This article is for those businesses who unlike tradesmen and service providers don’t sell a service. If you sell products and would like to offer them internationally, then this is for you.
The rise of social media and social commerce has transformed the landscape of business and marketing. People are sharing more content, ideas, and products than ever before. Traditional advertising still exists, but smart businesses are learning how to harness these technologies and audiences and capitalise on these social platforms often spending nothing but time getting their brand and products in front of millions of consumers.
Do a good job and people will be sharing your brand, images, links, products and videos and spreading the word on their own. Growth could be explosive and exponential.
Like most things, you’ll only get out what you put in. Setting up a profile or two will do nothing. Hard-work, creativity, and research is what is going to set you up for success. These social sites are overloaded with other companies competing directly with you for the consumer’s limited attention. You need to be better than them and it’s not easy. Be ready to spend a good amount of time and energy developing a social media strategy for your store.
Before you can develop a social media or social commerce strategy for your store, it helps to know what your options are. Below are the 17 best sites which can be used to either promote or actually sell your products. Note that not all of these sites will make sense for every store. Research each option that sounds appealing to you and then decide which are worth the investment of time. If we missed any good sites, please comment below and let us know.
The largest online retailer needs no introduction. Amazon is a one-stop-shop for practically everything you can think of to purchase online. You have two options here:
- List your products for sale in their marketplace. Users will be able to find your products when they search or browse on Amazon. Amazon even offers fulfillment services where they stock, ship, and handle returns for you.
- Buy advertisements on their site. Your ads will show up in relevant searches and when users are viewing relevant products.
The king of the online auction is a great place to not only sell your products but get good exposure and traffic to your brand, especially if you’re just starting out. You’ll have to pay the commissions on each sale to eBay, but you should work to get those customers to come back for repeat purchases directly on your site.
Etsy is like eBay but only for handmade and vintage products. People all over the world are turning their skills and hobbies in to full-time businesses by selling all sorts of things that they can make. What makes this site great is the overwhelming amount of unique products and vendors often willing to make customizations to personalize your order. If your products are a fit for this site, then they should be listed here.
Fab is a product marketplace similar to Amazon but focused only on design-oriented products like fashion, jewelry, decor, furniture, etc. If this is a match for your store, you should get in touch with them.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network that you probably already know everything you need to know about. Creating a presence on this network for your brand is considered a necessity.
Fancy is a great example of social commerce. The site’s tagline is Discover amazing stuff, collect the things you love, buy it all in one place. The platform uses crowd-curation to determine it’s catalog of goods. Think of it as a product-centric social network. You can learn more about the benefits for businesses here.
Google+ is Google’s social network alternative to Facebook. Once you’ve joined the site with a personal account, you can create a page for your store and share your products and promotions with your fans.
Instagram is a widely popular mobile-only social network based around photos (and now, short videos). The service was recently acquired by Facebook. Brands are using the network to get people to share photos of their products with their friends. If yours manage to make it to the popular/trending pages, you’ll be guaranteed a great deal of traffic.
Moodyo not only has a unique name but a rather unique take on social shopping. The site aims to help you find the best ideas for shopping based on products you wish to buy and recommend as well as following your friend’s recommendations and other popular trend-setters. They offer a video to help expain the concept. Email them to discuss getting your products listed.
Open Sky (http://opensky.com)
Open Sky is another social commerce platform boasting over 5,000 stores and 3 million members. The company’s mission is to help discover, share, shop, and grow the world’s most exciting and emerging brands. Small businesses can open a store on the platform and integrate their products in to the social network which users can then share with one another. Check out the Merchant Portal if you want to join.
Picsity is all about sharing photos of products you love and want. It seems like Instagram but only for sharing products – and it’s available on the desktop. Joining the site as a business is free.
Pinterest is an extremely-popular social network also based around sharing photos but with a unique spin. You create a “pin-board” for a certain category or list, like your favorite shoes, and post pictures and links for them. Brands are using this site to post pictures of their products which can then be spread across the network and also show up when you’re browsing a category or tag. Signing up as a business is free and easy.
Stumble Upon (http://stumbleupon.com)
Stumble Upon is a great social network aimed at empowering you to better explore the best pages of the Internet. Once you have an account, you can start telling the service which pages and sites you like, and it will automatically begin recommending other sites for you to check out. As more people recommend your store, product, or page, more users will begin to “stumble” on to your site.
Twitter is another site that needs no introduction. The micro-blogging social network has hundreds of millions of users sharing short posts and images in conversation-format all over the world. Having a presence on Twitter is a must for any business now and is a great tool to connect with your audience and customers, allow them to follow your updates, and get exposure by joining in on the conversations taking place.
Wanelo is another social commerce site with lists of products hand-picked and curated by the network’s members. Joining the site as a store is easy and allows the users to stay updated with your latest products by following your shop.
We Heart It (http://weheartit.com)
We Heart It is another social commerce site which allows you to share links or photos of products you love. There doesn’t seem to be a differentiation between regular users and businesses and stores, but you could join the site and share your own products.
The world’s largest and most-popular video-sharing site is an amazing, free way to promote your brand and products. Your options here are quite endless. Upload something amusing or entertaining that people will want to share and you could easily rack-up millions of views. Or, provide some video walk-throughs or tutorials for your products.