BPM Analytics

Leverage the power of social commerce to delight your buyers

Social commerce is the latest marketing strategy being adopted by e-commerce businesses to tap into the vast potential offered by social media channels.

As the name indicates, social commerce enhances the shopping experience for customers by leveraging social media platforms for marketing and directly selling the products of your e-commerce business. Social commerce has become a vital element of e-commerce marketing strategy to reach a wider audience. While browsing social media, at one time or the other, we must have seen a friend post about a delicious meal that they had at a new trending restaurant that compelled us to order from their food delivery app, without having to leave the social media platform. Such is the simplicity and prevalence of social commerce.

The number of social media users has been increasing at a rapid pace year on year. Statista states that “The number of social media users which stood at 4.59 billion in 2022 is expected to reach a whopping 5.85 billion by 2027.” This growth is the reason for e-commerce businesses to rethink their social media marketing strategy and aim to change customer journeys by reducing purchase time.

Characteristics of a modern buyer

  • A short attention span is a typical characteristic of today’s buyers and marketers need to connect with buyers in a limited time. Hence it is essential for marketers to connect with potential customers on the right channels during the right time slots. In other words, marketers must connect with buyers on the social media platforms they use at the time they use the channel.
  • Buyers of today expect instant gratification. They prefer to make a purchase if they can do it the instant they see an advertisement that interests them. Hence, there should be an option to purchase a product directly from the ad. If there is a gap where the buyer needs to navigate to some other site or web page, they are likely to lose interest. Popular social media channels like Pinterest, Instagram, Tik Tok have integrated features that enable users to make purchases directly from their feeds.
  • Customers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that understands them and offers the right product/service as and when they require it.
  • Buyers prefer to purchase products from brands they can trust. They are more likely to trust brands that authenticate their products with User Generated Content (UGC) that offers them a real-world look into the product value.
  • Customers are no longer influenced by “salesy” content that directly promotes a product. They are more likely to respond to ads that are woven into the content instead.
    Bearing these aspects in mind marketers need to create marketing strategies tailored to the needs of the buyer. 

Guidelines to formulate an effective social commerce strategy

Social monitoring:

Monitor your audience to find out the social media channels they use. Advertise your products on those channels at the time your users are active on those channels. Identifying the right channels is vital especially when you are focusing on multiple demographics and interests. For example, a company that tracks its brand mentions on social media, responds to customer inquiries in real-time, and leverages positive interactions to showcase its products, will ultimately drive sales and build brand loyalty.

Seamless checkout:

Make sure that you provide your buyers with the option to make the purchase directly from the platform. Also, make the checkout process simple and convenient. A retailer advertising an outfit will benefit from adding a direct link to the outfit instead of just linking their website, leaving the onus on the customer to search for their desired outfit. This example shows the importance of allowing customers to complete their purchases without any friction and increasing conversion rates.

User-generated content (UGC):

UGC has a great influence on buying decisions. Reviews, videos by users, comments, etc., are effective tools for social commerce. This is because buyers trust real-life users of the products more than any promotional advertisement. Hence, you must encourage your buyers to post reviews about your products. Consider the example of someone who wants to use an eco-friendly alternative for home cleaning but is not sure of the effectiveness of the product. Real-life testimonies will go a long way to convince such customers, and this digital word-of-mouth is a sure-shot way of establishing credibility and winning more clients.

Influencer marketing:

Social media influencers provide credibility to your product. You need to partner with the right social media influencers to tag your product(s). When an influencer tags a product on their post, followers can directly buy the product from the post. As a result, this streamlines the buyers' experience by eliminating the need for them to navigate through the influencer's biography and click on any external links to access a separate website. It will be easier to convince the audience to try out an outfit if they see a popular influencer demonstrating the look and vouching for it, rather than watching still images on a website.

Respond to your buyers:

Responding to your buyers to resolve their queries is a critical aspect of the success of your social commerce strategy. Make sure that you are available to your audience at the time of their convenience. It is also necessary to respond to the comments of your followers as this gives them a message that you care. A brand that responds in real-time and addresses customer queries, accepts feedback, or provides quick resolution, is a brand that easily establishes trust and connects with an audience.

Role of technology in boosting social commerce strategies

Technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), (Machine Learning) ML, and (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) can boost your marketing efforts and help create personalised buying experiences.

Big Data provides all the data about the buyers. Details such as the social media channels used by buyers, preferred times, etc., are all available. AI can extract data and analyse data to provide insights to develop targeted marketing strategies. ML algorithms learn about the customers from the existing data sets and can predict customer behaviour. These insights help create effective marketing strategies that delight buyers. Technologies like AR and VR offer buyers a real-life experience in a virtual plane.

AI chatbots further enhance customer experience by providing assistance to buyers round-the-clock. Chatbots can provide professional answers to customer queries.

In recent years social media has become deeply ingrained in our lives. Many buyers are now using social media platforms for the entire customer journey from researching products to making purchase decisions. Social commerce is the need of the hour for e-commerce businesses to connect with the vast audience on social media platforms. Businesses can meet their buyers on the right channel at the right time to offer a customised buying experience.

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