Building a profitable e-commerce business is the desire for many of today’s entrepreneurs. The dream: build an ROI positive online store that more or less runs on autopilot. Successfully accomplishing this would provide the time and financial freedom that everyone is in search of.

Not to say that this is a pipe dream, the potential is there. But, for this venture to truly be successful you have to leverage the power of social media.

A well thought out and executed social media strategy can really propel your e-commerce business. Let’s touch on some of the ways e-comm startups crush it on social.

Invest in your brand

First and foremost, invest in your brand. This is the foundation for business. Not everything you do on social should have the underlying goal of selling your product. Remember, before you receive people’s trust you have to get their attention. Do this by getting your name in front of people and building brand recognition.

Here’s what counts: Educating people on your products, brand and what it is that separates you from other options in the market; why it is that people should trust in your product/brand

Tell your brand’s unique story through use/case studies of your product, the benefits your product/brand offers to people and proof of both (through testimonials, reviews, etc). Do all of this before you even ask them to buy something. This creates trust in your brand that, when done properly in conjunction with a genuinely awesome product, will lift the lifetime value of a customer (repeat purchases).

Don’t be afraid to get creative with all of the above; 64% of consumers purchase after watching branded social videos.

Focus on promoting products with good margin

Facebook works best as a platform to scale your business when you have healthy margins.

That said, stay away from promoting products on Facebook that have low-profit margins.

This will increase your margin of error significantly (Facebook ads are a constant test & measure exercise), improve your chances to scale successfully and put more profits in your business’ pocket.

Our rule of thumb: products with at least a 50% profit margin typically lead to better scalability and profits on Facebook.

Maximize your average order value (AOV)

How can you keep a customer coming back to your business to buy more?

The answer is to implement strategies and offers AFTER an initial purchase that make it a no-brainer for customers. When you do this, you’re playing an acquisition game as opposed to a single transaction game.

I.e. Instead of acquiring a customer for $10 and profiting $20, aim to acquire them (initial purchase) at as high of a profit you can, then upsell them through a series of shopping cart upsells, email followups and heck… even old school phone followups still work (if your business manpower/scalability allows).

It’s a better scenario to have 1 customer buy 5 times than to have 5 customers buy once. Right?

Think about this, execute correctly and you’ll acquire a customer once but profit from multiple purchases over and over and over again.

Don’t rely on Facebook ads to grow your business (or any ads for that matter)

Facebook ads will play a huge role in scaling your ecomm store. However, you can’t rely solely on this type of marketing for your success.

Consider a holistic approach to your strategy. Offline efforts greatly help support your online advertising. Pop up shops, sponsorships, engaging with your online/offline community with great content and other promotional work will assist in reinforcing your paid Facebook strategy.

Invest time into your business with the long game in mind – businesses that want to get up and running within months, scale quickly using only FB ads are typically the ones that don’t last. Want more in-depth information on increasing your AOV, click here.

Leverage influencers

Influencers are well respected individuals of a particular community. They are the new wave of celebrity. People admire their opinions so much that what they say has an “influence” on their beliefs, and buying decisions. So much so that 70% of millennials prefer product endorsements by non-celebrity influences. Ecommerce brands are now leveraging this authority to sell more units.

The key to this is finding the right influencer. This will play a huge factor in the success of the campaign. Understand your target audience and find an influencer that is a popular in that space.

Does their creative match your brands style? Does their personality reflect the personality of your brand? Are their followers ideal potential customers of yours?

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking and checking off yes before making your final choice.

Want to make things even easier? Take advantage of tools like Insense to partner with influencers directly.

Dropshipping is OK, but not a good long term strategy

Dropshipping has become an increasingly popular playing ground for startups over the last 10 years.

The reason for its popularity is the minimum cost and time required to get started. It’s typically not a great long-term strategy in most cases however,

Here’s the two biggest challenges that we’ve seen:

1) It’s a pricing game in most cases since others have access to the same products that you do. So, to stay competitive you lower your prices which reduces your profit margin and ultimately lowers your profits.

2) The most successful dropshippers own multiple brands/stores. This, however, will require a great deal of patience and a lot of trial and error – often times, far more work than you might think. Are you up for that challenge?

How do we know this stuff?

Years ago we launched dropshipping stores and also ventured into creating our own products in the marketplace with success. So, just know this advice isn’t coming from opinion but rather, experience!

E-commerce can be a very lucrative business model when executed correctly. Overlooking the role that social media plays in this will hurt your success.

Interested in how we have utilized social to crush it for our ecomm clients? Book a free strategy call with us today.

We would be more than happy to pull back the curtain.