As you begin making plans for how to strengthen and grow your retail or ecommerce business in 2021, it’s crucial to think about the channels you’ll use to distribute information about your products.
Here are six that should be on your list.
The activities people do on Facebook span far beyond researching products they want to buy. Many share news stories, post memes, or respond to content posted by their friends and family.
However, a roundup of recent global social media statistics shows why it’s worthwhile for companies to help people learn about their products via Facebook. Information shows that the social media platform is the most-used around the world. Moreover, Facebook users are among the most broadly representative of the whole population.
Some of the statistics in the compilation also looked specifically at how social networks help drive purchases and encourage people to learn about products. For example, 43% of overall respondents said they use social media to research products. The percentage rose among younger people, too. Another 24% said they rely on social media recommendations to help them discover new things to buy.
Another finding showed that live video helped posts achieve organic interactions on Facebook. Brands could keep that in mind and consider creating videos that let people share in the excitement of one-off events — like store openings or product launches — from wherever they are.
Shopify is a massively popular platform that lets people sell things online. They can also conduct in-person transactions through the Shopify POS product. Besides allowing merchants to display their products, it offers tools to facilitate the goods' marketing and shipment.
The brand has enjoyed exceptional growth recently. Shopify’s second-quarter 2020 results revealed a 71% rise in stores created on the platform compared to the first-quarter data for the year. The statistics also indicated that shops in English-speaking countries saw increases in people placing orders within 25 kilometers of their registered addresses. That outcome suggests that people consider Shopify as viable options for their local purchasing needs.
Shopify merchants had impressive success even more recently, too. Retailers using the platform worldwide made more than $51 million in sales during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend in 2020. That’s a whopping 76% increase over transactions for that period in 2019. And the great thing with Shopify is that makes it simple for business owners to set up shops, even without tech expertise. When customers arrive at a visually pleasing and highly functional Shopify store, they’re eager to start learning about the products it offers.
Amazon comprised more than 60.5% of online sales growth in 2018. That phenomenal success led many analysts to discuss the so-called Amazon Effect, which results in less-prominent ecommerce brands racing to become more competitive to keep up with the giant company.
Now, years later, Amazon is no less influential. Many well and lesser-known brands sell on Amazon because they know many people include that site in their online shopping research and purchases. Some of the product descriptions feature videos and detailed feature lists. Consumers can also filter results to see the best-selling or highest-rated items.
The results of a 2019 survey emphasized that Amazon is doing things right when it comes to helping people with product research. About 95% of United States-based respondents felt satisfied with product descriptions on the site.
Another notable finding was that 66% of people start their product searches at Amazon. When those consumers are ready to buy, 74% head back to the site to complete the transaction. Many merchants sell in various places, including official product websites. However, whether they’re selling vacuum cleaners or vitamins, it makes sense to have a presence on Amazon, too.
YouTube offers a wealth of ways for company representatives to spread the word about their products. For example, they might host a streaming webinar series aimed at corporate decision-makers. Brands may also post instructional videos that show product owners or potential buyers how to make the most of an item’s features.
A survey found that more than 90% of worldwide respondents said they discovered new products or brands on YouTube. Many people like to switch between text-based and video content when learning about items. The tremendous amount of content available on YouTube makes it easy for people to see all the video clips they might need to guide their decisions.
Retail brands should also strongly consider creating channels for their YouTube content. Interested parties can subscribe to them and get all the latest content without carrying out longer searches that may ultimately end in them finding unofficial material.
Another benefit of YouTube is that it archives content initially created through livestreams. Say you post a video of a store tour that does not get as much attention as you’d hoped when people saw it live; more of them could enjoy it when they access the stream on your YouTube channel.
5. Branded podcasts and podcast sponsorships
A 2020 report confirms podcasts’ popularity.
The data showed that an estimated 104 million Americans 12 and over listened to podcasts in the past month. Moreover, people who heard podcasts within a week before giving their responses spent an average of nearly 400 minutes per week doing it. Plus, 28% said they heard episodes in their cars.
One option pursued by brands including Sephora and Trader Joe’s is to have a branded podcast. That approach gives a company complete control over the content, including the hosts and the topics.
However, you may not want to take such a deep dive into podcasts to inform people about your products, and that’s OK. Another possibility is to become a podcast sponsor. When hosts take breaks during their shows, they will promote your brand or items. Since many listeners get to know podcast hosts and come to trust them, this method could work well for helping your brand build credibility.
6. Review websites
Many people are not willing to try new brands or products blindly. They want an idea of what to expect before taking the plunge. When possible, they’ll seek opinions of people they know who have done business with the brand. That’s not always an option, however. So, in that case, consumers often depend on review sites, such as Tripadvisor, Yelp! and Trustpilot.
Make sure your business has a verified presence on the review sites that are most relevant to your brand. Set up your company on Google, especially since the search engine and its results frequently play such large roles in what and where people buy things.
A 2019 BrightLocal study investigated how reviews influence people shopping locally. It showed that 90% of people had looked for reviews about local businesses in the last year. Additionally, one-third of consumers said they did it every day. More than half of the people in the 18-54 age group said they always read reviews. The average person also read more than 10 reviews before feeling comfortable enough to trust a business.
Besides getting your company set up on review sites, have someone from your business monitor what people say. Consumers often use these online destinations to get clarification. Alternatively, you may need to correct misunderstandings before readers accept them as fact.
Help your products stay visible in 2021
These six product information channels will increase the likelihood of people noticing your products and becoming interested in them during the coming year. No matter which of them you utilize, always rely on metrics to determine which efforts provide the most substantial payoffs.
But, before you take the leap into channels, or expand your existing marketplace, make sure your product information is updated, relevant and consolidated in one central location: Plytix. There are so many new requirements that crop up with channels, and it’s impossible to attend to them, accurately, without a PIM. As it is, managing data within a platform takes time and focus. But once it’s organized in one place without having to work between teams, or edit content manually, you’ll save so much time. (Of course, you want a web store that offers an omnichannel experience and exceptional service to your customers, but there are steps to getting there. And this is a speedy one.)
See how our clients have reaped the benefits of PIM in our downloadable whitepaper. They’ve adopted the PIM and jumped ahead of their competitors in just a few months. Let us help you do the same by making your transition to ecommerce success as seamless and effortless as possible.