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Expert Advice
For Success in e-Commerce
Our team of e-Commerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
The figures speak for themselves and today 74% of online shoppers use social media to form an opinion on a product before adding it to their shopping cart. As Christmas approaches, no less than 65% of online shoppers use social networks to find gift ideas…which means that social networks are (or should be) part of any effective e-Commerce strategy!

Our e-Commerce solution experts’ goal is to give you the keys to increasing your performance and we’ve dedicated this expert advice to the world of social media.

How do you create a buzz? Which strategies are effective? Which social networks should you use? We’ll answer these questions and more in this Oxatis expert advice and use experience gained from Oxatis clients to outline how to improve your site’s performance considerably.
1. Social networks are first and foremost a communication channel.
2. Use them to spread your message and increase your virality.
3. The best social media strategies are based on a community of loyal followers.
4. Strengthen this community: offer your customers special deals and contests.
5. Facebook is a very important social network for e-tailers as it’s possible to sell your products on this platform with Oxatis' My Social Store feature.
6. A presence on social networks generates traffic and builds loyalty.
7. Transparency and humility are key words when it comes to handling bad buzz.

Buzz & Social Networks: 3 tips to maximise your sales

01 Understanding buzz
You’re thinking of launching a social media strategy and you’re probably expecting to create a buzz. This is usually the first thing we think of when we think of social networks! However, often people misunderstand this notion. Here are a few hints to help you better communicate using these channels.

What does buzz mean?
Positive buzz is great news for e-tailers: more visits, more blog posts, sometimes more press coverage, more word of mouth…the only problem is that you can’t create buzz on your own, it’s internet users that do it, and only if they want to! Before creating a buzz you’ll need to set up your social media presence and prepare the groundwork.

Virality: the goal of e-tailers today
Unlike buzz, you have more control over virality. It’s not a question of hitting big once but rather progressively diffusing content where it’ll be most likely to be seen. Virality is more qualified exposure than buzz. Little by little you build a community of people interested in sharing your message, products and offers through their profiles. This marketing technique has the advantage of lasting longer and limiting the risks associated with bad buzz. Social networks and working on your virality are an excellent opportunity for your online shop!
What should you expect for your e-Commerce website?
Social networks won’t just help your website’s virality! Consumers use these channels to comment and look for opinions: 90% of internet users trust online recommendations of products. Sometimes they start discussions directly with your business, give positive or negative feedback on your products or ask questions.

There are many reasons a presence on social media presence is important:

> Know if they’re talking about you
No matter what, they’ll talk about you! Whether you have an account on social networks or not, internet users will express their opinions. In order to control your brand’s image, first listen to their comments then intervene to calm down your unsatisfied customers and thank the satisfied ones.

> Improve your traffic
Social networks means connecting several million individuals in the same space. With the networking effect, for each person you convince of the quality of your brand, you will potentially have an impact on several dozen people. It’s a questions of maths: with social networks you have the opportunity to impact millions of people!

> Give your satisfied customers a chance to say they’re happy
Sometimes satisfied customers will share their contentment with you product or service on their profile. This is an excellent opportunity to communicate this message to your community and create a relationship with your consumers. Of course, this is only possible if you’ve created a profile for your website.

> Provide customer service
When you’ve drawn a large community to your social network profiles you’ll benefit from free traffic. A certain percentage of this community will be redirected to your site when you post a message on one of your social network profiles.
> Capitalise on a free audience
When you’ve drawn a large community to your social network profiles you’ll benefit from free traffic. A certain percentage of this community will be redirected to your site when you post a message on one of your social network profiles.

> Improve SEO
Social network sharing is a factor taken into account by Google’s algorithm. The more your pages are shared, the more relevant they’ll be considered and the better they’ll be ranked by the search engine.

Popular social networks
Today we’re talking about several different social networks, but that doesn’t mean you necessary have to be present on all of them. When you’re starting out try to build a strong presence on a few of them rather than a weak or medium presence on all of them.
> The safe bet

... Facebook
The most well-known social network, Facebook also has the most users: 1.3 billion worldwide. 24 million Britons daily log in to Facebook while 33 million unique individuals log in every month (Facebook). This is Facebook’s main argument. It’s also the network internet users use to connect with their family and friends rather than people they don’t know. 30% of internet users are more likely to respond to an offer if it’s been posted by a friend. This information is essential for e-tailers, especially as Facebook is the only social network that currently can be integrated to see you products. There’s even a term for sales on Facebook: F-commerce. With Oxatis' My Social Store features,offering your products on Facebook is simplified and user-friendly. With this feature our client Ballkit increased their traffic by 30% in just a year!

... Twitter
Twitter is an open social network. What’s shared is public, and as such is an excellent way to advertise and work on your image. The 140 character limit forces you to get straight to the point. This is a great social network for building a community around your brand.

... Pinterest
Pinterest is a social network of images. It’s particularly effective for food and fashion. It’s main advantage is that in general, images are prone to virality. For an e-Commerce website having attractive photos of your products and sharing them on Pinterest is a very good idea. Take note that 75% of Pinterest users are women between 25 and 34. If your target market is young women then it’s a strategic move to have a Pinterest account!

... Instagram
Instagram is also a social network based around images. Thanks to the filters you can apply to photos, this ap will help highlight your products.

... YouTube
YouTube is THE social network of virality. A large percentage of content that goes viral are videos. Two types are strategic choices for e-tailers. One is the “classic” buzz video that uses a humorous tone so as to increase your videos number of viewers. Another is a tutorial video that explains how one of your products works or how to use it. This allows you to attract lasting, long-term traffic.
Unboxing videos also create buzz! These videos are usually customers who film the opening of the package and the product they received. These videos show the product as it is, no muss no fuss, which is why they are so successful.
> New networks you should keep an eye on

... Vine
Vine is an app that allows you to create very short videos: 6 seconds max! They work well with a Twitter account. The ideal format for unboxing videos.

... Snapchat
With Snapchat you can send short-lived videos to your followers. This is a good format to surprise your community and keep them informed in an original way. The social network has gained popularity recently with a younger audience, especially teenagers: 71% of Snapchat users are under 25.

Different strategies that work
Here are a few rules to follow to start off right on social networks:

> Take the right tone:This is your brand’s personality and image and will help you build a strong community around your website.
> Set up regular posts: For your social media strategy to work, you’ll need to give your community regular updates and posts.
> Surprise: Don’t get stuck in a rut! Sometimes you need to surprise your audience by creating one-off deals like contests.
> Be yourself: Social networks are channels for dialogue and spontaneity.
02 Develop your social media strategy
Are you convinced that social media will help your e-Commerce website? There’s another step: define your strategy and goals related to this presence.

Make sure you have a strong presence on different networks
In order to be visible and progressively build your brand image and community of loyal customers, make sure you in the effort with you social network accounts: profile and cover photo, colours and general look, consistency between different networks (brand name, colours etc.). Little by little you’ll grow your community, like Commencal who now has over 65,000 followers on Facebook.

Display your social networks on your website and play with this presence
The famous “call to action” button is a key ingredient in the success of any e-Commerce business, and social networks are no exception. Use CTAs to promote your social network accounts on your website or to share content from your website on social networks. Put buttons in strategic places to promote the virality of product pages for example and grow your brand community. A visitor who doesn’t buy anything but “Likes” your Facebook page is more likely to make a purchase at a later date.

Integrate social media into your email marketing strategy
If you want to be even more efficient, combine an email marketing strategy with your social network presence. Here are a few ideas for this kind of strategy:

> Create call to action buttons: Don’t forget to integrate buttons to share the email on social networks or follow your account(s) in your email campaigns.

> Summarise your actions on social networks: highlight your strong social media moments in your emails. Show your customers and prospects that they’re lively and fun and make them want to participate.

> Promote your newsletter or email campaigns on social networks : this will help you collect more addresses.

Make special offers on social networks and animate your profiles for these communities regularly
Creating a community of loyal customers who will promote your e-Commerce website and help you improve your services won’t happen overnight. Here are a few tips for success:

> Have an editorial schedule: this will help you stay on track and think ahead. No risk of writer’s block, you’ll have a backup stock of ideas.

> Give them special offers: 50% of people sign-up for e-Commerce websites and social networks for special offers and samples.

> Know who you’re talking to: learn your prospects expectations and create adapted content and offers.
03 Pro tips to buzz online
You’ve created social network accounts. Now, optimise them to guarantee maximum results.

Accelerate your virality: buy visibility on social networks
To boost your visits and quickly improve your visibility of social networks, consider paid advertising. There are two form: buying followers and promoting posts. The first involves paying a website or another Facebook page to encourage its fans to “Like” your page during a special action. With the second you pay the network to promote your content in their algorithm. Your fans have more chances to see your message and it can even be seen by people who have not “Liked” your page. These two advertising options are currently only available on Facebook and Twitter.

Grow your community with contests
Contests are a classic way to animate your social network presence and attract attention to recruit new followers. There are several advantages:

> Make them want it: internet users who participate in the contest already imagine themselves owning the product in question. It’s an excellent way to get them thinking about owning your products.

> Promote a product: with contests you can attract followers’ attention to your new products or the launch of a new offer.

> Create a buzz:contests allow you to distract and animate your community by creating maximum buzz and virality. During contests your community is more involved than usual with comments, retweets, answers, shares, Likes, etc.

> Acquire followers: attract new followers with the possibility of winning a gift.
Keep up with what’s being said
It’s important to be active on social networks, but also to listen to your customers.

> You’ll better understand your customers’ expectations, better satisfy them and improve your brand image.
> You’ll notice new trends in your industry and won’t get caught off guard by your competition.
> Keeping an eye on what’s going on is the best way to follow the trends in your industry. Internet users recognised as experts in their field are very good at predicting what will sell.
> You will discover an unexpected source of consumers who will increase your sales.

Learn to speak to bloggers
Many bloggers are specialised in the type of products you sell, which is a resource and an opportunity for your e-Commerce business. If a blogger mentions one of your products, you’ll gain a backlink leading to your site which will help your SEO and increase your traffic. If a blogger is influential and has a good following then your conversion rate will also increase!

Bloggers can be a goldmine for your business but you need to know how to speak to them. Here are a few tips:
> Don’t send them a press release. If you want to attract their attention send them an email with your goals and mutual benefits that could be gained: exclusive information, product samples etc.
> Analyse the blog’s editorial style. If the blogger talks about a certain field but never promotes products opt for a different approach, for example a tutorial video.
> Build a personal relationship. Continue to send them information regularly about your new items after they’ve written a piece on your site to maintain a connection.
Know how to react to bad buzz
Sometimes not everything goes as planned. You should be prepared for bad buzz and negative comments even if they’re rare.

It’s important not to feed negative comments (or trolls). Sometimes they are not objective or justified and the best response is a laid back, humoristic one without making a big deal out of it. Other times comments are justified. Here you should be clear and humble: admit your mistake and attempt to compensate customers.

Use the right tools and perform even better
There are a number of tools available to help you be as productive as possible on social networks. These will save you a lot of time, the goal being to automate as many tasks as possible and save time to interact with internet users and your brand community. For keeping watch on what followers are saying you can use Mention software: enter the name of your company (or competitors) and they’ll keep you informed of what’s being said on social networks. Buffer allows you to automatically programme the messages you want to send.

Now it’s your turn to go viral!

Looking for an e-Commerce job? Learn more about Oxatis or meet our e-Commerce expert team!