The Tale of the Lost Sale

How NOT to get a sale on social media!

I have a routine in the mornings whereby while I have my first coffee of the day, I spend about 20 mins on Instagram looking at posts using specific hashtags that are relevant to my target audience. I pick one hashtag per day, search for the most recent posts that have used it and scroll through commenting on posts that catch my attention, liking others, sharing some to my story and saving some for later.

It’s a lovely way to discover new profiles and businesses and see how much talent is out there, it’s also a great way to increase my profile on IG in a totally non-spammy way.

This morning I chose the hashtag #uksmallbusiness, select ‘recent’ as the filter option and started my scroll through. Now, I need to make it clear, I do only stop on images that I genuinely like or find interesting, I don’t just like and comment on everything as that would be disingenuous. I saw a post that really caught my eye, it made me stop scrolling and click. It was a stunning handmade product which soon as I saw it, I immediately thought of the perfect person I could gift it to. It’s such a great idea and beautifully executed making it pretty much the unicorn of gifts!

I clicked on the post – left a comment, I even followed both the maker and the indie retailer who had actually created the post. I then thought, I’d like to see how much this is to see if it’s in my budget, if it is, I’m going to buy one or maybe two as by then I’m thinking it’s so brilliant, useful and attractive that I’m sure there are other people I know who’d want one, if not, I’d like one! I think it was William Morris who is famously quoted as saying that you should have nothing in your life that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful – this was both.

The indie retailer profile didn’t have a shop attached to it – if it had I could have clicked on the shop and bought then and there. Hint – look at setting up your IG shop!

I clicked on the linktree bio link and selected the shop link which took me to a beautifully designed and laid-out website but the product that had been posted about that morning wasn’t ‘heroed’, it wasn’t one of the first images to be seen. Not a huge issue but it would have been a really nice touch.

As I’d remembered the product name (not always the case at 6am before I’ve had my first coffee), I used the search function to find it. It came up straight away which was great – although the first link for it was a blog post about it rather than the actual product. I had to scroll down my phone screen to see the product listing only to see it was sold out!

Proper Planning

That irked me a bit – why advertise a product that’s either sold out or you haven’t had time to update the listing for on your website? This is where a planned marketing strategy comes in. When product launch / re-stock / ‘rave about’ posts are in a social media schedule, you can see when you need to make sure they’re available on the website.

I still ventured on thinking that at least if I clicked on the product link, I could see how much it is to see if it’s worth filling in email details to be informed when it’s back in stock. No price was shown! 

At that point, I clicked off. I’d already gone much further than most prospects will go to try to buy a product – usually if you’re more than 3 clicks away, you’ve lost the sale. But I wasn’t prepared to wait around any longer to find details that should have been there, up front and easy to see.

Make it easy for your potential customers to see what you offer, how much it is and how they can get hold of it. There are a lot of online businesses out there, it's a busy marketplace. BUT, there is also a lot of traffic out there and a lot of sales to be had. Once you’ve managed to get the traffic directed towards you, don’t put obstacles in their way.

Maybe I’ll go back to the website later, maybe I wont but what I do know is that had this been a smoother customer experience, that retailer would have logged on later this morning to at least 1 sale of a brilliant product for one of their indie makers.