Are You Ready to Tackle Social Shopping? See 3 Key Tips from a Fellow Retailer

Livestream shopping has been a popular social sales method for many independent retailers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have you ever seen a product on TikTok and clicked through to buy it? If so, you are not alone. The so-called social commerce industry is expected to grow three times faster than traditional e-commerce in the coming years. This means that more and more consumers will be seeing a product, deciding to buy it, and checking out without leaving a social media platform. Younger shoppers, including Gen Z and Millennials, are the largest market for this type of transaction.

What does this mean for independent retailers? The key lesson is that you need to get your products seen on whatever platform your customers are using – whether it be TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. You may not be able to sell directly through those sites, especially if you are operating bricks and mortars. But good news – according to one study, 44 percent of those who don’t make a purchase on social media say they do preferred to deal directly with a retailer.

Our store has dabbled in social commerce by creating Facebook “carousel” ads that showcase a category of our merchandise, for example bakeware or gifts for pet lovers. Each photo is linked to our website, which worked well during the pandemic when we were selling online for curbside pickup. This year we hope that customers will click through to browse our site and then come in to shop.

For bricks and clicks stores selling online, social media is a great way to reach a broad market. Insider Intelligence claims that more than half the adults in the US are expected to make a purchase on social media this year. One of the biggest factors preventing customers from making a social commerce purchase is not trusting the vendor to be legitimate, or the shopping cart secure. Linking to your store’s website will provide reassurance that you are an established business, and a safe place to order from online.

Whether a consumer is shopping from you through social media or seeing the products online and coming into your store, remember that the key to success is creating and maintaining an excellent user experience with great customer service.

See more from Carol Schroeder, author of Specialty Shop Retailing and co-owner of Orange Tree Importsin the Savvy Store Solutions tab.

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