Many companies are still making the transition from traditional retail to online shopping, even in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
While it’s not a new concept to sell products only online, a new kind of shopping online is gaining popularity and altering the way consumers look for and buy products on the web. It’s called “social commerce,” and it’s changing the way businesses interact with their clients significantly.
Global social ecommerce sales topped $500 billion in 2020, and predictions for the future show strong growth.
While social commerce has only been around for a short time in the United States, companies in China and India have known for a long time about the power of social media to expand their market and sell more of their products. The e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, for instance, has amassed over 500,000 members on Pinterest by posting photographs with clickable links to various products (such as apparel, home goods, and food).
Businesses should think about adapting their online marketing tactics to take advantage of the rising tide of social commerce.
A definition of social commerce
The term “social commerce” refers to the practise of advertising and buying and selling goods and services through social media.
Social media marketing has been around for a while, but social commerce is all about making sales using people’s favourite apps. As a result, social commerce provides a novel approach for companies to combine social media interaction with online shopping, letting customers buy things the very second they learn about them.
There was a time when consumers who wanted to buy something online had to go directly to the company’s main website, create an account, search for the product they wanted, and then complete the transaction through a traditional shopping cart and checkout process.
This cumbersome procedure may cause the customer to lose interest in making a purchase because it adds extra steps and takes too much time.
Exactly what forms of social commerce exist?
The phrase “social commerce” is somewhat broad, as it includes many distinct types of online social shopping.
What you’re selling and who you want to buy it will determine how you should market your brand.
Product selection guided on consumer reviews
Customers often base their final decision on what others have said about a product or service.
With the help of review websites like Yelp, users can give public feedback on local establishments and give them ratings out of five stars. Businesses have to work hard to maintain their good name in the face of even a small number of unfavourable reviews, so they should give their customers nothing but the best service possible.
Internet retailers like Amazon have taken this a step further by enabling customer reviews of all products offered for sale; negative ratings may be easily hidden from search results.
Making videos with your other users
When it comes to presenting new companies or items to online communities, online celebrities and influencers have tremendous sway.
Even when other digital marketing methods, such as pay-per-click (PPC) commercials or email marketing, fail to connect with a target audience, brief films made by genuine, influential people can help.
Examples of social commerce include customer-created videos reviewing items or brand mentions in Facebook feeds, both of which demonstrate how a lot of buzz can be produced about your firm, particularly if it comes from an influencer with an already-existing fan network.
In addition, Amazon shoppers may view related products below each product description to see what else is popular with buyers.
Etsy is another well-known online retailer venturing into the realm of social commerce. Customers on Etsy may see the brands their friends enjoy and the kinds of items they buy by searching for them using the “people” filter.
Exactly what characteristics define social e-commerce?
Online shopping has revolutionised the relationship between consumers and businesses.
New social elements on applications now attempt to offer a more community-based user experience as opposed to the sometimes solitary nature of traditional internet purchasing. Here are the three most prominent characteristics of social commerce seen in current platforms.
Involvement of the Consumer
One of the most noticeable features of social commerce is its emphasis on fostering participation in local communities, given that this is what it is designed to sell.
Product reviews, shareable content, and interactive features are all examples of customer feedback that strengthen relationships between brands and their target audiences.
While issuing a TikTok challenge is one method to get people talking about your company online, another option is to host a photo or video contest where people can show off their artistic chops and tell interesting tales about their experience with your product or service.
Media that can be shopped
Customers can also browse through portfolios of shoppable photos of products, a feature shared by many online ecommerce platforms and websites.
When a user clicks on an image to learn more about it, they have the option of proceeding to the app’s shopping cart or the business’s website to finalise the purchase.
Amazon Live is a perfect illustration of how marketers can use interactive content to improve consumers’ purchasing experiences.
Customers may quickly add items to their carts without leaving Amazon’s website, opening a new tab, or entering any personal information on a third-party site because Amazon uses its own built-in, centralised checkout system.
Shoppable live streams allow influencers to showcase a variety of products while also providing viewers with easy access to the items showcased.
With built-in chitchat features
Customers on today’s most popular social e-commerce platforms can interact with one another and the platform’s influencers via group chat as they purchase live.
In addition, some companies provide helpful chatbot support powered by AI to respond to frequently asked queries, help customers find specific goods, or direct them to relevant information in a company’s knowledge centre. The data gleaned through these tools can tell you a lot about your consumers’ mindsets, shopping habits, and the kinds of roadblocks that may be preventing you from making more sales.