A GUIDE FOR RETAILERS TO IMPLEMENT SOCIAL MEDIA E-COMMERCE DURING THE PANDEMIC.
This global pandemic will shape businesses for decades to come. The world is already seeing the evidence, and the next wave of innovation is starting to swell before our very eyes. Your business can be part of fueling the rise of transformation and stark modernization to stay afloat during these economically crippling times.
Don’t panic. COVID-19 isn’t the first pandemic that has hit the nation and world. We’ve survived worse and we will get through this. America has defeated economic recessions before. Heck, we made it through The Great Depression stronger than ever!
First, you’ll want to start by asking yourself, as a business owner, the following questions:
• Will your current business model be able to survive the changes that will come with this pandemic?
• How do you expect your customers to behave moving forward?
• How can you accommodate your customers in such a way that motivates them to keep patronizing your store?
• Can you digitize any of your products or services and offer them online?
COVID-19 has instantly dictated a sudden shift in how consumers shop and how businesses behave. Remote working has become the norm overnight. Retail stores have shifted as much of their customer service operations as possible to abide by “social distancing” ordinances, the result of which has included delivery and curbside pickup options to reduce in-store shopping. Not all, but some of these radical shifts will continue, creating a long-term disruption that will shape the way we do business for decades to come.
Adapting to the current economic climate requires an operational switch to a digital platform. Businesses that have been staying afloat are those that have implemented technology that is easy and convenient for their customers to use. Transfer as much selling and marketing strategies as you can to social media sites that have e-commerce integration, namely Facebook and Instagram.
This article will provide you with the exact steps to do just that regardless of the industry your company falls within. If you would like specific marketing tips and digital campaign strategies that will help you navigate through your particular industry, then we invite you to explore the appropriate articles by clicking one of the following: Restaurants, Pet Retailers, Houses of Worship, and Convenience Stores.
Setting up selling options on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram will empower you to:
• Sell products directly from the site’s e-commerce shop.
• Promote discounts, deals, and opportunities via live-stream stories, chats, and video posts.
• Hold classes online, stream your video content, keep your services going virtually.
• Keep your customers engaged by broadening your retail store’s digital reach.
Implementing Business Pages on these social media sites—and utilizing the technology and marketing strategies that come with them—can help keep your retail store in revenue-generating mode despite having shifted operations online. Right now, consumers are shopping online as often as possible, and they are also buying in bulk, which should be good news for your business, especially if you sell toilet paper!
HOW TO SET UP A SHOP SECTION ON YOUR STORE’S FACEBOOK PAGE
- First, find out if you have access to the Shop Section feature on your Facebook Page by visiting your page and looking for the “Add Shop Section” link below your Facebook Page cover photo.
- If you cannot find “Add Shop Section”, go back into your Facebook Page account and open the Industry. If you’re not set up as a “retailer”, make that selection now. This will enable Facebook to recognize that you will need an e-commerce option.
- Return to your Facebook Page and click the “Add Shop Section” link below your Facebook Page cover photo.
- Agree to the Merchant Terms and Policies. These are non-negotiable, but it’s still a good idea to read them so that you understand how Facebook will handle common problems such as returns and refunds.
- Next, add your business and payment processing details. All payment processing goes through Stripe, so if you already have a Stripe account, you’ll be prompted with the option to log-in through it, and your screen will auto-fill for you. If you do not have a Stripe account, you’ll be prompted to set one up, so go ahead and do that.
- Once you’ve completed this, the Call To Action button on your Facebook Page will automatically change to “Shop Now”, which will take your page visitors to your Shop Section.
- Describe what your store sells in 200 characters of fewer in the box.
- Add products to your shop by clicking the Add Products button. It will probably take you some time to enter in all of the products you plan to sell. Be sure to use the skews that you’ve already set up in your retail store. This will help you maintain tracking over your inventory.
- Configure all details for each product you plan to sell by filling in the Advanced Options tab after you’ll filled in the Add Product tab information.
- Be sure to have image ready to upload into Facebook for each product.
HOW TO SET UP INSTAGRAM SHOPPING
First, you’re going to need to set up your Instagram account as a “business account” if it isn’t already. You can convert your Instagram into a business account under “Settings”
Next, you’ll need to make sure that your business account is connected to your Facebook Page, as follows:
- Go to your Instagram profile
- Select “Edit Profile”
- Under Public Business Information, Select “Page”
- Choose a Page from your Pages that you’d like to connect to or select “Create a New Facebook Page”
Create and connect your catalog by synching the products you’ve set up in Facebook to your Instagram business account, but bear in mind that it will take a few days to process the synching that will link Facebook’s Catalog Manager to Instagram Shopping.
Go into your Facebook Page, then go into Catalog Manager and choose the “E-Commerce Catalog” option.
Once your products in Facebook are cataloged, go into your Instagram business account and Sign Up for Instagram Shopping
- Profile > Settings > Business > Shopping
- Submit your business account for Review for Shopping, it may take a few days to get approved, but Instagram will notify you when that happens
Tag Your Products with every post, you can tag up to five products per image or video, and up to 20 products on a carousel
Tag Your Products in Stories, you can only tag one product per story
Organic posting is great free advertisement if you’re growing your followers every day, tagging your products, and engaging with customers in the comments, but if you have additional funds for an advertising budget, a little money can go a long way of Instagram. Paid promotion is a great way to expand your reach and setting up ads in Instagram is as easy as creating a post.
With your social media pages set up and e-commerce shops in place, you can now take orders, deliver or ship goods, sell directly, and manage inventory efficiently, all while posting photos and videos daily and interacting with your customers.
If you would like help with taking your digital marketing strategies to the next level, FasTrax is your one-stop solution. Our fully-customizable digital platform includes:
• POS integration with a digital app that is free for customers to download.
• Social media integration for seamless checkout experience that connect with your POS.
• Loyalty Rewards Program that will organize your promotions and incentivize your customers to act fast on great deals.
Remember, necessity is the mother of invention and this could be a great time to reinvent your entire business model. We would like to help your company to not only survive, but thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will all get through this together! Our digital marketing strategist, who are all working from home to slow the spread of the virus, are available to take you call and help you make the transition to digital marketing and sales every step of the way!
This article was written by FasTrax Solutions, a software solutions provider specializing in Retail POS, Warehouse Management Systems, Digital Marketing Solutions, and Customer Loyalty and Reward Solutions.