Updated: Oct 21, 2020
According to a study published by Instagram, 36% of small businesses are already selling online. This number is increasing exponentially. Online shopping is expected to hit 4 Trillion USD in 2020 and 6.5 Trillion USB by 2023. According to Statista, the countries with the the leading average e-commerce revenue per shoppers are: USA ($1,804), UK ($1,629), Sweden ($1,446), France ($1,228), Germany ($1,064), Japan ($968), Spain ($849), China ($626), Russia ($396), and Brazil ($350).
With the increase in e-commerce, comes an increase in the number of platforms dedicated to online sales.
In this post, we will provide you with some interesting background information on the different platforms we have looked into:
An E-commerce website builder is a platform that allows you to create an online store. No need for an existing website, the different options are already integrated into this platform. Names like Shopify, Big Commerce, Prestashop, and Wix allow you to do just that.
WordPress also offers a full range of E-commerce options, from one‑click payments and paid subscriptions to a fully customizable online store.
An online marketplace sometimes called an electronic marketplace, is an e-commerce site where third-party companies can sell their products or services to those visiting the site. Examples you know include Etsy and Amazon.
Social E-commerce is the process of buying or selling products via social media. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are now providing users with the option of directly purchasing via the platform. There is no more need to exit the platform to purchase, thereby reducing the length of the customer journey into 2 clicks.
What are the advantages of each of these solutions?
E-commerce website builders offer complete control.
Access is available to the user, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All modifications to your online store are immediate.
You can decide how to brand your online store so basically you stay coherent with your corporate branding and achieve better brand awareness.
Unlike online search engines like Google and social media platforms, an e-commerce website builder does not leave you vulnerable to algorithm updates and a crowded marketplace.
An additional advantage is the amount of traffic that these platforms receive. Unlike your own web site which is vulnerable to your SEO and the Google algorithm, these platforms are go-to reference spots for online shopping. Your brand can, therefore, benefit from this organic traffic.
These platforms include the option of centralizing all stock and updates on their platforms and integrating social media platforms you are also selling on as well as your personal branded website into this organization. This saves time and money and promotes timely updates and consistent communication.
An exceptional advantage that we see is the possibility to recover abandoned carts. Abandoned carts alone account for approximately 4.6 Trillion USD worth of merchandise. Can you imagine that?! Given that the the average cart abandonment rate is 67.91% and 34% of potential shoppers abandon their purchase because they don't feel ready to buy, this option will allow you to retarget that 34% of online shoppers.
According to different market studies, checkout optimization can recover $260 billion in e-commerce sales alone. Likewise, retargeting ads are 76% more likely to get clicks than regular display ads. The option of an abandoned cart allows you the inside scoop on your target market, their behavior, their preferences, and their availability.
WordPress is one of the leading online web site building platforms. This powerhouse currently supports one-third of all online stores and supports 22% of the top one million e-commerce stores worldwide. WordPress was an early mover and shaker and on the scene before e-commerce platform builders and social media commerce channels. Taking advantage of an existing strong market position, WordPress was able to create open-source software to allow creative freedom in the development of e-commerce sites. WordPress is able to provide for:
Consistent personal branding
Data and statistics linked to Google Analytics
Easy and secure payment options
However, WordPress is dependant upon algorithms as your website is yours alone to draw traffic too.
Marketplaces like Amazon are massive online shopping generators. The ease with which one can start selling on Amazon is incredibly convincing. There is a very low barrier entry and the number of potential customers online is absolutely huge.
However, in light of the low costs of setting up shop on Amazon, you do have to take into account that this is not the place for you if you crave brand awareness. Amazon will present all articles from all suppliers together according to search data entered. All storefronts are identical and because there are so many similar products, customers go to the cheapest option. On top of this, the algorithm for Amazon is constantly changing.
Etsy, on the other hand, is a smaller niche marketplace. Like Amazon, entrance barriers are little to none and this is extremely popular for vendors selling arts & crafts.
It is a wonderful place to start selling online when you do not have the time for a personal online store and/or storefront and hope to immediately engage in sales with the security of knowing that the marketplace will intercede on part of the payment. The fees to use Etsy are less cumbersome than on Amazon for example. However, branding is inexistent as well on Etsy, so if you are looking to scale up your business and brand longevity, this should be a short-term or accessory option.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have followed in suit with e-commerce. Because of their overall popularity and the trends in influencer marketing and User-Generated Content, these platforms are a logical step in the evolutionary process of reducing the customer journey.
The social media E-commerce option has several benefits:
It supports the expansion of your base and targets different groups of your customers via various Social Media channels.
Your store becomes more accessible through the use of direct messaging and communication possibilities with customers.
These channels improve SEO performance and decrease the number of abandoned carts since users come to the store and buy exactly what they wanted.
You will notice an increase in traffic and conversion rates due to much higher customer engagement via visual content, videos.
User-generated content allows your buyers to comment on and share their use and appreciation for your products with your entire community. This type of positive content allows users to better relate to your products and trust you. On top of that, social e-commerce allows your customers to share their opinions on different products, discuss them with other users, leave reviews, and recommendations.
You can also increase sales by engaging influencers' recommendations. Influencer marketing accounts for generating 8 Billion USD in 2020.
The particular advantage for Facebook, on top of all the preceding ones, is the fact that this extremely popular network of 2.5 billion global active monthly users as of April 2020, and, can be integrated into Shopify for example. More than140 million businesses use Facebook for interaction with clients on a daily basis. Facebook holds a leading position in the social e-commerce segment.
However, to be honest, Facebook does not work by just posting products and waiting for sales. This is a social media channel and to make sales you are dependent upon the algorithm and your means of engagement. There is more work to put in here. Running promos, posting twice daily are some examples of best practice. You also need to keep the customer's attention with curated content such as visuals, jokes, questions, and algorithms so this will spell out a certain budget in content marketing.
Instagram, with its 1 Billion global monthly users according to Statista in April 2020, is the quickest evolving social platform.
After almost ten years since Instagram started, this image-oriented network has turned into a serious source of profit for the numerous business owners. Just by looking at statistics:
60% of people claim that they come looking for the desired product to Instagram.
Moreover, 200+ million users visit at least one business profile daily. Consequently, 90% of all Instagram accounts follow a business on Instagram. Instagram also assists in the higher user engagement to the brands in comparison to Facebook and Twitter. There are already 25 million businesses online daily.
Instagram Shopping is one of the most salient features that were introduced for online business owners. It allows brands to sell physical products on the platform, connect business accounts to the Facebook page, etc. The "Checkout with Instagram" feature enables people who tap Instagram's product tags to search for items, add to a shopping cart, and checkout without leaving the app. Additionally, it is possible to make embedded shoppable Instagram posts with the help of third-party apps. To get additional information or buy an item, the user has just to tap on the photo tag.
One of the differences between the two platforms is that on Facebook, you start your purchase on the platform but finish it on the company's website. Instagram is 100% contained in the platform.
Both use the Facebook pay system and are connected to Facebook ads. Instagram Shopping is not available on the desktop version.
Sources: Statista, Tomson Report, Instagram for Business