Social commerce


eCommerce has been part of your business model for quite some time now.

Over the years it has changed from a rather crude and clunky online sales experience, to an all singing all dancing smooth experience that places the customer right in the heart of everything.

Although still incredibly important, eCommerce is changing – or at least the way you get people buying.

Let me explain.

The evolution of social media

Over the past few years you’ve been getting more social.

Your business has been dabbling in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other social channels that are relevant to your customers.

You’ve spent a long time honing your social skills; posting regularly and engaging with your customers by humanising your brand.

But consumers want a multi-channel sales experience these days. Therefore it’s no longer sufficient to make your eCommerce more social, you must now move your social on so that it becomes more sales orientated.

Instead of trying to persuade your consumers to leave your social channels to go over to your eCommerce site, now you must take your eCommerce site to them.

That’s all well and good, but how do you go about creating a social storefront that’s going to appeal to your customers.

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 your asking them to do is interact with you in a slightly different way – albeit in a way that’s already familiar to them.

Creating a social storefront

What I’m about to tell you isn’t something that you’ve never head 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.

  1. Engagement

There’s that word again.

It pops up everywhere.

You already know that videos and picture are great for generating engagement through your social media channels, so it stands to reason that they’ll also work for your social storefront.

What is a great idea is to use the photos and videos of your customers.

Other customers will engagement 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 social 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 (to they can retrieve product information); and Twitter has its own tagging system.

Basically, 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 social commerce?

Apart from the fact that everyone else is going to be doing it?

Using a social 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 hugs. 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 going social.