Today, there are often two extremes being shouted about the loudest in the world of retail. One argument is that retail (brick and mortar) stores are dead and ecommerce should be the sole focus of businesses. The response to that ‘train of thought’ simply says that retail revenue is dominated by offline sales and therefore ecommerce isn’t important.
The truth lies somewhere in between these two arguments. While brick and mortar stores still dominate global sales, the growth of ecommerce can’t be ignored. So, whether you are a retail brand focused offline or solely focused on ecommerce, here are a few ecommerce platform options which you could utilise to increase sales online. You may not have success on all of them, but testing to see which platform brings your consistent results could add a revenue channel you weren’t originally looking at. You might be surprised by a platforms ROI, so if they are there, and you have the budget, I would recommend you try. Here is just a quick understanding of some of the ecommerce platform options you can choose from and how they operate:
Amazon is now the most valuable company in the world being one of a few to be valued at over a trillion dollars at one time or another. A huge amount of companies on Amazon solely sell on the platform. This does not mean that you have to do this. You can simply test a certain product type to begin with. Knowing how you want to handle shipping is important. Amazon uses their fulfilment centres to dispatch orders or alternatively you can choose to fulfil the orders. For more information you can check out this link.
Facebook and Instagram continue to develop their ecommerce platform options to encourage sales through the platform. This, in turn, will encourage marketers or business owners to buy product-specific ads, with high conversion rates being the goal.
Instagram has added the feature of tagging products in the photos, which may be a reaction to the development of sponsorships and ‘influencers’ on the platform being considered very effective in recent years.
I will plug the fact that Facebook catalogues integrate with a variety of inventory plugins or systems such as WooCommerce. This is the system we use for our web development clients when setting up and ecommerce store.
Google Shopping is beginning to account for a huge amount of the Google Search Ad revenue in the ecommerce space in recent times. It’s considered very effective in acquiring audiences through broad search terms.
While some users may search a product type and the name of the store giving the advantage to that store. Others may keep their search query broad leaving many unheard of brands the opportunity to place their products in front of potential new customers.
“While text ads are still the most popular advertising format in many categories, retail-specific categories tell a very different story, with spend on Google Shopping ads far outstripping text ads in retail categories.” SearchEngineWatch.com
You may want to consider where you are placing some of your advertising budgets for ecommerce this year if you haven’t thought about Google Shopping Ads.
Similar to Amazon in many ways, it is a channel which you may not have considered testing in. Depending on your product offering, you may find eBay one of the more effective ecommerce platform options for sales in a specific product set and/or demographic. With 168 million active buyers you may be missing out on a very effective platform for your business.
“What eBay offers small businesses is a popular platform with great opportunities for increasing ecommerce revenue.
Everything from a $168 million yacht to William Shatner’s kidney stone has been sold on the platform. So it is fair to say you can find your niche by providing great customer service and offering your customers quality products.” (SmallBizTrends.com)
Back to the basics. Your website is where you have the most control over things. From branding to user experience to the purchasing process.
If you aren’t able to invest in ads, ensure that you take the time to create a great customer experience and service for your clients onsite. You can use cheap customer service tools such as Pubble or Intercom to provide onsite support to website users. **Don’t ever forget that customer service is another form of marketing**