This era of social media provides unchartered territory for businesses to start up and advertise with little to no spending on marketing and advertising if the business owner has the right experience. This environment has made Instagram one in which a retail business can flourish, particularly within the Jamaican market. The market, though saturated can be easily penetrated with certain brand building features and techniques, such as timely responses, ease of transactions, excellent customer service and of course, highly sought after merchandise.
But there is a downside. The Jamaican culture is one lacking in understanding the value that customers bring to a business, and often, marketing strategies are designed around what is comfortable for the business owner, not the customers. This is detrimental, as the very phenomenon the retailers seek to capitalize on, which is the ease of access to the consumers, many have also used to sharpen the sword on both edges.
1. PRIVATE ACCOUNTS
A store cannot be a store with a private account. Before a potential client ever even sees the merchandise the store has for sale, they are met with a barrier. Not only that, the potential customer base becomes limited, people who happen across your page are turned away and even if they do send a follow request, by the time the request is accepted, the interest has probably dwindled or met by a competitor. (Which are available by the dozens). There are literally no barriers to entry in this business from competitors. Barriers for customers will not be a benefit, even if the product is in high demand.
2. REDIRECTING CUSTOMERS FOR PRICES
It’s bad enough the business in retail and has not posted the prices of the items on display. The customer puts in the effort to ask, and they have redirected yet again to a DM or worse yet, WhatsApp.
No matter how many customers you think you are getting, that’s only half of the potential business you could be from your traffic if you are redirecting your clientele for prices. This is not a good way to build up a marketing client list. The competition who is posting their prices has already eliminated requests that will not materialize in actual sales, saving them the unnecessary requests from potential customers who are unwilling or unable to pay your asking price NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE is pleased. I would not want to be bothered to add some number to my contacts list just to message them to ask about how much something costs and have personally unfollowed and even blocked retail accounts for this because I know that I will not be purchasing anything from them. Whatever is being sold, I can find elsewhere, and so will others. I will not beg you to spend with you.
4. BAD/NO CUSTOMER SERVICE
No matter how fast word flies through word of mouth, it will invariably be faster on social media. In a country where bad customer service is seen as the norm, great customer service can set you apart. Bad reviews will affect your business, especially if it is recurrent.
The market is great, but don’t forget the value of the “Insta” part of Instagram!