students to mompreneurs.
One such mompreneur is Kristi Pecoraro, the founder of Smocked by Stellybelly, which sells children’s clothing through biweekly Facebook auctions. The sales have gotten so popular that she calls them “The Hunger Games of stay-at-home moms.”
One of the challenges of running a retail space is simply getting customers to walk through your door. This is dependent on so many factors: location, weather, time of day, day of the week, etc. Social media eliminates many of these variables, expanding potential buyers to anyone who logs onto their profiles. Just ask Sundance Clothing, the Cape Cod boutique that cured its off-season slump by moving sales to Facebook.
Not only that, but spaces like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram act as social bullhorns, allowing users to pin, like, share, comment, and re-post content. It’s like having your own marketing team in your customer base.
Don’t forget about the “social” aspect of social media. Bringing your business to an interconnected online space means that you have the opportunity to get to know your customers, and vice versa. From a market research standpoint, this tells you what your demographic is like, and which products do well with them. From a customer service standpoint, it’s a way to offer real-time support.
Social media also offers a great platform for hosting contests. In a 2012 study by Northwestern University, researchers found that “relevant brand-prompts link to far greater engagement” and higher spending, both in the short- and long-terms.
Ready to start selling on social? Visit Soldsie for a free 30 day trial of Have2Have.it and make your Instagram shoppable!