New Technologies Enable Small Business to Sell Products via Social Media

New service offerings are making it possible for small businesses to sell their products and offerings, and receive payments directly through social media platforms. Chirpify, which previously released a platform that allowed users to buy and sell directly from their Twitter stream, has recently launched a new version of this platform that is compatible with Instagram and therefore Facebook.

Merging these two platforms serves to bridge the gap between direct online retail sales and the social media tools that many small businesses are currently using to reach out to potential buyers and expand their customer base. Not only does this make the purchasing process itself infinitely more convenient for customers, but it also provides a venue through which businesses can gather valuable data about customers in real time. Indeed, with increasing emphasis being placed on the strategic opportunities offered by social media to online retailers, and with the growing popularity of social media among the general public, Chirpify’s offering is a logical next step.

One major enhancement of enabling sales transaction on Instagram versus Twitter is that Instagram is a photo-based service. Thus, in this forum it is easier for companies to display their products, whereas on the Twitter platform, potential buyers actually have to click on a link or expand the Tweet to see the product photo. Having the visual information right there only adds to the convenience factor.

So how exactly does this new technology work? Small businesses can sign up for Chirpify’s service and connect it both with Instagram and PayPal, and they are ready to go. From here, businesses are able to either post directly to Instagram or create listings from their Chirpify dashboard and then post to the Instagram app. Potential customers can then search Instagram for items for sale (via the tag #instasale), enter “buy” in the comments, and initiate the transaction. Chirpify provides documentation on both ends (with receipts for both buyer and seller), and sellers can also draw any data they need from PayPal’s transaction records as well. The account setup process is free, and then businesses pay a percentage fee per transaction.

Chirpify is a graduate of the business accelerator Upstart Labs and first launched its platform in early 2012. It is currently also poised to offer an enterprise version of these services, which includes advanced features such as promotional tools, coupon codes, and advanced reporting tools.

Source:

Campbell, Anita. “Now You Can Sell Products Via Instagram, with Chirpify.” Small Business Trends. 10/25/12.

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