Facebook’s most recent outage was a powerful reminder of the significance of a website for online retailers.
In recent times, social media juggernauts like Facebook and Instagram have been (and still are) effective tools for different businesses to promote and sell their products and services.
And, although these platforms can be great sales channels for online stores, they still come with some setbacks and limitations, like the recent outage, that provide valuable lessons which highlight the importance of having a website for online retailers.
The Lessons From Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram Shutting Down for 6 Hours!
Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram experienced yet another outage in October 2021 But this time, it was the company’s most extended downtime period since 2019, lasting about six hours.
During the early moments of the outage, many users blamed their internet service providers before coming to the shocking realisation that these giant platforms were offline.
About 3.5 billion people use Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram for communication, entertainment and advertisement, etc. So, this six-hour-long outage sent shock waves through the global economy.
However, the crucial question is how did this outage affect online stores, and what lessons can we learn?
Businesses that rely solely on these social media platforms to sell their products/services experienced significant setbacks in terms of sales and profits as online shoppers could not access them.
But it was not only direct sales that were hit hard. People who needed to advertise specific events through Facebook ads on that day also experienced a few hiccups, as they lost potential customers.
Lastly, businesses that predominantly use WhatsApp for communication were not able to run operations effectively.
So, what can online retailers learn from this?
This outage brought an essential lesson to the limelight- you should not depend entirely on social media to grow your business.
Why You Should Not Rely on Social Media Alone
You Don’t Own the Platforms
Building the foundation of your business on platforms that are not yours can lead to many challenges along the way because you have very little control over them. Ideally, social media should serve as a medium to connect with your audience to drive more traffic to your website or get more people to sign up for your email list.
“Your Followers” Are Primarily Their Customers
If you have been relying solely on social media to sell your products, chances are, you have invested a lot of time and money to grow your following (prospects).
However, because you do not own these platforms, your followers are actually their customers, as they have control over how these people interact.
Organic Reach is Low
Organic reach on social media platforms refers to the number of people who see your unpaid content, that is, content you have not boosted using money to target a specific audience.
You might have noticed that your organic reach on social media has been declining in recent years. That’s predominantly because unpaid content has been fighting an uphill battle against ad content to compete for visibility in a more competitive News Feed.
A Diverse Approach Ensures Growth
As a business rule of thumb, you should “never put all your eggs in one basket.” Using social media platforms for business should only be part of a broader and more diverse approach.
Why? Because a diverse approach gives you the ability to navigate unforeseen challenges like the recent Facebook outage by pivoting towards other strategies.
Despite the recent outage, social media platforms are still effective tools that online retailers can use to promote their businesses, but they have their limitations, as we have just experienced.
Adopting a diverse approach ensures that you won’t be held hostage by the next outage. And one of the best ways to diversify your strategy is by building something you own and, as a result, have more control over, like a website for online retailers.
Benefits of a Website for Online Retailers
Enjoy More Control
Creating a website provides online retailers with more opportunities for control. You can control many aspects like creating a design that matches your brand, optimising speed and responsiveness, and choosing how you present information to visitors through images and blog posts.
This means that you have the leeway to directly impact your prospects’ user experience through your e-commerce website. You don’t need to worry about competing with other online shops in the same newsfeed, as you allow your customers to find your products and services online 24/7 through your own space.
Gain Insight Into Your Audience
Having a website gives you access to a gold mine of information about your visitors that you can use to fine-tune your marketing strategy. This includes the location of your visitors, how they found your online store, the specific keywords they use to find your products, the language they use, or when customers are most active.
Understanding how your customers use your website can help you focus your efforts to drive more traffic.
But your website does not only help you gain information about your existing customers, as you can also learn why some visitors don’t end up making a purchase. For example, does your homepage lack a clear call to action, or have you added payment options that your target audience expect?
Gain More Visibility
An increasing number of individuals rely on search engines like Google to find more information about the products/service they need. This creates a huge opportunity for businesses to gain more visibility and grow their customer base.
Modern businesses can leverage SEO to improve their rankings on search engines for specific keywords.
What’s more, public trust in some social media platforms has been declining in recent times due to outages, data breaches, or privacy concerns. Therefore, this is the best time to pivot your marketing strategy towards creating a website to help you increase customer reach on search engines, as they are a more trusted source among consumers.
Make a Good First Impression
Having an effective SEO strategy will significantly increase traffic to your website. But, that’s only one piece of the puzzle, as you will still need to ensure that people stay on your website long enough to make a purchase.
For this to happen, you will need to make a great first impression.
Having a well-designed and responsive website for online retailers provides you with a valuable opportunity to make an excellent first impression. This is important because your website gives your prospects their impression about your business, affecting how they perceive your products and services.
A slow, mobile-unfriendly, bland website immediately elicits a negative first impression that will lead your visitors to your competition.
This is why you need to partner with a professional website development and design agency for online retailers to create an appealing design that will first-time visitors into loyal customers.
Why Choose Xanda To Create Your Website
Xanda is a leader in website development and design in the UK. Our passionate and experienced teams know the significance of creating a bespoke, mobile-friendly and responsive website for online retailers.
We stay on top of technological trends and adopt an innovative approach to navigate the ever-changing demands of this industry and meet all our client’s unique needs.