Social media is one of the most promising platforms in the world today. It connects people with one another, bridging the gaps of geographical distance no matter what. While social media is an excellent platform to get in touch with one another, and establish new connections, it has other perks as well. Today, it has turned into a platform where it is bridging the gap between the sellers and customers. Welcome the world of social commerce.
With the advent of ecommerce, customers have found an altogether new convenience in shopping. They no longer require to lift heavy shopping bags or wait in the long queues for the billing and the best part is that they can get the same goods by sitting at their homes. All they have to do is browse the brand’s website and checkout with their favourite products. The entire experience of shopping in retail stores is replication online, only with added perks.
With social media however, the entire experience of shopping online is taken to a different level. As a customer you don’t just go to the platform to make connections but also to make purchases. And for sellers this can be an excellent option.
The idea is that online shopping does bring convenience and help the customer in many ways. But it also involves a complex series of tasks such as the unnecessary steps in the conversion funnel. Having said that, it is one of the biggest reasons that customers abandon their carts.
Cart abandonments are the biggest problem in ecommerce. This is where the customer adds the products in the cart for placing the order, but instead abandons it. This hurts your business. On the other hand, with social commerce in the picture, such risks are reduced by a significant amount. This is because the checkout is simplified to a great extent in social commerce.
As a seller chances are that you might be fascinated with the use of tech for your store. You’ll add a few fancy plugins and take every step to make your website wholesome. But, in this process, it is easy to forget the real aim of ecommerce. So, here it is!
For a successful online business, you only need these elements. We’re cutting it down to the bare necessities-
- A good product that solves the problem of your customers
- The ultimate streamlined and narrowed down purchase journey of the customer
All the other things you add sure do enhance the selling experience, but it also comes at a cost. With social commerce, you deliver the required selling experience in a seamless manner. That too without the downsides. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? If you want to take your business efforts to the next level, we’re here to help you. Read on to find out everything about social commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
Social media is one of the biggest platforms for people to spend time over the Internet. And when this platform steps into the world of shopping, imagine the opportunities it brings with it. For this reason, you can spot many of the top brands in the world stepping into the world of social commerce. As a simple fact of the matter, here what you should remember when it comes to the buzz word of social commerce-
- For almost anything that you sell, you have an audience on social media platforms
- Your audience on the social media are eagerly looking to purchase the products you have to offer
So, the next time you go to a social media website, you don’t just accept friend requests or connect with people. You sell!
Here are some of the mind blowing social media statistics that will help you make this decision-
- The social media platform Facebook alone has more than 1.47 users who are active almost every single day
- More than 30 percent of the people who shop online say that they would prefer to purchase from popular social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter among others.
- Almost 60 percent of the users on Instagram love to find new products to purchase on the platform. This makes complete sense to them to go ahead and sell the products as well.
- One on one chat applications like Messenger are driving sales heavily as compared to old school marketing methods like the email.
If you’re still scratching your heads over the term social commerce, it simply means selling directly through the popular social media networks. The idea is to make the entire process of selling to the customer less complicated. In addition to this, it also reduces the number of steps in the process taken to complete a purchase.
Is Social Commerce Same as Social Media Marketing?
When you first hear about social commerce, it is possible that you confuse it with social media marketing. But, it widely differs from the latter. No doubt that in both the processes you leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and others to enhance your business. However, the process to make a sale widely differs.
In social media marketing, your ultimate goal is to drive purchase through your website or profile on the marketplace. your efforts on social media are to purely redirect the customers to your website. Therefore, all that the customers see on the platform are some advertisements that ultimately lead them out of the social media platform they are currently on. They reach your store and then ecommerce goes on as usual. For the longest amount of time, this has been one of the most effective ways to sell products and drive conversions. This was the story of marketing using social media platforms.
Let’s come to social commerce now. Social commerce is the process where you don’t redirect the user out of the social media platform. Instead what you do is provide an ability to checkout on the platform directly. In this process, you are directly leveraging the network’s ability.
Social commerce is better than the usual way you sell in many ways. Not only does it streamline the entire selling process but also impress both the seller and buyer with features like autofill for payment, chatbot checkouts and more.
The idea is that most ecommerce websites are difficult to understand and purchase with. No matter what you’re selling if you are creating a website for it, it will be a new experience for the customer. Moreover, it will also be something they are not familiar with. As a result, when you provide the option to checkout on social media platforms, you have a massive advantage over ecommerce websites.
People looking for a particular product can find it easily on social media. And because they know and are familiar with the platform, checking out will be super easy. In addition to this, if they want to get in touch with the seller, they are just one text away on the messenger. We’ll talk more about the benefits of social commerce in later sections. But, for now, consider the experience as the ‘Buy Now’ button at Amazon. Remember how speedily does the entire checkout process take place when you click the button? That’s what social commerce is all about!
Why is Social Commerce Important?
Social Commerce is important due to various reasons. It works wonderfully with the customers because ultimately shopping is nothing more than a social activity. Therefore, the traditional processes that unnecessarily create delays in checkout need to be removed.
When you sell via social media networks, the friction in the process of selling is reduced to a great extent. For most of the customers the process is pretty much automated, where they don’t have to enter their information repeatedly.
Expanded Reach to New Markets
Social media platforms give you the flexibility to expand your reach. When you sell on Facebook, iNstagram and other platforms, you already have access to a wide audience. All you gave to do is present them with a good experience with your products.
Greater Buzz and Excitement for Products
When you provide the ability to purchase products instantly, you create high anticipation about your products. Your customers easily get excited about products and make purchases without a second thought.
Meet Customer Needs
Social commerce is easier to get familiar with the customer. When you sell on the platform, you meet the needs of the customer in a much better manner. This is because you have the power of analytics by your side. With analytics you get to know about your target customers and how they are responding to your products. This can help you incorporate key strategies for selling effectively.
Start by streamlining your ecommerce store. And social commerce is the best way to do that. With directly selling on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, you reduce unnecessary steps that often lead to cart abandonments. Alternatively, you have an excellent platform where you get the customer excited about your products and provide an option of instant purchase.
Reach Out to the Customer Directly
With features like Messenger chat, you can directly reach out to the customer. Similarly, if the customer has any doubt about your product or service, they can ask you questions without waiting or going through a hassled process.
Create a Personalized Customer Experience
Social media platforms like Facebook have a lot of personalized features for your customers. With retargeting, you can improve the reach of your advertisements and better target your customers.
A Trusted Channel
Social media is obviously amre familiar platform for your customers. When you sell here, you are not only providing an excellent platform to shop for your customers, but also the one they can trust.
What are the DIfferent Types of Social Commerce?
Now that you are familiar with social commerce and the way it works, let’s move on. We’re taking you through the types of social commerce you can leverage for your business. Social commerce can happen through one or more ways for your business. It mostly depends on your platforms and the audience. So, while we recommend you to try all of these, make sure you test these options before setting on any one.
One of the fastest ways that you will make sales is through chat apps. In social commerce that is one of the most exclusive provisions. When you sell on Facebook, the chat application provides you more than a few opportunities to make good enough sales for your business. This means that when your customers check out your products or posts on your social media profile, you provide them with an option to chat with them on social media. This means that people can ask anything about a product or your brand. Contrary to the usual ecommerce experience, they won’t have to wait for a long duration.
Another type of social commerce enablers is electronic payments. In fact they are the newest trends that are enabling shopping online for customers. Electronic payment options on social media websites enable the customers to make payments on the go. The customers no longer have to go through an extensive checkout process to purchase their favourite product. All they have to do is click the payment option built in the social media website itself. And since most of the customers today love to shop from their mobile phones, electronic payments through social media websites facilitate convenience. Platforms such as Facebook especially have their own payment systems that further enables ease of social commerce. Facebook’s electronic payment method facebook Pay helps sellers sell effectively on the platform. The best part is that it also controls the social shopping experience.
Forums and Groups
One of the most popular types of social commerce happens through forums and groups. Before the wave of social commerce actually swept the world of ecommerce, buyers and sellers had other ways to get in touch. Many of them formed and reached out to each other through the medium of groups on social media platforms. These groups allow the sellers to showcase their products through images and posts, where the price and other details are mentioned. When buyers look at these products and find them interesting, they go ahead to purchase them. The only key is to make your products look attractive and have a punchline to go with them. So, if your group posts scream ‘PURCHASE NOW’, you’re likely to attract a lot of buyers. The most popular groups today are those on Facebook.
Social Media Stories
Last but not the least, one of the popular types of social commerce are social media stories. Since audio and video are making one of the most popular types of content, they are engaging people. And therefore, it provides an excellent opportunity for social commerce. Short videos and graphics are appealing to the eye and convey a message in the shortest amount of time. Having said that, you must have observed the popularity of Reels on social media. With attractive stories on social media, sellers have the opportunity to use product tags. So, when a customer taps on your product, they get directed to the link where they can make a purchase.
How Common is Social Commerce?
Social Commerce is the next big thing in ecommerce selling. It has already begun to shape the future of online selling. Every year the net worth of sales being generated from social commerce is increasing at an exponential rate. Since the number of social media users are increasing on various platforms, the scale of opportunities is also increasing for sellers.
Statistics suggest that today there are as many as 200 million active users on various social media platforms. This number is also expected to grow to 370 million by the year 2022. Furthermore, 28 percent of the millennial customers purchase products due to social media recommendations. And it is 63 percent of them that stay updated about a brand through social media itself.
Another leg of social commerce, popularly known as influencer marketing has increased as much as 300 percent since 2018 on the search engine Google.
Most of the customer demands on social media are of the product categories cosmetics and beauty products. Other than that, food, beverage and groceries are also popular when it comes to social commerce.
Today social commerce has become one of the most widely used methods of selling. Most online sellers who are selling on one or more platforms are also exploring the methods of social commerce. The most popular reason behind this is the availability of social media users. With growing time, people go to social media websites not only to communicate with each other. But, they also go to make purchases. Customers are aware of the fact that many regional sellers prefer selling on social media. This gives them a big opportunity to get their hands on the best products available.
On the other hand, for sellers, selling on social media is risk free. They don’t have to invest in anything. Yet they reap the benefits of online selling. Therefore, social commerce is becoming more and more popular with small and regional sellers.
How Social Commerce Can Help You Drive Sales?
Now that you have a fair idea about social commerce, let’s move on. Remember that the ulterior motive of social commerce is to make sales. Obviously you need to begin by engaging your audience, but at the same time you also need to make sure that they warm up for the purchase. In other words, leverage social commerce to boost your sales. And here’s how-
Fewer Barriers to Shopping Online
In social commerce, the entire shopping experience is pretty easy. If you compare it to a website, the entire experience seems hassle free. When customers shop from a website, there are more than a few steps to take. For example, they might need to use the search bar to look up the keywords for the products they want to purchase. Then, they will have to add the product to the cart, create an account and more. In other words, the checkout process has several steps to complete. All of this takes time. But, in social commerce, when you sell on platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc. all of this is cut down. The customers don’t need to go through a lot of pages to purchase their products. With a limited number of products, research time is cut down. And unwanted shopping obstacles are ruled out.
Explore Newer Markets
When you want to boost your sales, you’ve got to enter new territories. Unless you have new customers who can purchase from you, driving sales can be tough. With social commerce, you get to explore new territories. This means that you can advance in markets you never thought before. Platforms like Facebook allow you to do unparalleled targeting and have plenty of testing features that you can leverage. This can speed up your entry to new markets and lets you make the most of your social commerce. Remember that customers come to the social media platforms to not just connect with each other. They also want to find new products and make purchases.
Generate Buzz for Your Brand and Products
Shopping is no less than a social phenomenon. It is where the customers engage with the brand. The typical shopping phenomenon leads to customers searching for the product. When they land on the store website, they want to engage and know the brand first. It is only after that they make a purchase. With social commerce this process is eased. In other words, social commerce can help you drive sales by generating buzz for your brand. You can showcase the products directly to the customers. This way, they will have a major fear of missing out and make your customers even more interested in your products.
Streamline Your Stores
If there is one thing that social commerce is exceptionally good at, it is analytics. For every little thing that your customers do, there is a record in social analytics. Right from checking out your products to knowing who purchases what, you can know everything. This means that you precisely get to know who your customers are. Alternatively, this also means that you need to pick out the products that you want to sell. This means being selective about what you offer your customers on the social media platform.when you have data to back up your choices, you make better decisions.
Pave Way for a Personalized Experience
Personalization lies at the heart of sales. So, if you want to boost sales, use social commerce to offer your customers a personalized experience. One of the best ways to do it is to leverage retargeting ads on Facebook. If you have customers that didn’t come back for a purchase, use retargeting ads on them. But, make sure that you don’t make your customers land on pages where they didn’t convert. Instead dive into personalization from social analytics, and target customers with the products they are looking forward to buying. Using this you can also improve on your ads and increase the efficiency of your post reach.
10 Best Social Commerce Strategies for Your Online Business
If you want to make successful sales using social commerce, you also need a robust strategy. Start with the following recommendations-
Understand Your Target Audience
The first strategy for your social commerce plan can be to understand your customers. If you don’t understand them well enough, you cannot cater to their needs. The best trick to winning the customer’s heart is to give them what they ask for. Understand what it is that the customers want from your brand. If they are looking for a specific type of content, you need to cater to them right away. Similarly, if you know that you have a certain age group of people following you, you need to have more products or content that appeals to them.
Engage More on Social Media
The first rule of social media strategy is to focus on engagement. Your customers will probably not purchase from you until you offer them some engagement. In other words, brands that keep their customers engaged are able to retain them. Understand it this way, engagement is directly related to warming up for purchase. But, it doesn’t end here. With so many social media platforms out there, you need to know where your customers want to spend their time the most. On the right social media platform, you need to target the customer the right way according to their age, gender and preferences.
Consider Cross-Channel Strategies
Social commerce concept works best in a cross channel approach. A cross channel approach is the one where you provide a consistent experience to your customers across all channels. It means that even though you exist on a different selling platform, you need to create a consistent experience for your customers. This serves your customers in many ways. First, it establishes reliability across multiple channels. Second it enables customers to connect with you using different touchpoints. At the end of the day, you are ultimately enabling the customer to complete the same purchase from different platforms, as and when they like.
Nurture the Relationship
If you want to really get your name out there, you need to start valuing your customers. In other words, nurture your relationship with your customer. Adopt a customer focused approach and initiate a dialog with your customers, as you do so, pay attention to the communication methods that your customers prefer. This way, you will be able to reach out to them where they want to hear from you. Start by taking the small steps. Once you know where to get started, engage in conversations and have discussions with your customers.
Communicate and Be Transparent
Most ecommerce sellers fail to get the magic out of social media because they are not regular. On the other hand, if you are consistent and communicate with your customers on a regular basis, the situation will be vice versa. Start by replying to their comments, addressing their queries and celebrating with them. If there’s a festival, be the one to wish your customers. Similarly, try to form a community where your customers find a sense of belonging.
Offer Quality Content
In the race of establishing yourself on social media, don’t compromise on the quality. With a huge competition out there, it won’t take time for your customers to switch to someone else. In other words, if you compromise on the quality remember that there are more than a few options for your customers. Therefore, even if you post less, make sure that it is of quality. Share actual experiences and tell stories. You need to connect with your customers at an emotional level if you want to leave an impression on them. Add value in all means that you can. This will also earn you a lot of followers.
Don’t Push Commerce Too Much
Remember that social commerce has two parts to it. One of which is social, while the other is certainly commerce. But, most sellers get the first part. All they utilize the platform for is to sell their products. But, in this process the human part of the sale vanishes out of the scene. You don’t want your customers to feel like they’re buying out of a vending machine. Instead, work on the social part of social media for greater impact. This you can do by engaging with your customers and saying yes to human experiences.
Create a Long Term Plan
Make sure you have a long term plan for your social media. Create campaigns with a vision in mind. This means start creating a monthly plan with the desirable theme. Your customers would want you to plan your efforts so that it does create an impact. If you keep on creating content all over the place, it might not make that much of a difference. Right form content management to planning of multiple channels and managing a community, make the most of it with effective planning.
Address Service Related Issue
Social media can also be an excellent platform to address your customer’s queries. Remember that when your customers are purchasing products from you, they might have a few issues. For example, they might want to return products, ask for faster shipping, know more about your products and more. As a seller who leverages social commerce, you have to reach out to customers for these issues. Make sure their queries are answered, if you want to be known as a reliable brand.
Rely on Data
One of the best strategies for social commerce, is to rely on data. Remember that when you sell on these platforms, you have more than ample data to make a decision. You get to know who your customers are, what they want, how they want it and what is their response to your strategies. Make sure you make any decision in the light of these analytics. The times are long gone when business sussed to make a decision based on intuition. today, the market runs on data.
What are the Future Trends in Social Commerce?
Now that you are prepared with the strategies for social commerce, here’s the next part. Follow the upcoming trends in social commerce-
- Leverage User generated content
- Go low budget
- Live streaming is customer’s favourite
- Say yes to chatbots
- Leverage AI and Machine learning to the rescue
- Take a cue from voice technology
- Make the best of augmented reality
With social commerce by your side, you directly enhance your selling prospects. Since the trends in the market are changing, social commerce is no longer an option. Instead, it has become a necessity that you should be leveraging at all costs. Make sure you opt for the right shipping partner that amplifies your selling efforts. With Dash101 Logistics, you get to make the most of your business as you ship at the lowest costs starting Rs 23/500 gms. Leverage the power of 8+ courier partners from a single platform!
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