As someone who shops online, quite frequently and has more number of shopping apps on her phone than IM apps, I have come to believe that social commerce is key to deciding whether I will be bringing that shopping cart home or not. Most of my day is spent scrolling through my social media platforms and engaging in conversations online, owing to my job. As a by-product of this ritual, I am exposed to a myriad of ads and almost 70% of these ads have something to do with an e-commerce platform. To satisfy my curiosity, I end up visiting these platforms and exploring them more often than not. Subconsciously, I have found myself visiting the social media channels of these platforms to understand the kind of brands they are. This could be innate to me considering I am heavily invested in marketing myself.

Nonetheless, as a potential customer of these e-commerce platforms, I do an extensive research on these platforms and end up stalking all of their social media assets before I decide to shop or place an order. And this, my friends, is nothing but Social Commerce.

Social Commerce uses social networks to aid e-commerce transactions. If you are running an e-commerce business, your job doesn’t end with setting up the website and enabling purchases online, it also includes ensuring that as a business that is trying to make lives easier for people, you engage in conversations with your customers and let them know you understand them and their needs. This results in creating a wholesome shopping experience for them and also encourages repeat purchase. You need to join the conversation and understand the state of play. Brand loyalty can be built only if you add value as a business and this can happen through customer retention strategies, identifying new opportunities to stand out on social media and use creative methods to convert your visitors into customers and once that happens, you need to keep them engaged if you want to see that repeat order coming in.

When you look at the recent social commerce trends, you can see the extent to which they impact the customer decision-making process. With each day that passes by, online relationships with customers are becoming more and more personal. As a brand, your key stake is in the minds of your customers and if you are able to get there, consider yourself successful. Brands who understand the importance of social commerce are able to leverage this and end up with increased sales. Here are a few tips that might help you stay ahead in the social commerce game –

 

  • Go Insta : With Instagram gaining such heavy momentum and becoming the most popular social media channel, if your brand is still not present on it, then you’re already losing points. Stay visually driven, genuine and most importantly, stay relevant to your users/customers.
  • Identify Influencers who can be your brand champions : It is not mandatory for you to sign up with a celebrity to endorse your brand. You can choose to keep it simple, real and relatable and go after real people with a strong social network and identify them as champions for your brand. Nothing sells better than real experiences! Word of mouth quotient is astoundingly high when it comes to purchase patterns. Identify micro influencers and bring them on-board to vouch for your brand.
  • Pinteresting Much? Don’t underestimate the impact of Pinterest on your customers. Online shopping is an ongoing process and most of the times, the idea to buy something pops from Pinterest. 88% of the users in Pinterest tend to save pins while they are looking for something specific to buy. Pinterest is more than just a platform where people collect ideas and create boards, it’s an arena for people to curate, collect and buy. Brands who get this ensure that they make the most of the ‘context-based search functionality’ in order to create a seamless product discovery experience for users.
  • User generated Facebook ads : Facebook still holds a huge share when it comes to advertising on social media and with the new algorithms and innovative features in place, brands need to be on top of their game to grab the attention of their customers. Instead of opting for a typical branded ad, switch to content that is real. Instead of showcasing premeditated ads with carefully crafted messages, try showcasing real customer experiences and promote that to your potential customers. You’d be surprised to find out how that works in your favour!

 

The original article can be found here : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-commerce-2018-lalitha-shukla/