A key goal of all eCommerce brands should be to create more streamlined customer journeys, enabling consumers to more easily browse and purchase products without having to jump through the many hoops associated with the online shopping of yesteryear. It’s natural, then, that brands would seek to integrate their eCommerce functions with social media—a popular environment for product exploration, reviews, trends, and more. Seeking to unite the two worlds is the primary motivation behind social commerce. Let’s take a look at what that looks like in a practical sense.
WHAT IS SOCIAL COMMERCE?
Social commerce refers to the selling of products through social media channels. Simple enough, right? While many brands are active on social media, using channels to drive potential customers to their eCommerce sites to make purchases and engage with products, they are not necessarily engaging in social commerce. True social commerce takes place completely on a social media platform, with customers completing orders without having to navigate to a separate site.
When we talk about social commerce, we’re talking about leveraging your social media channels as actual sales channels, enabling you to connect directly with customers and allow them to make purchases on their terms—a key component of omnichannel eCommerce.
Omnichannel eCommerce seeks to provide consumers with a consistent experience across touchpoints. By meeting your customers on their terms at their preferred touchpoints, you can provide them with the products they need, exactly when they need them. The key to omnichannel eCommerce’s success is that it tears down the walls between individual eCommerce channels. It enables you to provide customers with the same tailored, branded experience from shopping on your site that they do from, say, your mobile application or social media channels. Aligning your sales and marketing strategies across channels—including social media—creates a truly consistent brand experience, and lets your marketing team sleep easier at night.
THE BENEFITS OF SOCIAL COMMERCE
We don’t have to tell you that social media is one of the most engaging platforms for brands and consumers alike. Because of this, it lends itself naturally to eCommerce. Embracing social commerce can help your brand become more discoverable, approachable, and interactive—and lead to an increase in revenue. Let’s examine some of the key benefits of social commerce.
DELIVER PERSONALIZED ECOMMERCE EXPERIENCES
One of the most compelling draws to social media from a consumer perspective is the potential for customization. Users have the ability to create personalized feeds featuring brands they appreciate and choose to engage with. Social media represents a highly-curated experience for users—and a wealth of consumer data available to merchants.
Using this data, you can easily target specific buyer personas, pushing relevant products directly to their feeds. Social commerce lets you deliver targeted products directly to relevant customers, and allows them to make purchases without having to navigate to another site. Buyer journeys don’t get more streamlined than that.
REACH A READY AND WILLING AUDIENCE
According to a recent Facebook survey, 80% of respondents say they use Instagram to decide whether to buy a product or service. That’s a pretty compelling statistic. Customers are clearly coming to social media as part of their product research process. So why not meet them there? Social media represents so much more than a marketing tool. It’s an opportunity to turn awareness and engagement into revenue.
ACHIEVE TRUE OMNICHANNEL ECOMMERCE
According to Aspect Software, businesses that adopt an omnichannel strategy achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates when compared to businesses that use more traditional sales and marketing strategies. Implementing social commerce is vital to a successful omnichannel approach. Brands looking to benefit from an omnichannel approach can see improved customer retention and revenue growth thanks to seamlessly connected eCommerce touchpoints—social media included.
TYPES OF SOCIAL COMMERCE
This refers to social commerce that occurs on a social network, like Facebook or Instagram. The “Buy on Instagram” feature is a prime example of this type of social commerce. Brands can easily tag products in posts that customers can tap to purchase and complete the checkout process, all within the app. Instagram even allows users to create “Wish Lists” of interesting products that they can return to at any time to complete a purchase.
Chatbots have become an integral part of customer support strategies for digitally-native eCommerce brands. But they can also be a powerful tool for sales as well. Take Facebook’s popular Messenger application for example. It can be implemented into your Facebook profile to serve as a direct communication channel for consumers, and also be used to make purchases. Chat-based social commerce channels serve not only as channels through which your customers can ask questions about products, orders, etc., but also as opportunities to sell products directly—as well as upsell and cross sell.
BOOST CONVERSIONS BY EMBRACING SOCIAL COMMERCE
At Codal, We’ve designed and developed in the eCommerce space for over a decade, so we’ve seen the potential benefits social media can offer inventive brands. Beyond being a component of a solid eCommerce marketing strategy, social commerce can drive revenue for your brand. More and more consumers are turning to social media to research, browse, and review products. And as eCommerce continues to grow in popularity, users are beginning to expect commerce-like experiences from social platforms.
Savvy brands have embraced functionality offered by platforms like Facebook and Instagram to essentially set up digital storefronts embedded into their social profiles. This provides a streamlined customer journey and an intuitive experience. Social commerce is about more than just reaching a large audience. It’s about meeting your customers on their own terms—and having the products they need be easily accessible.
Connect with Codal today to learn more about how your brand can leverage social media to boost conversions, generate sales, and bring in more revenue.