The Rise of The Social Seller

The ticket for entry in becoming an online retailer has never been more accessible. One after another, companies like WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, and Instagram have brought the brilliant operations of Big Box Retailers to makers, side hustlers and early stage founders alike.

Starting at $99 per month, you’ll be able to use the classic Sandbox Commerce platform to design and launch your app within a week.

This variety of great vendors and their abilities to meet any sized business’ goals has ushered in a golden age of e-commerce. It’s hard to talk to anyone in your social circle who doesn’t have some kind of e-commerce side-hustle that they juggle between their 9-to-5 day job. These hustlers have grown incredibly talented at growing organic social media campaigns and leveraging social networks to accelerate their business to a point were their day job isn’t looking so tempting anymore.

As the Head of Growth at Sandbox Commerce, I spend 80% of my day communicating with online brands and retailers. Traditionally I focused on ‘medium to large’ folks, but the social seller kept showing up on my radar in a more frequent occurrence each day. After collecting swaths of customer feedback, Sandbox Commerce is excited to announce  SandBox Commerce for Social Sellers tier of our platform.

Starting at $99 per month, you’ll be able to use the classic Sandbox Commerce platform to design and launch your app within a week. You’ll have the option to launch on either iOS or the Android marketplace and have access to key features like of push notifications to let your entire audience to engage your audience with in stock notifications and and exclusive sales that increase your ROI.

We’re excited to add another tool to the toolbox for the social seller and get them one step closer to competing with the big shots. We’ll be launching the all new Social Seller tier on May 15th, but you can sign up for early access here.

Introducing SandBox Commerce Engage

Actionable data” is one of those phrases that you’ve likely seen being tossed around in online digital marketing forums but haven’t had the time to really understand what it means to you and your business. From Google Analytics to Facebook for Business to Intercom;  a ton of tools promise to provide insights that help brands and retailers better understand who their customers are, but few actually provide the tools that a small/midsize business needs to deliver the ROI without hiring a third-party consultant. One proven tool that online retailers and digital agencies seem to underutilize today is the power of push notifications.

Take a moment to envision a sleek mobile app for your store that properly represents your brand, more than pays for itself and is custom built to increase engagement with your most loyal customers  – extending their relationship with your brand and encouraging them to shop more on the go.

Sandbox Commerce is tailor-made for mid-size retailers and digital marketing teams who have limited time and even smaller budgets to leverage actionable data from multiple touch-points to increase engagement with their most loyal shoppers.

Global brands and retailers in nearly every vertical have been leveraging the power of push notifications for years, employing actionable data to send more personalized advertisement, invitations, and calls to action to their shoppers on the go. Until recently a midsize retailer would need to pony up more than $250K to build an app that would allow them to experiment with push notifications which for many was frankly a non-starter.

These global brands and retailers have proven that engaging their shoppers in an effective and succinct way is critical to long-term success. Using push notifications, online retailers can instantly fill their most loyal customers in on newly restocked inventory or promotions that they’re running for a limited time. In addition, retailers may segment users by region and then notify local shoppers about pop-up shops that they’re activating. The possibilities become endless when you pair the power of push notifications with a sound communications strategy.

Sandbox Commerce is tailor-made for mid-size retailers and digital marketing teams who have limited time and even smaller budgets to leverage actionable data from multiple touch-points to increase engagement with their most loyal shoppers. We recently worked with over 3 dozen brands and retailers to launch our one of a kind Engagement Dashboard – A tool that’s laser-like focused on helping founders and marketing teams increase revenue using actionable data that larger brands and retailers have been leveraging for years! We’re currently offering free trials for a limited time. Reach out to me if you’d like an invitation.

What I’m Asked Series: What is the Difference Between Responsive Web and Native Apps?

In this aptly titled recurring series, ‘What I’m Asked’ I try to give a high-level understanding of some of e-commerce more complicated questions.

My name is Alec Boyd and I’m the Head of Growth at Sandbox Commerce. Most of my day is spent chatting with e-commerce business from a variety of sizes. Whether I’m chatting with a Chief Marketing Officer or a business owner who is trying to quit their 9-5, the question of ‘What’s the difference between responsive web and native apps?’ always comes up.

Native Apps

Native apps are the easier of the two to grasp. We all have apps on our phones and understand that they live on our phone, have their own icons. They also have their own OS and are designed to work on a specific device – this usually results in a safer transaction and better user UI. We’ll dive into more of the pros and cons momentarily.

Responsive Web

To get started, let’s get a table stakes understanding of what ‘reactive web’ is. Responsive websites are designed to automatically adapt to any screen size. Whether a user pulls up your site on a 27″ monitor or their phone, the website will adapt and scale to display your website.

As e-commerce began to shift towards mobile, it didn’t take long for retailers to realize that they had to adapt. Those who weren’t willing to would be left behind as their competitors grabbed a larger market share.

The Good

Responsive web became a very popular option for a single reason…. price. Retailers found making a great responsive website justifiable in comparison to the hefty cost of native app development. Traditionally native app development starts around $150k and 6 months of development.

The Bad

Lagging: Responsive websites tend to have poor performance. Images and animations are too heavy. Connection speeds and phone performances can really exacerbate the issue too.

Navigation: Responsive web also lacks natural navigation. iOS and Android users have different navigations and UI’s. Responsive web can get close, but it will never feel completely natural for shoppers.

The Ugly

Push Notifications: Responsive web will never have the ability to send push notifications. Some of our greatest success stories have been from savvy marketers making push notifications a powerful call the action. Responsive web will never be able to interact with users outside of their browser – when everyone is fighting for engagement, it’s hard to not see the advantage

Security: When a shopper connects to a responsive webpage through a browser, they’re exposed to trackers and other liabilities associated with public connections. Native apps offer a much more secure shopping experience. The user connects directly to the business without intervention from 3rd parties.

Conclusion

At a quick glance, responsive web and native apps don’t seem like they have many differences, but once you dive into functionalities – native apps are the clear winner.

It was understandable when medium-sized retailers couldn’t justify such a hefty cost to build out their own app. Sandbox Commerce has created an easy way for all sizes of retailers to design and launch their own app and avoid the hefty upfront cost. The list of reasons to ignore native apps is shrinking…