Selling On Social Media Or Your own eCommerce Website: Which is betterOctober 10, 2021
Selling the products on your ecommerce website is a norm known and applicable to a major number of people and brands, respectively. But what comes as a novel concept to many people is- selling on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Until recently, social media was popular for its key attribute of allowing people to socialize with each other in the virtual world. But now, this social meeting platform has opened up doors for business too.
Although social media marketing came into existence in September 2006, via Facebook business pages, it’s recent that consumers and marketers are performing on it with full spree. Gone are the days when social media was used only for advertising and promoting the product and funneling down the leads to the website page for closing the sales.
But how far is social media successful in completing the sales process? Is website selling or ecommerce platform a better medium for sales? What are their respective pros and cons? Get answers to all such queries in this section, which unveils the two sides of the same coin, for your rational judgment.
Social media selling explained:
With social media selling, the brands make use of the selling capabilities of the social media marketplace to sell their products to the respective target audience. The final sale deal can either take place on the social marketplace itself, or the target audience gets directed to the brand’s website to complete the sales.
Whereas, when the product is to be sold on the company’s webpage or any ecommerce platform, the seller himself is responsible to build an ecommerce website, and take care of its entire design and SEO.
Pros of social media selling
- Potential for maximum reach:
Today, social media is the most widely spread medium of communication. As per reports, there are 3.78 billion social media users worldwide. This figure clearly states the potential of sale and purchase on this platform. Brands can make use of social media statistics to segregate their target audience, understand their buying behavior, analyze their taste and preferences, and curate their sales strategies accordingly. Social media is a great means to identify the target audience and also mark the brand presence throughout the clock cycle.
- Social media selling is benefited by good reviews:
You like the product or not, you will share your reviews on social media with your friends and fans. As a result, you will influence the buying decision of those who follow you on social media. Therefore, if the product of the brand is good for one, it earns a high chance of winning more positive leads for its product on this platform. There are people on social media who have the hobby of writing long testimonials about the products used by them regularly. Often, such people have many followers who value their judgment a lot. Such people can also be termed nano-influencers for any brand.
- Potential for adding a personal touch to the sales
Sales and purchases made on the website itself lack the human element. The brand can make use of free ecommerce software to come up with the best aesthetics to attract customers. But it will always lack the human touch which otherwise is flooded on social media. On social media platforms, brands can create groups and invite people to take part in group discussions to introduce the company’s culture and to strengthen the mutual bond.
- It complements other channels of selling
Apart from the above-mentioned perks of social media selling, there are few downsides too. But the perks of social selling always outshine the minor drawbacks. Therefore, to maintain a balanced and profitable approach to social selling, one needs to make use of social media platforms in combination with other means of selling. The used sales channels should complement each other. For example, the brand can make use of cross-posting effectively to target those segments of people who still rely on the traditional means of selling.
Cons of social media selling
- Risk of negative feedback
People are very clear about expressing their opinion on social media. And when their experience is not good, they are much louder in publicizing the negative feedback on the social pages of the brand with the use of hashtags. As a result, they sometimes affect the goodwill of the product in the market. Excessive negative publicity often drops the sales and revenue of the firm to a large extent.
- Need to upgrade constantly
Apart from making online social gatherings, social media is also visited by people to explore new trends. People are always in the search of innovative ways to use the same product or divulge completely innovative products. Therefore, if any brand wants to rule the social media marketplace and keep its users engaged, it needs to upgrade frequently.
- Social selling is not the best sales channel for every business type
Social selling is not the right choice for every kind of business. There are hashtags like #WeightLoss which is not permissible online. Businesses that are directly related to the list of prohibited hashtags on social media are difficult to promote on Instagram or Facebook. Also, every social media platform has its share of pros and cons. A business needs to be in sync with the pros of the social platform, to sell its product there.
- Organic social media promotion is time-consuming
Organic social media promotion consumes a lot of time before getting an initial set of hundreds or thousands of subscribers. This is because people are more inclined in subscribing to the pages which already have a well-built-up base, rather than a new one. The company might require the hiring of a social media marketing specialist to get productive returns.
Website selling or ecommerce platform selling
Selling the products on a brand’s website or the website of any ecommerce platform is mutually beneficial for the brand and for the customers who value convenience and loyalty. After all, the cost of owning or renting a physical store is much more than developing an ecommerce store and making use of free ecommerce software for sales.
Pros of selling on own website
- It is self-owned
Own website means own control. Be it product page design, SEO strategies, or the promotion template, the entire management is done by the company itself.
- The brand has a record of customers
When the company sells its products via its webpage, it has an unblemished record of the number of customers owned by it and their purchase pattern. But when the same products are sold on an ecommerce platform like Amazon or Flipkart, the company has no clue of the customers who purchased the product and also those customers fall under the customer base of the respective ecommerce platform.
- The brand has its records of data
Similar to customer data, there are several other inputs like buying patterns, payment patterns, preference of customers, etc. which come into the limelight when the products are sold on their website. This data can be properly analyzed to plan digital marketing and selling strategies. All of this results in increased revenues and sales.
Cons of selling on own website
- It requires proper website maintenance and management, which is not a straightforward task.
- The upfront cost of setting up an ecommerce website is a big-time investment.
- Your initial reach might be tiny compared to that offered by social media platforms or established ecommerce platforms.
Once we have measured all the pros and cons of selling on social media or our own ecommerce website, it’s time to learn which is best for us. To avail the perks of both the mediums of selling and to combat each other’s shortcomings, it is advisable to follow a mixed approach. Make use of social media platforms to introduce new products or to maintain a stronghold in the market. Whereas, to conclude the sale or avail discount coupons and offer to direct leads to the company’s website page. Simultaneously, for people who visit the website first, create a link to social media pages, to avail more information on the latest trends of the industry.
What’s your say? How would you like to sell your products online?