For companies that are learning how to combine social media and eCommerce, the options are dizzying. Should you go with Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook? Matthew Bertulli, CEO and co-founder of Demac Media, a Toronto-based company that helps businesses develop eCommerce platforms, has some advice for retailers both new and established who are trying to decide: understand your product and your audience first.
However, he does have more specific advice for companies who need info right now: Facebook is a better social media platform to start with. “The businesses that are figuring Facebook out are getting the most traction… Facebook allows the most direct conversations with the least amount of noise.”
Bertulli will talk about this and more in How Star Companies Are Redefining eCommerce in Canada, his panel at Dx3 on March 11, 2015.
“The businesses that are figuring Facebook out are getting the most traction… Facebook allows the most direct conversations with the least amount of noise.”
Bertulli will be moderating a panel with three companies he feels have nailed how to use social media to drive eCommerce: Frank & Oak, a men’s fashion retailer; Brika, an online craft store; and Snuggle Bugz, a family-operated retailer of baby items.
What makes those three companies such valuable sources of information, Bertulli says, is that “each of them has really put customers first, stories first, and their brand first. These things are a lot less transactional and tactical than traditional strategy… They know who they’re selling to and what to buy, where their customers are, and how to converse with them.”
This strategy is one Bertulli feels that a lot of retailers in Canada still don’t understand, stating that they’re still stuck in the old advertising paradigm. “[Many] businesses use social in the same way that they’d use any kind of media advertising: One-way, mega-big… [but] that’s not what social media is about. It’s a cocktail party, not an arena ad… [However], companies that are born digital – in the last 5 to 7 years – they largely get that social, as a channel, is a lot different than direct media buys.”
“Each of [these companies] has really put customers first, stories first, and their brand first.”
For Bertulli, it’s been exciting to work with retailers and integrate their eCommerce platforms with the social networks of their target demographics – he likens it to being behind the scenes at all times, understanding trends as they develop and become established. One thing he’s noticed is which social networks are successful at driving online retail—Pinterest and Facebook—and what differentiates them.
“Products that are design-focused and have a heavy design element do well on Pinterest as a channel,” he says, but despite this Facebook is still a more attractive option for many. “Facebook’s tools to merchants to target customers are badass and hard to beat. I don’t think it’s a matter of one beating out the other or being better than the other, but who is right for a particular merchant.”