There is no doubt that the holiday shopping season will look different this year. COVID-19 has caused a major shift in how consumers purchase their everyday necessities, let alone retail items. Between safety concerns and store closures, there has been a shift to online buying. According to eMarketer, analysts predict approximately 150 million new shoppers worldwide will be buying online in 2020. What does this mean for the 2020 holiday season? How should you shift your marketing strategy to capture the increased search volume and make this your best holiday season yet? Let’s find out.
Facebook continues to attract businesses that desire a better understanding of the effectiveness and potential influence social commerce has upon their consumers. Some larger brands, like JC Penny, have tried e-commerce within Facebook and claimed to have not realized expected results from e-commerce efforts. There are new brands, like Fab.com, that adhere to a business model dependant upon the integration with social networks, and have been very successful with marketing on Facebook. So how can small and larger brands differ in their success rate? Strategies that drive F-commerce have to be different from normal e-commerce methods in order to provide a return on investment. F-commerce focuses on utilizing the data from customer’s interests, enhancing fan activity, and social sharing with friends on Facebook, in order to improve online sales.
F-Commerce Referrals. The strategy that has been effective for larger brands, uses Facebook to drive traffic to their online store. These brands have found it more successful to offer links to e-commerce sites via posts, advertising, and custom tabs because their websites are proven to be better at converting the sale.
F-Commerce Stores. The smaller businesses have seen promising results by building their store directly within Facebook. This type of store is successful in integrating the sharing aspect into all segments of a Facebook fan’s shopping experience. This strategy allows fans of the company’s Facebook Page to share items they are interested in buying with friends as well as sharing items they have purchased from the store. The social commerce is paramount in exposure of the company’s product selections and existence of the store on Facebook. This type of store can also be driving traffic to an e-commerce website to complete the sale.
F-Commerce Focus Groups. There are some companies who utilize the social aspect of the network by conducting exclusive product launches to their Facebook Page’s fans. This strategy gives fans the opportunity to request free samples of the new product, share the product announcement with friends, and participate in the campaign by uploading a photo or video using the product. The company benefits by requiring fans to first “like” the Facebook Page and submit information, like an e-mail address, before they may request a sample. This also builds up a demand for the new product pre-launch and gives the company the ability to monitor feedback about the product while supplying the consumer with links to purchase that item from an online store.
The Apps designed to help businesses market themselves are what drive this f-commerce strategy. Facebook released Timeline to business Pages along with the social graph API in order to better develop the relationship from socializing about a product to purchasing it. When companies begin to leverage their use of the “like” button, activity feed, integrated registrations, and sharing they will benefit from the success that lies in social media marketing.
I was speaking with a new client recently about the challenges they face in driving qualified visitors to their website. When we reviewed their target keywords, they didn’t have a single webpage indexed within the top 50 listings on Google or Yahoo/Bing. As with many companies in today’s economy, they were forced to make some tough decisions on where to allocate financial resources when developing their marketing plan and choosing a web developer. Eighteen months later, they still have no presence in the search engines organically and sales are not ramping up as they had hoped.
Their situation reminds me of a classic quote from the movie Armageddon, when Steve Buscemi (who plays the character Rockhound), says “You know we’re sitting on four million pounds of fuel, one nuclear weapon and a thing that has 270,000 moving parts built by the lowest bidder. Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?” While I hesitate to equate a website with a rocket ship carrying a nuclear weapon, I am sure there are business owners who feel they are managing a company with 270,000 moving parts. For e-commerce companies, where their website is the main source of revenue, cutting corners or choosing the cheaper option is a blueprint for failure. I always felt the popular clichÃ©, “you get what you pay for” should be amended to “you get what you pay for…and later you pay more to get it right”.
Putting your most important asset into the hands of the lowest bidder is not a sound strategy, and the final result rarely ends with you actually saving money. The amount of time and money needed to fix a poorly designed website can easily cost more than if you chose the highest bidder from the beginning. I’m not advocating choosing the most expensive option as a way to guarantee results. In addition, I understand all companies have to make sound financial decisions in order to run their business. Proper due diligence is the best course of action before choosing to partner with any company regardless of the service or product they offer. However, remember the 270,000 “moving parts” of your business and the importance of your website’s success before blindly choosing a cheap alternative for the sake of saving a few dollars.