No, I haven’t been at the gin.
C-commerce is all about the connected experience.
Your customers no longer want the crude and clunky online sales experience they’ve been used to. Now they want the all singing all dancing smooth experience that places the customer right in the heart of everything.
Let me explain.
The evolution of connected commerce
You can’t fail to have noticed how everything’s gone social.
Businesses are connected with their customers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social channels.
New apps are being created to make the sales process seamless for customers so they can buy when it’s convenient for them.
Take Starbuck’s nifty app that allows you to order your coffee and cake on the train into work so you can quickly pick it up the other end without having to queue for ages.
Consumers want a multi-channel sales experience these days. Therefore it’s no longer sufficient to make your eCommerce more social; you must now connect your sales machine to your social.
OK, but how do you go about creating a social storefront that’s going to appeal to your customers?
Well, creating an app that makes life easier is one thing, but you still have to maintain a relationship with the consumer to make sure their whole relationship with you is memorable.
The trust side of the equation has already been taken care of because they know you and have bought from you in the past. All you’re asking them to do is interact with you differently.
Creating a social storefront
What I’m about to tell you isn’t something that you’ve never heard before. Most of it is common sense, and you have done all of it in the past, so there are no new skills to learn.
It’s just a case of doing what you do, but with a slightly different focus. But if you get it right not only will your customers continue to buy from you, but they’ll also become loyal brand ambassadors.
There’s that word again.
It pops up everywhere.
You already know that videos and pictures are great for generating engagement through your social media channels, so it stands to reason that they’ll also work for your social storefront.
A great idea is to use the photos and videos of your customers.
Other customers will engage with them, like, comment and share them. The only thing you have to be sure of is that this marketing blends in with your native social content.
- Posting consistency
You already use social media a lot, so you know that posting high-quality content regularly boosts engagement and the more you post, the more returning visitors you’ll get.
Of course, social is a two-way conversation, which means you also have to put time into liking and commenting on your fans’ posts and monitoring the conversation.
- Analyse your data
As with every marketing strategy, it’s essential you monitor the number of likes, shares, and comments you get for each photo or video you post, so you can find out which type of content works the best and replicate it.
How should you tap into connected commerce?
The first step is to identify the networks your customers use by either asking them or if you can overlay their responses with sales data to find which networks your most profitable customers use.
Each network has different technical requirements to start selling: Google needs a live product feed that’s regularly updated; Pinterest and Facebook require that you have OpenGraph markup installed on your website (so they can retrieve product information), and Twitter has its tagging system.
You have to register with the networks, accept their terms and charges and maintain a clean record of efficient shipping and a good level of customer service to their users.
Why do you need connected commerce?
Apart from the fact that everyone else is going to be doing it?
Using a connected commerce strategy, you can cut the time you spend learning about your customers and the money they spend to get in front of your target consumers.
The impact of your social connections on buying decisions is huge. In traditional marketing, if a friend recommends something, you’re likely to buy it too. In social commerce, brands can promote customers’ tweets, or give prominence to a Facebook friend’s reviews of a brand on the social network. In some cases, new buyers don’t even need to see formal feedback; a simple “Like” could be enough to tip the scales in favour of a purchase.
If you want to stay ahead, you’ve got to keep up with the needs and wants of your consumers – and that means becoming connected.
Sally Ormond is a copywriter, enhancing her global clients’ marketing through emotionally-driven content that builds lasting relationships.