With the implementation of buy now buttons, social media will turn into a virtual shopping mall, where users can casually browse products from the brands theyre following.
While it can be tempting to integrate buy now buttons into a businesss social media campaign, its not quite as simple as just signing up. There are a lot of logistical challenges that businesses must overcome beforetheyre able to successfully sell merchandise via social media platforms.
Some of the most common challenges that businesses may face include:
Inventory. For businesses that dont have much experience selling merchandise outside of their own storefronts (physical and online), integrating inventory on social media can pose quite a challenge. Businesses must sync their inventory systems with the social platform in real-time to ensure theyre not selling products that are already sold out.
Order and Payment Processing. Businesses will also want to be sure to integrate their order management and payment processing systems with the social media platform to facilitate a smooth and timely ordering and processing experience.
Profits. E-commerce businesses already know that when taking shipping costs into consideration, less expensive products have lower profit margins. Businesses will want to keep this in mind when choosing which products to promote on social media.
Customer Service. When any business expands outside of their own storefront, they run the risk of losing control over the customer experience, since the interaction is often pushed to the warehouse and shipping partners.
There is a major market developing. About 60% of online retail browsing occurs on tablets and smartphones, yet only 15% percent of purchases are made on these devices. These numbers indicate that there is a disconnect within the mobile shopping experience. The goal of buy now buttons is to make it quicker and easier for consumers to purchase items on mobile and drive that purchase rate up.
Unlike an e-commerce store, which often features a single businesss products, social media will have it all. Major social media platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter have all talked about releasing buy now buttons, and now those plans are becoming a reality.
Before we know it, consumers will have the ability to purchase products directly from social media posts, images, and advertisements with the simple click of a button. In fact, Pinterests buy it button is already available on mobile Apple devicesand we can expect to see more and more of these buy now buttons pop up across the web as this hot new technology moves out of the testing phase.
So, what businesses should use buttons? Not all businesses are suitable for buy now buttons, but many are. Here are some qualities that make a business a good candidate for using social media buy now buttons.
It's already equipped with e-commerce capabilities. Its not required that a business have an online storefront to use social media buy now buttons, but it will make the process a lot smoother if it already has the structure in place.
The business offers products and services that are relevant to a the average social media platform user. While many will argue that all businesses, whether theyre B2C or B2B, should be on social media, that doesnt mean that they should be selling on social media. Businesses should keep their target audience in mind when choosing which platforms, if any, they should be using buy now buttons on.
It has a well-established social media presence with an engaged following. Not only do customers have to trust the security of the social media platforms payment processing system, but they also have to trust the brand. Without a strong social media presence, it may be difficult for businesses to gain enough customer trust to be successful selling on social media.
A high follower count is good, but its even better if theyre highly engaged with the brand. The more that people chatter about a companys products on social media, the more visible theyll be, which means more clicks on the buy now buttons!
As more opportunities arise to sell on social media, its important for merchants to proceed with caution. Before jumping on board, businesses must make sure that they have the proper inventory and payment systems in place to support selling on social media. At the end of the day, its always a good idea for business owners to have an expert merchant services provider (MSP) in their back pocket to help guide them through the process and ensure that their accounts are set up properly.
Tami Cohorst is vice president of Abtek.