That you should be taking advantage of social networks and mobile selling is plain to see. But is there any value in selling your items exclusively through mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and social networks like Twitter and Facebook? Let’s take a look.
Advantages of social selling
- You can capitalize on the work you’ve already done to build up your networks. Have you already been successful at building up your social presence? The ability to sell products directly on your social media page is a great way to capitalize on a high follower or fan count. If your website only gets a dozen or so hits a day but your Facebook page is getting thousands of likes a minute, clearly that is where your customers are. Authors and artists particularly may have built up a large community of fans in their networks and adding e-commerce to your page or profile is one of the easiest ways to capitalize on it.
- You’ll get extra promotional tools. Every network also has their own marketing features that can help you get your items in front of new customers. Hashtags, tags, chats, shares, repins, retweets, and reblogs are all free ways you and your customers can spread the word about your items. Promoted posts, Facebook ads, sponsored tweets and other paid marketing tools can be pricey but can get your brand and items in front of new customers you’d never be able to reach without the tools of the network you’re on.
- It’s where people are! Even the least tech savvy internet users are on Facebook these days while every niche has their preferred social hangout. If you already know where your best potential customers are, why go anywhere else?
Disadvantages to selling exclusively on mobile and social networks
- Not everyone has a smartphone or social network account. Go mobile only and you’ll be missing out on the 40% of the population without a smartphone as well as traditional web traffic making marketing that much more difficult. While billions of people use social media, there are billions more who don’t participate in any social networking or do so only on one network and you’ll be deliberately excluding a chunk of your potential customers. While future tech developments may make me eat my words, I can’t currently see any reason to limit your sales when there are so many options that let you cross list your items on mobile, social and traditional web at the same time. As long as whatever selling option you finally decide on provides a mobile version of your items and you utilize social tools, you’ll have the best of both worlds.
- You’ll be at the mercy of the social network itself. If your only retail channel is your Facebook page, what do you do if the site goes down or the terms of the site change in a way that effects your items? How would a Twitter Fail Whale effect your big sale? Do you really want to invest all the time and energy of promoting your items only to drive traffic to a site you don’t own and can’t control?
- Getting traffic to your page on any social network site isn’t much easier than getting it to any other website. Tags, hashtags and promoted posts can all help to help buyers find you but you could also just use those tools to bring them to your existing external site. If you’re going to go through all the work and expensive of bringing in buyers, shouldn’t it be to your own space, not someone else’s?