If you are an e-commerce business, or any kind of business that sells retail online through your website, there are tools that you can use to create a better shopping experience for your potential audience. Below we’ll show you some of our favorites! Hopefully, you’ve got a great site set up, and we’ll talk about some of the different resources for that especially if you’re newer to the game or you’re thinking about changing over your website, and where all of your products are hosted. Let’s go!
1. Shopify (1:02)
Obviously, if you’re running a large business and you have the budget for it, a custom site can often be the way to go. If you are a smaller business or even a solopreneur with a manageable number of products and services that you can sell, you can use Shopify. It’s one of our favorite and best places to sell your products.
Starting a website on Shopify is super user-friendly. The great thing about it is it’s a great place to manage all of your inventory. Whether you’re a company with inventory as small as maybe 5 to 10 items for sale, or a business with hundreds, it works easily for everyone. It’s also easy to track your sales, which definitely makes it a go-to.
2. Magento (2:17)
Magento is like the WordPress of e-commerce sites. The advantage to Magento is that it can integrate with lots of plugins and such. The disadvantage, however, is that isn’t not as user-friendly as plug-and-play Shopify. It’s a good tool, you just might need to have a developer working alongside you to keep the site managed.
3. BigCommerce.com (2:50)
This one’s also really popular, and another great tool for managing your inventory and your products. A little bit more of the plug-and-play. We’ve had many clients who love it.
4. Facebook Shops (3:21)
Once you’ve got the site where your inventory lives in place, then you need to start thinking about ways to boost your sales besides just driving traffic to your website. One of the newest features that Facebook has rolled out on both Facebook and Instagram is Facebook Shops.
Facebook Shops is super cool because it’s actually an alternative to even having a website. You can sync your inventory right in it, for on both Facebook and Instagram. It will then become searchable so that people can find your products and shop it. It’s like having a storefront directly on Facebook or Instagram!
When we think about brands that people follow on Instagram, and people using Instagram from a business standpoint, one of the huge reasons why people go on Instagram is to look for products or to find recommendations for products. So, if you are an e-commerce store owner or retailer, this is a huge opportunity for you.
After you set up your Facebook Shops, we would also encourage you to go ahead and set up your Instagram Shop as well.
5. Facebook Business (6:18)
If you don’t want to go the route of creating the entire shopping experience directly through Facebook or Instagram, you can still tag your products. Go to the backend of your business manager account. When you’re logged into business manager, there is an option there down at Data Sources that says Catalogs. Catalogs is where you upload your inventory or sync it with Facebook. This is different from Facebook Shops. Facebook Shops is making an entire shop searchable on Facebook or Instagram.
When you add your catalog to Facebook or Instagram, that’s simply tagging your product and making it shoppable. For example, take Tory Burch on Instagram. Looking at some of the pictures she’s posted, if there is a product featured in a picture, a lot of times there’s a little shopping bag icon in the bottom left corner. If you click that, it’ll show you what products are for sale in the picture, and how much they cost. You can then click on the product and actually purchase it from right there in Instagram.
After you connect your Catalog, make sure to connect your Facebook Pixel too, because that’ll help track the sales and let you know if you’re getting sales off of these products.
This process puts you in a really good position as a store owner to get more sales, especially organically. You can also boost your opportunity for sales by running ads and connecting them to your Catalog to show your products to more people!
6. Later.com (8:23)
Later is a really great resource that you can also use to tag your products. If you didn’t want to do it through Facebook, you can have a shoppable feed and set it up through Later. We would highly encourage you to consider taking advantage of the opportunity to have that set up!
7. Google Merchant Center (9:03)
Google Merchant Center is linked to your opportunity to run Google ads. If you’ve ever gone to Google as a consumer and search for a certain product, let’s say “women’s dress shoes” for example, you’ll notice that over to the right of the screen are actual shoes. These are shoppable! These are sponsored by companies who have linked their product inventory to Google Merchant Center.
Google Merchant Center is totally free to set up. What you would need to do, quite similar to Facebook or Instagram, is basically upload your catalog to Google Merchant Center. When you upload that product catalog to Google Merchant Center, you’re linking your products and your inventory. Then you would run an ad campaign, a Google Shopping Ad, and that is what allows your ads to get this type of placement.
The placement when you’re doing it this way is 100% driven by whatever product description or title that you have on your website. So when we typed in “women’s dress shoes,” that phrase had to be written in the descriptions of some of these products in order for them to come up in the search.
There are a few different ways that you can connect your store. You could connect it directly. If you’re using a service like Shopify to host your website and your inventory, then you can connect Merchant Center to your Shopify store. Same thing with Facebook and Instagram Catalogs, Shopify makes it really easy to connect your catalog so that your inventory is all in sync. Plus, you don’t have to manually manage every time someone buys something off of the Merchant Center, having to look on your website or look on your backend and fulfillment to see if it’s all connected. This does it for you!
If you’re not using a website like Shopify, where it’s all built in and seamless, then you could also look at just uploading a CSV file or an XML file. Typically, Google Merchant Center will want an XML file, Facebook and Instagram will want a CSV file, and they will have you download a template to do so. Once that’s all put in, it makes you eligible to launch those shopping ads.
So, these are a few ways you can get a lot more visibility to your products available, particularly retail products if you have an e-commerce store!
Thanks for listening in! Shoot us a message on social media or contact us if you have any further questions or digital marketing needs. We are happy to answer any other questions or topics you have.