Once again, Amazon Prime Day is upon us, and once again, businesses of all sizes are trying to figure out how to compete with the online juggernaut. With each passing year, Prime Day has become less about Amazon and sellers on the Amazon Marketplace itself and more about e-commerce as a whole. Big box stores like Best Buy, Walmart and Target all offer their own online discounts to compete with Amazon Prime Day, and your e-commerce startup should not be an exception. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook continue to evolve and transform into social sales platforms, making it easier for small and midsize companies to take advantage as consumers flock online in search of deals. This year especially, the e-commerce boom, thanks to COVID-19, has resulted in a race among social platforms to provide the best shopping features, creating the perfect opportunity for small businesses to expand their sales onto new platforms. This is where social commerce comes in.
Keep reading to learn what 2021 has to offer startup e-commerce businesses and how they can take advantage of social commerce to remain competitive during Amazon Prime Day and beyond:
Define your business goals
The first step in maximizing online success around Amazon Prime Day is to define your primary business goals. While the obvious goal is to increase revenue, that should not be your only focus. In addition to your quantitative sales goals, you’ll also want to set brand awareness and market outreach goals.
The benefit small e-commerce businesses have compared to the likes of Target and Best Buy in trying to detract sales from Amazon is the opportunity to not only grab the attention of a new customer base but convert them into loyal repeat customers. By applying the right approach to amplifying your digital brand awareness, your efforts around Amazon Prime Day could pay off more in long-term sales than in immediate, day-of conversions.
Focus your attention on specific products, new vertical audiences and even testing price points through presales and discounts. With increased and hungry eyes looking for deals, the opportunity to A/B test how you present products, prices and your company as a whole could provide valuable insight as you prepare for this year’s holiday season and even into 2022.
While you may not outsell Amazon, with the right strategy, you can outsell yourself from previous months and years and, ultimately, it’s that sort of growth you should be striving for as an entrepreneur.
Set up shop on social media
Social commerce allows for direct sales to be made via your social media channels, via the likes of Instagram Shopping or Facebook Shops, without having to leave the platform.
Through social commerce, you can test consumer reactions to your product offerings. Facebook is a prime example of social commerce in action. With Facebook, you can expand into new and potential vertical customer markets by running low-cost test campaigns of targeted ads.
Facebook Shops allows you to set up on-platform stores that engage with both Facebook and Instagram users and provide an end-to-end shopping experience. It creates a low friction way for customers to shop and share without the distractions and annoyances of a redirect to your e-commerce website.
By engaging in a dual strategy of advertisements and shoppable posts on these platforms, you will also get data-driven insight into your customer behavior. For example, what sort of message are they most likely to respond to? How they are reacting to various price points or promotions? What are the demographics of your most active pools of customers?
This insight will empower you to make the changes that need to be made in almost real time to ensure those ads and shoppable posts are even more targeted and effective, leading to more sales.
Bet on brand storytelling and customer experience
As an entrepreneur, another huge advantage you have over Amazon and big box stores is the ability to tell a story.
With social commerce, it is not only about what you are selling and for how much but why your customers should choose to do business with you.
Through careful cultivation of your brand story, you can create a greater market understanding of what your company stands for, the quality of your products and your commitment to customer service. By taking advantage of the targeting options of multiple social media platforms, you can change your messages to ensure they resonate deeply with each of your target audiences.
The other advantage of social commerce, particularly around major shopping events such as Amazon Prime Day, is social media is not a one-way street. You can alter your outgoing messages to target audiences, and you can be precise in who those target audiences are, but they can also reach out to you. You can develop very real relationships with your customers by inviting them to engage with you and being responsive to that engagement. You have the ability to establish a real emotional connection between your business and your customer.
Social commerce also provides the opportunity to really flex your customer support muscle. Customer support means more than simply fixing a problem after a sale. It can mean answering questions on the spot about a product, helping customers find the right product or helping to complete an order.
With this approach to social commerce, you are able to immediately address a customer’s questions, concerns or general need for assistance in real-time. This is a level of direct and immediate support that can keep a customer focused on you rather than moving on to another potential deal sprouting up on Amazon Prime Day.
Key takeaways: Leveraging social commerce around Amazon Prime Day and beyond
This year, perhaps more than ever before, small and midsize e-commerce businesses have huge opportunities not only for increased sales now using social commerce, but to lay the needed groundwork for continued success on the road to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and beyond.
Social commerce is a multifaceted approach to e-commerce that can help shape and grow your business. By taking advantage of social commerce, you become the intended destination of a loyal and dedicated customer base that not only buys from you but also sings your praises across their own social networks.