There should be a number of Facebook/IG merchants who would have this doubt: Since I already have a Facebook/IG store, why do i need an online store as one more additional sales platform? If this is what you are thinking about, then you don’t quite understand the benefits of owning an online store. Which is why in this article below, we will analyse and share some of the biggest differences between a FB/IG store and an online store, and how both can complement each other, to achieve the best sales result.
1. Payment and Receiving Payment Function
Both FB/IG do not have a function for payment or receiving payment. When a customer wishes to make a purchase, he/she can only use bank transfer or other more traditional payment methods. The merchant would also have to wait for the amount to be processed and credited into the merchant’s account before proceeding as it is unsure whether the customer would actually make the purchase in the end. However, with an online store, the merchant can support various payment methods. For example, credit cards (Visa/ Master), Alipay, Apple Pay, Google Pay etc., which can greatly reduce the payment process for customer, yet at the same time, ensures that the merchant can receive payment instantly.
2. A System to Handle Large Orders
Imagine when you receive large orders, and you just rely on messaging your customers one by one using WhatsApp/ Facebook Messenger/ IG DM to record your orders, the time spent and the chance of making an error is a lot higher. At this point of time, a system that can help you automatically record your customers’ name, phone number, address, purchasing product and the price of the product, would be what you really need. Once the system have that completed, you can rest assure and send out the order. An online store is just the right system that can help you to complete all those that was mentioned earlier, while also keeping a record of your inventory with the ease usage of technology, without the need for counting it manually.
3. Recording Customers’ Data
A FB/IG store is not a system, it cannot help merchants record customers’ data. For example, customers’ gender, age, interest, data and digital footprint etc. Customers’ data is extremely important to a merchant, for example when planning an advertisement, data is required to find the potential customers. A store that can do data analyzing can then help merchants to record customers’ data.
4. Product Showcase
Although FB/IG supports uploading photos and videos, but when the customer wants to find back the same product, it is very troublesome as there are no product classification, or any option to narrow the product search such as choice of colour or size etc. Furthermore, after adding the advertisement details on FB/IG, the whole page would look very messy, which makes the chance of losing potential businesses easier.
5. Members Management
A FB/IG store would not be able to save customers as members, making it harder for merchants to recognise their loyal customers. On an online store, a membership subscription model store can be set up to reward loyal customers, encourage them to make repeat purchases, and also make it easier for merchants to spread their promotional news to their target audience.
If I set up an online store, what can my Facebook/IG page still be used for?
An online store is to help your customers access your products and to learn more about it, at any time, with the ease of browsing using a desktop, laptop, or smartphone. On the other hand, a Facebook/IG page is a merchants’ best promotional tool to attract the attention of the customer. When both is used together, it can achieve the best of both worlds, and obtain the best sales result, making managing the business for the merchant much more easier.
6. Clear layout
When you are using Facebook / Instagram to upload your product photos, you can show your products from different angles, but it might cause the problem of spamming. Customers might not be willing to view your posts anymore. Even if they do want to view your products, the old posts will be pushed to the back of the timeline. However, they would barely find those posts. Having an online store allows your customers to browse their interested products directly by simply clicking the pictures. Other than that, your online store can provide hashtag functions for you to categorise your products. Once customers enter the keywords, they those products would immediately appear. The clean, simple display layout of those tagged products would be helpful to your customers.
7. Create Promotional Activities/ Campaigns
Although you can create and execute your promotional campaigns or activities on Facebook, in most cases, you can only create buzz and publicity. When customers would like to enjoy the discounts made available, they would have to wait for the shop merchants to first list the price of each item and their respective discounts and then calculate the total purchase amount of the customers’ orders made through Facebook. Sounds tedious right? Well, opening up an online store using the e-commerce platforms available can enable merchants to put up campaigns with ease and directly set discounts on the products on promotion. If you have numerous enquiries come at you at the same time, having an online store would help you better automate and sort things out, just in case you lack extra helping hands.
Furthermore, when you put out a campaign of discounted products, some customers might make last minute orders even after the campaign has just ended, in hopes that they could enjoy the discount. In this case, merchants would have to continue monitoring till the end of the campaign. This means that merchants would have to work late hours into the night and chances are, orders might be mixed up. Besides this, merchants would have to directly message and liaise with the customers who would want to enjoy the discounts at the last minute. Through your own online web store, you can manage the automated system to execute the campaigns. Once each campaign ends there would not be delays to its end and interacting with the customers’ last minute appeals to the discount would not be a need anymore.