Do you sell your merchandise on social media? Are you using your social media accounts to advertise and sell your bags, shoes, clothes, make-up etc? Well, congratulations honey and more power to your hustle. And because I want your business to succeed, let me give you a few truths. There are things you could change or improve on that will help you close even more sales. I am not an expert on sales and this is not even necessarily coming from a PR person’s point of view. However, being a frequent social media shopper and having assisted several online retailers to market, I have insight from both sides of the coin. Social media has after all become one huge market place. In fashion, beauty, decor and appliances especially, many people are running full-time, almost fully-fledged online businesses on Facebook and Instagram. As we all know, with such a selling tool at our disposal things can get confusing. If you want to succeed in your one-man/one-woman online venture army, you’ve got to learn how to treat your (potential) customers, so they keep coming back and sending referrals. In all businesses good old customer service is vital. In online businesses where one can easily screenshot your rude comment, or just leave a horrible review for everyone else to find (even those who are not looking), good customer relations is a must. There is no way around it. So below are five major things you could be doing to your customers that are hurting your precious business, and trust me if you improve on these you’ll soon see different results.
Not making the shopping process smooth enough
The customer is not there for your convenience. You are supposed to make my shopping experience as easy and hassle-free as possible. For instance when I private message you an inquiry and you take ages to respond that’s bad enough. And when you respond and give me a number to CALL you on, that’s even worse. You can be sure I won’t be calling you anytime soon. After all, the competition is stiff and there are other nicer and more accommodating retailers out there. So I will go to them. They will respond to my message and follow up because that’s what good business people do. I have made orders online that were never delivered and no one even bothered to call to inform me of the hold-up. Others called five days later asking if I still needed the item. Do you expect that my money is still waiting for you to be ready to sell something that I could have bought elsewhere ages ago? No ma’am.
Getting sassy and defensive over a complaint
Seriously stop that. It doesn’t solve the problem when you get sassy and defensive when a customer calls you out on your bad behavior. If you have sold me something that you totally overpriced but it’s turned out be of inferior quality to what I was going for, I won’t be pleased. And I’ll give you feedback so that next time you can do better. So getting defensive instead of listening to my concern doesn’t win you any points here and you can be sure I won’t be coming back. Neither will anyone else that you treat that way. Oh, and some people will be sharing screen shots of that rude conversation all over Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Now let’s see how that helps your up and coming business. Decent companies apologize and offer compensation.
Ignoring glaring complaints/bad reviews on your page, or deleting them
Two actions here that hurt you the same way. If I leave a complaint on your page, it’s because I need the issue addressed. Now if you just leave that comment sitting on your wall or under a post, without as much as a nod of acknowledgement or the effort to address the issue, it is no secret you are giving your business a bad name. Everyone who passes by will see it and immediately form a negative opinion based on one person’s experience. All because you were too proud to at least listen and try to rectify the situation. If I come across a negative comment that has been politely responded to, I won’t be as peeved as when the comment is just sitting there, unaddressed. On the other hand, deleting this negative comment is not the answer. Come on people this is 2017. We all know by now the internet never forgets. You hiding my complaint is not a wise PR move, it is the surest admission of guilt.
Overpricing your delivery charges
‘We are online based but we deliver’ is one phrase I must have heard a thousand times by now, which is cool really as long as you deliver, right? But why oh why, are you then charging me three times the cost of any courier, or those motorbike guys, just because I have made an order? And yet you fail to realize that there is someone else selling the same item who has made more customer friendly delivery arrangements and I’ll go buy from them in a heartbeat? It would do your business great justice to think through all the logistics before you start selling, ensuring the customer is getting the best value for their money so they keep coming back.
Not giving enough information about your product
It may seem pretty obvious that if a person advertises something they should be ready to disclose its price for instance. But funny enough, that’s not the case on these social media streets. It baffles me; why go through the trouble of advertising yet you don’t tell me how much the item costs? Even when I make a point of asking, you still have to ‘respond privately’ with “please come to the shop to view the items.” Like are you kidding me?! Then why are you online in the first place? Are you ashamed of your price? Or are you scared your customers will come steal your expensive stuff? Then why in God’s name are you selling to us mere mortals if we are not good enough to even know how much your stuff costs? Also, what’s with posting a hundred pictures for me to peruse through, no price indication, no size specifications, no availability information… I doubt you’re going to make any sales that way.
You’ve got to do better, business owners on social media. Otherwise your customers will loathe you and now at least you know why. I’ve done my part, do yours.
How about you guys who shop frequently on social media? What other experiences have you had that you wish retailers could change?
Thank you for passing by and stay elegant!