Time to Pivot

There’s been a lot of upheaval in the world lately. First, let me send heartfelt condolences to any who have lost or cared for loved ones impacted by the pandemic. And to all of you retailers, my heart also goes out for what you’ve had to navigate with the disruptions in the way we all do business.

But like they say, when one door closes, let’s open another one — or several! If there’s ever been a time to pivot to new online and social selling strategies, this is it.

Since I’m passionate about passing along whatever we learn, keep reading. There’s some good stuff here that can help.

Social Selling

Social selling is on the rise. Essentially, social selling is leveraging social media to find and nurture relationships with followers so they can become loyal customers.

You can use Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, etc., but one of my favorite platforms for retailers is Instagram. It’s a highly visual medium perfect for design, décor and gifts. It’s perfect for building that engagement with followers. It’s especially suited for vlog style marketing. And it’s easy to from just engaging to actually selling.

I have a free Instagram shopping checklist available to help if you’re new to making posts shoppable. (Here’s a little preview below of how shoppable posts work.)

White dots appear over your tagged products

When viewers tap on the dots, descriptions appear

When viewers tap on the description, they can purchase the item

But did you know you can also use third-party platforms to make social selling even easier? These platforms handle the pain-in-the-rear-end logistics of social selling for you.

The basic idea is you can post items for sale, followers can comment that they want to purchase the item, and the platform will automatically send them an invoice with payment options, send you a fulfillment order and update your inventory in real time. One of the more talked about platforms is CommentSold.

I can’t speak to it personally yet, but we’ve heard great things about how easy it makes social selling.

Making It Easier

We understand it’s hard for our retailers to sit on inventory at times like this, so we’ve just launched a drop ship program. The program allows stores to send us notification of items purchased on their store’s website or social media, and then we handle the direct shipping to their customers on their behalf.

It’s an idea that’s we’ve been debating for a while, and with all that’s going on, we realized it’s high time to put it into motion. It saves our retailers the investment in inventory — all they have to do is have fun posting and marketing the products. There might be something like this that would work for your store, so look into the options you have with your wholesale vendors.

Taking the Show Online

If you’ve ever been to our space at AmericasMart Atlanta or Las Vegas Market, you know we love to get to know retailers at the big biannual shows. (I hope you’ve stopped by for some Adams & Co. frozen yogurt. Want to see the space? Check out a video we did from market earlier this year … )

We’re in show season now, looking forward to seeing so many of our favorite retailers in our showroom. But with all that’s going on, not everyone will be able to attend in person, so we’ve taken advantage of the International Market Centers’ latest innovation.

We’ve just joined the Shopzio Digital Marketplace which empowers wholesalers like us to stay connected with our retailers year-round. There may be B2B or B2C platforms your store would like to be part of — it opens even more doors to engage with even more customers and wholesalers.

When Life Gives You Lemons

It’s no secret all that’s going on has been hard and will likely continue to be challenging in different ways for an indefinite period.

But America needs small businesses. We are eager to work together, get resourceful and harness the power of social selling, online platforms and digital marketing to get through this stronger than when we started.

Article originally published in DJ’s Insta Tips column, Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine, June 2020. Some updates have been made since first published.