10 - July 2019 Woodall’s Campground Management MODERN MARKETING Developing an Online Revenue Stream for Your Campground Are you an Amazon shopper? Have you traveled using an e-ticket? Do you offer online reservations requiring some type of financial exchange? Whether you’ve put the term to it or not, you are one of millions taking advantage of e-commerce. It’s exactly as it sounds, electronic — performed online — and commerce: buying and selling. Sometimes it’s a tangible product that’s shipped to you. Other times it’s a document that’s emailed to you. Still another iteration is ordering something online to be picked up at a business’ will-call desk and paid in full at time of purchase or held with a deposit, balance due at pick-up. As a business owner and consumer, you’ve likely experienced each one of these scenarios. Online shopping isn’t new.Typically, buyers visit a company’s web presence and make a purchase. Today however, there’s a complementary way that con- sumers like to shop, social commerce. “Social” represents social media chan- nels including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Selling on Social Media Social commerce is a natural exten- sion of how businesses are using their social media presence to offer consumers familiarity, confidence and convenience while increasing revenue and customer loyalty. We know that the key to growing social media fans and followers is to deliver relevant content — what your audience is interested in knowing, learning, seeing and, yes, buying. The better you get at relevance, the more interested and familiar your audience will become with your brand. Between follower interactions and user reviews, businesses and con- sumers begin to build relationships, which in turn leads to trust. When a consumer sees others are interested in and satisfied with your products, they have confidence in what you are offering and how they’ll be treated. It’s a busy world and we’re pulled in multiple directions.When a consumer finally has a few minutes to sit down with social media they want to be able to do what they want to do, 24/7. This includes researching and purchasing products and services, store hours at their convenience. Selling on social media is not only practical, but it’s also becoming expected. Social commerce is often a circular path: relationships and trust lead to a successful transaction. In turn, this transaction has the power, via reviews and user-generated content, to lead to further social purchases among a wider audience. What to Sell With a few caveats, anything that’s sold at your property can be sold on- line.When selling hard goods, branded T-shirts, tote bags, cups and mugs and more, you’ll want to take fulfillment into consideration. Do you have the re- sources to process and ship products? If so, Facebook allows businesses to create a Facebook Shop to sell physical products. Setup is relatively straightfor- ward and business credentials (busi- ness license number, tax ID, etc.) must be shared. Consumers can then shop your store and pay for their items while on your Facebook Page. Integrating a Facebook “catalog” will allow you to extend your shop to your Instagram business account. Pinterest offers “Rich Pins” that connect to a website and “Buyable Pins” that connect to an e-commerce platform. Snapchat users can shop via buyable lenses and ads. If you’d prefer to sell experiences, you might consider selling gift cards redeemable onsite for any number of stay add-ons such as themed picnic baskets, fishing (or other outdoor activity) packages, firewood/s’more evenings, snack bar coupons or even site decorations for upcoming theme weeks. Stay-package gift cards, espe- cially promoted around Father’s Day and other such holidays, can be lucra- tive social commerce products as well. Giftfly and Gift Up! are two well- respected, easy-to-use options for sell- ing gift cards without the requirement of having an e-commerce store. Promotion is Key Whether you choose to sell physical products or experiences, you have options. Setting up social media shops, catalogs, pins, and/or lenses is an excellent strategy. In addition to the sales platform, you have a built-in promotional platform via ads and shoppable tags and/or pins. If you are currently selling gift certifi- cates and experiences via your point of sale (POS) then the e-commerce por- tion is taken care of. If not and you choose not to use a gift card platform, you may be interested in creating an e- commerce store with a respected plat- formsuchasShopifyorBigCommerce. Regardless of your chosen e-com- merce/social commerce solution, pro- motion is the key. Having a Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat business account, you’ve got two of the essential ingredients: an audience that wants to shop and a promotional plat- form to help you get the word out. Develop a brief online marketing plan for the e-commerce piece of your busi- ness. Work to optimize your product offers, timing and audience needs. Create social ads if you have a budget to do so. Make sure you use beautiful images representing the experiences that can be had. Remember the social aspect of social media by replying to comments. Create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website or a chatbot on social if you begin to see a pattern of questions. Get Started Today I know you may be tired of hearing this phrase, but e-commerce is looking very much like the wave of the future. It’s a rapidly developing phenomenon. Evanne Schmarder Modern Marketing– continued on page 28