Sceptical of the impact of social commerce? Experts say that you can grow revenue, create lasting impressions and drive brand loyalty when social is leveraged correctly.
In a world engulfed in digital noise and with more and more consumers opting to shop online, you’re probably finding it increasingly challenging when it comes to growing revenue. Even if you’re maintaining a sound presence on the social networks, are you actually able to convert your virtual interactions with customers into sales? If you’re not, you’re losing turnover to businesses that do.
In a recent report on Venturebeat.com, it’s argued that as social media channels and instant messaging applications become the go-to place for consumers to spend their online time, more and more organisations will be looking to reduce friction in the buying process by integrating social commerce. Adding a ‘Buy Now’ button on your social media channels and even on your newsletters and emailers can go a long way in making the sale, but you need to be strategic about how you go about enticing consumers to spend with you. Simply throwing resources (mainly money) at social isn’t the answer.
So, there’s no time like the present to ramp up your social media and digital activities to grow sales this year, but there are five trends to keep top of mind as you become part of the social commerce boom. These are the top five tips on trends, from SocialMediaExplorer.com, to help you on your path to social commerce domination:
1. Don’t underestimate the power of customer reviews
Senior contributor to SocialMediaExplorer.com, Jawad Khan says that ‘social’ is making a huge impact on the way people purchase things online. “A study by Hubspot shows that people are 75% more likely to purchase a product when referred by a friend on a social network. In general, over 90% of people take brand recommendations from friends and 70% trust consumer reviews more than advertisements,” he explains.
While adding that Buy Now button to your digital platforms can enable you to grow sales, it’s as important that you offer a curated consumer review section on your channels to ensure that customers can share both good and bad experiences with you and the rest of the world. Proactivity will go a long way in ensuring customers engage with you, making it easier for them to eventually transact with you.
2. Memorable buying experiences foster consumer loyalty
“With every other brand offering discounts, exclusive offers and value-added services to attract customers, customer experience and the simplicity of your buying process are two factors that can help you stand out and be noticed,” Khan adds.
Salesforce statistics indicate that shoppers are willing to spend up to 54% more for a product or service if you can provide a better transactional experience. “On the other hand, research also indicates that it takes a brand almost 12 exceptional purchase experiences to overcome the damage of one bad experience,” he says.
If you’re looking to improve your website, a few of the key user-experience (UX) factors you must take into account include: Website speed, offering a mobile-friendly design, a fast checkout process and several payment methods. Another approach that several leading brands and entrepreneurs have already accepted is selling directly via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks, leveraging different social media store apps in each instance.
Selling through social is BIG business
A report on Forbes.com states that after celebrity TV star, Kylie Jenner released her latest colour in her Lip Kit, the USD29 product sold out in minutes. However, the item is now for sale on eBay for those with deep pockets. “It could cost Kylie Lip Kit fans USD3 000 to sport the orange lip liner and matching lipstick 22.” That’s a 10 000% mark-up for a look that could be replicated with other beauty brands,” the article says. According to retail experts speaking to Forbes, this high premium isn’t surprising given the status that comes with the Lip Kit, the scarcity of it and the likelihood that teen consumers are chasing it.
3. Facebook marketing can get you where you (really) want to be
Facebook’s been around for a decade already, and it’s still only really starting to gain traction amongst consumers around the world. “2015 was the year when Facebook ads made huge strides as compared to the previous years. Marketers invested heavily in Facebook advertising due to which Facebook’s ad revenue increased by more than 42% from 2014, and is expected to reach almost USD27 billion by the end of 2017. The audience targeting features of Facebook ads make it ideal for your eCommerce business,” Khan explains.
However, if you’re looking to truly create effective Facebook ads, detailed competitor analysis and an accurate understanding of your target audience is required.
4. Consistency is a key ingredient when it comes to social
It doesn’t matter how much money you invest in paid advertisements, but what is important is achieving organic reach and engagement on social networks. In a bid to grow its own revenues from advertising, Facebook, and some of the other leading social networks, have cut down the organic reach of user-generated content, but there are still ways you can get more eyeballs on your posts without spending money, according to Khan.
“Two key factors in this regard are the timing and the frequency of your posts. Posting at the right times, and with the right frequency, will not only help you reach more people, but also increase your chances of generating user-engagement and driving action. For example, according to research, the best times to post on Instagram is between 2PM – 5PM on Wednesdays, while the worst time is between 6AM – 9AM on any day. Similarly, sending Tweets on weekends can get you almost 300% more engagement than weekdays on Twitter,” he expands.
5. Use WhatsApp, Pinterest and Instagram more prominently
While Facebook remains the incumbent amongst the social networks that matter, there’s no shortage of social platforms for you to take advantage of to grow your sales. In the past two years, WhatsApp, Pinterest and Instagram have gained massive traction in the market, attracting millions of users to sign and register for daily updates on their favourite celebs or brands.
“While Facebook is clearly the leader when it comes to generating eCommerce sales, you can’t ignore Pinterest, WhatsApp and Instagram because of the huge business potential they offer. In fact, according to Statista, the average per order value for Instagram (USD65) and Pinterest (USD58.95) is higher than the average per order value of Facebook (USD55),” Khan says.
Why use WhatsApp? Well, it’s no longer just an app to keep in touch with friends and family. Yes, more than 50 billion messages are exchanged on WhatsApp every day, but more and more of those messages are coming from brands looking to create a more personal relationship with its consumers. WhatsApp gives you instant access to consumers that could potentially become your customers this year.
There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to using social media to your advantage in the business realm, but when done correctly the rewards can be worthwhile. Regardless of whether you’re using influencers to sway consumer interest or not, you can’t afford not to be on social anymore, but more importantly you can’t afford not to empower consumers to easily trade with you from their favourite social network. So, go ahead, add that Buy Now button, but also ensure you’re willing and able to respond too.
Assess your current digital presence to see if you’re actually present on the social networks that matter. A presence goes beyond simply setting up a group that provides information on your company and its people. Active engagement is a critical ingredient for succeeding in the ‘social business’ so you’ll also need to ensure your in-house team is regularly monitoring the wires, and that they respond as quickly as possible – whether it’s a query, complaint or even praise.