What’s the biggest challenge of running an eCommerce business? First and foremost you must curate an impressive collection of products. You also need to set up your online presence and optimize it using the right keywords to maximize visibility in search engines and via social media marketing.
However, attracting and retaining customers is the most crucial part of building a successful eCommerce business. That’s where your merchandising strategy comes into play. It encompasses everything you do to display, promote, and sell your products to target consumers.
Building a Merchandising Strategy in 2021
eCommerce merchandising isn’t just about developing eye-catching product catalogs and running a few promotions. It requires a deep understanding of your target audience. Additionally, you need to find the best channels to connect with potential and current customers at the right time.
This communication with your target audience is what makes social media platforms an indispensable part of your marketing and merchandising strategy in 2021. Whether you’re selling kids apparel or spare parts for all-terrain vehicles, you must integrate social media into your strategy to promote growth.
The focus on social platforms is crucial because there are more than 3.6 billion social media users across the world. Also, consumers are 71% more likely to buy a product if they learn about it through social media referrals.
Here’s how new-age consumers use social media to interact with online brands:
Establish Your Digital Presence with Social Media Marketing
The first step is to create an active digital presence on social media. From regular updates on new products and promotions to interacting with your followers–there are various ways to create a strong social media presence. Let your creative juices flow and find unique methods of boosting engagement.
For instance, if you’re hosting a product launch, consider live streaming the event on Facebook and Instagram. You could even start a countdown on Instagram stories to amplify the hype. Likewise, you could tweet regular updates about the event to engage your audience.
It’s also essential to choose the right social media platforms for your merchandising strategy. Consider the tastes and preferences of your target consumers to identify the social media platforms they use. As a ground rule, you should focus on the following platforms:
With more than 2.85 billion monthly active users, Facebook should be on the radar of every online business owner. Apart from creating a Facebook business page, you should also start a Facebook group to build a community of patrons and brand advocates. It’s a smart way to encourage engagement and loyalty.
Additionally, you should leverage Facebook advertising to promote new products, offers, and events. Use the platform’s razor-sharp targeting features to ensure that your ads reach the right consumers at the right time.
For Instagram, focus on curating an aesthetic and harmonious feed that reinforces your brand identity. From the color scheme and typography to the styling of product photos/videos, make sure your feed highlights your brand’s unique traits.
You can also utilize other content formats, such as Reels, Stories, and IGTV to engage your potential customers. For instance, you could showcase new products and packaging by creating an unboxing Reel. You can also upload Stories revealing a behind-the-scenes look at your workplace. Group related Stories under Highlights to showcase different product collections.
It’s a good idea to host product giveaways and contests on Instagram as well. It’ll create buzz about your products and even generate qualified leads. Take things up a notch by collaborating with a relevant influencer to promote the giveaway.
As with Instagram, it’s essential to curate eye-catching boards that echo your brand image. Instead of explicitly promoting your products, focus on educating, inspiring, and entertaining your followers. Also, share boards by other creators who are relevant to your brand.
Adopt an Omnichannel Approach
In today’s hyper-connected world, your target consumers are interacting with a variety of communication and social media channels. Make sure your merchandising strategy focuses on an omnichannel approach to building awareness and engagement across all these channels.
To start, use a combination of different social media platforms to showcase your products and brand. For instance, you can use Facebook ads alongside organic Instagram posts to create interest in new products. Additionally, you can use Twitter to post updates about discounts and giveaways related to the product.
Likewise, if you’re running any promotional offers on your website, don’t forget to share updates on your social media profiles. Use a combination of polls, timers, quizzes, and countdowns to create buzz about new promotions and discounts. You could even consider integrating Instagram posts into your newsletters.
Collect Social Media Data and Insights Using Smart Merchandiser
Social media marketing isn’t just meant for promoting your online store and products. They’re also effective tools for informing your merchandising strategy using concrete data on audience behavior. All you have to do is find the right tool to monitor audience engagement and interactions on social media.
For example, Smart Merchandiser–visual merchandising tool–automatically overlays various engagement parameters on every product. You can easily view the number of Facebook likes, Twitter mentions, and other social media interactions for each product. This, in turn, helps you optimize your merchandising strategy and choose the right placement of products on your website.
Judicious use of Smart Merchandiser to gather social media analytics even helps you design product catalogs. In addition to highlighting the top-performing products, you can understand why certain products are underperforming. Tweak your merchandising strategy and check whether it helps improve traction for less popular products.
Where and How to Use Social Share Buttons on Your eCommerce Site
The purpose of adding social share buttons is to encourage consumers to refer to your products in their networks. Many established eCommerce sites, including Amazon, use these buttons to maximize conversions.
However, you must ensure that the presence of a social sharing widget on product pages doesn’t interfere with conversions. Carefully assess your products to understand if your website visitors would be likely to share information about them.
Use A/B testing to identify the right placement, color, size, etc. of social sharing buttons. Alternatively, you could place the buttons on the “thank you” or order completion page that is displayed after a customer makes a purchase. It willensure that these buttons don’t distract them from taking the desired action when shopping your online store.
Integrating Social Media Into eCommerce Merchandising
A social media-oriented merchandising strategy is essential for every modern eCommerce business. The key is to build an omnichannel strategy that establishes your presence on leading platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Use a combination of videos, images, Reels, Stories, and other content formats to attract and engage your audience. Leverage a sophisticated merchandising tool–such as Smart Merchandiser–to view and analyze audience engagement. Finally, be cautious about adding social sharing buttons to your website, carefully testing which placement works best.
Ready to harness the benefits of social media on eCommerce merchandising? Schedule a demo of Smart Merchandiser today!