Today, social media is not just for staying connected and sharing ideas. It is helping businesses expand their customer base without sparing a very high budget for marketing. The term Social Commerce is used to refer to sales that result from prospective customers interacting with a brand on social media. This can happen when someone purchases directly on social media or when someone reaches a website via the social channels.

Though Yahoo introduced the term about ten years ago by but it is only recently that the concept has become popular. The thing that has changed with social media over the years is the presence of a ‘buy’ button on the social media page itself. Earlier, the page would direct the customer to an external site but now they can just click the button and buy the product from the social networking site. eCommerce site owners can witness this change in the social commerce revenues. According to records, in 2014 alone, the social commerce sales for top 500 businesses in US and Canada increased by about 26% which translates to roughly $3.3 billion. It seems like a small amount but the rate of growth is very high. By the end of year 2018, social commerce revenues may go up to $491 billion in the US alone.

social commerce sales for top 500

Becoming social commerce savvy

As a newbie in the world of social commerce, eCommerce website owners might feel a little lost. There are a number of sites for social networking which makes it impossible to be present on all of them. What you need to do is to find the sites frequented by your customers.  Once you make your presence felt on these channels, there are high chances of converting their likes into revenue. People have accounts on multiple sites but as a business owner, you might not be able to spare time for engaging them on all the sites. The solution then is to target only as many as you can spend time on and provide the best service that you can.

Social Commerce: Things to Do on Social Media

The business owners and eCommerce application developers have become serious about social commerce. Conducting business on social media exposes you on many fronts. To establish yourself on this platform requires skills that are a little different from what the traditional business sense says. Some things that are a must do are:

Establish yourself through social proof

The Internet has an answer for everything. When you wish to buy a product, you can look at reviews and recommendations. Positive reviews swing the customer’s decision in your favor. To establish yourself, ask your customers to leave a review or a feedback on the purchase. According to statistics, 67% customers are influenced by online reviews. Encouraging reviews and feedbacks lead to word-of-mouth marketing which is better than any marketing strategy to spread brand awareness. The website and mobile app owners should recognize the importance of user feedback collection.

Create an environment conducive for shopping

What you can do differently with social commerce that is difficult in traditional marketing is customizing the user experience. Attract customers by showing them only things they are interested in. 40% of the customers prefer to buy from those who can personalize their shopping experience. With the use of technology, you can keep a track of what the customer has been browsing for on similar sites and then customize the site. You will need to ensure that the personalization is same irrespective of the platform on which the customer is browsing.

Focus on customer care

On social media, it is impossible to hide things. If some of your customers had some bad experience, its highly probable that they would use social media to highlight it. To counter this, establish a dedicated customer care cell. Focus on positive as well as negative queries. In fact, you need to focus more on the negative ones so as to send a message to others that even if there are some problems, the company resolves them and they are not ignored.

Some techniques that have worked

To make your company and products stand out on the social media is not a mean task. The competition will be tough so you will have to put in extra effort to be on the top. When a customer has the option of buying a similar product on many sites, the chances of conversion reduce. This is why you need to add the ‘exclusive’ factor to your product. You can even showcase some products for a limited time or offer a flash sale only for social media subscribers. The idea is to push customers into clicking the buy button by creating a sense of missing out on something that is really worth it.

When Coke launched the ‘Share-a-Coke’ campaign, it printed popular names on the bottle instead of the Coke logo. The hashtag #ShareACoke was displayed on the bottle to encourage the drinkers to post their pictures on the social media. This was a different take on the way social media can influence our lives.

Share-a-Coke' campaign

Source – Wikimedia

At ShoeDazzle, the customer has a personal stylist experience. The site curates handbags and shoes and takes into account changes in trends. A first time customer has to take a small quiz and based on the answers, the site sends weekly suggestions. AHALife, another online shop, lets customers move with the curator and buy products. In both these cases, social commerce has taken online shopping experience to a whole new level.