A little over a year ago, I covered Facebook shops in my blog/newsletter and told you why I believed that it wasn’t going to be the next big thing or a game changer for your business… yet. Late last month, Facebook made several announcements about eCommerce tools across its platforms, so I’d like to revisit the topic with you.
Out of all the updates Facebook announced, I’d like to hone in on the fact that it’s now rolling out its Shops feature on WhatsApp. This is significant for two reasons. 1) This will be a good chance to test mass consumer readiness for conversion (making a purchase, donating, etc.) via text. 2) This takes Shops one step closer to gaining more prominence.
WhatsApp has between 2-2.5 billion users (depending on which stats you look at), making it the largest messaging platform in the world. Traditionally, research has shown that consumers don’t like to mix commerce and messaging platforms (text messages, DMs on social media, etc.) because it was viewed as highly personal space. However, in 2020, several new studies seemed to show consumers warming to SMS marketing, as long as they opted in to receive the texts. This could be part of the reason Facebook made the move toward in app Shops on WhatsApp. The other part has to do with holding a competitive advantage in light of Apple’s iOS changes but that’s a post for another day!
Now let’s look further than SMS marketing and toward a type of marketing that we already know works incredibly well: Email marketing. Email marketing giants Constant Contact and MailChimp are both rolling out inline online shopping (meaning that customers do not have to click away from an email to make a purchase). In the marketing universe, we know that just one click on a customer journey risks customer attrition up to 20% of the time. Solving that problem means a big lift for companies.
So—what does all of this eCommerce texting and inline shopping mean for you? It’s time to get prepared for click-ready online shopping (meaning you do not have to go from your texts or email to the company’s native website) to go mainstream. Whenever I see evidence of a new trend emerging, the question I tell my clients to ask themselves is, “What’s the first thing I need to do to be ready for this?”
The simple answer for most of my clients (in this case) is twofold: logistics and packaging. If you have brick and mortar products, you’ll need a reliable payment, shipping and inventory system (logistics) for goods sold online. If you’re a service-based business, you’ll need to package your services in a way that customers can click to buy. This might mean that instead of monthly invoices, you have a service package that includes several tasks for a certain rate, renewable each month (for example).
After you handle these logistics and packaging issues, then look into the technology. Take a look at the inline shopping feature in your email marketing program if it has one, and start researching SMS marketing apps like EZ Texting or Textedly.
…and because I always practice what I preach, text “Marketing” to 8336051862 if you’d like to be notified every time I sent out new tips and strategies. Go ahead… try it!