Use Social Commerce to Grow Your Business & Boost Retention

by Bistriti Poddar |

Since the pandemic, customers are fast switching to online mode of shopping. Various factors like value for money, faster deliveries, convenience, flexible refunds and returns, buy now pay later options have created a great demand for social commerce. Social commerce is the use of social media channels for e-commerce transactions. It’s fast becoming a growing part of the modern business world. Instagram or Facebook are no longer just social networking sites where people come and communicate or share reels and pictures, they are now platforms to consciously make buying decisions on, a place for social shopping. According to research, almost two thirds of the time we spend on our mobiles is spent on social networks and almost 74% of customers use social media for most of their purchasing decisions. Hence it’s only logical for brands to integrate functionality of online shopping into their social media platforms. With Social commerce becoming more commonplace, it’s not just a trend, it’s the future.

Social media has always played an instrumental role in providing brands a platform to engage with their customers, build trust and authentic relationships, receive honest feedback and reinforce their brand messaging, but over the years, these social networks are now increasingly becoming self contained marketplaces. In 2017, only 17 percent of retailers were leveraging Social commerce. By 2018, that number almost doubled. In order to cultivate and make the most of Social commerce results, it’s vital to understand the motivations behind customer buying behavior. Did you know that customers with brand familiarity are more likely to purchase online from a brand on social media.

“The rapid growth of Social commerce has taken the marketing world by storm, with U.S. retail social commerce sales projected to exceed $56 billion by 2023, according to Jamie Gilpin, CMO at Sprout Social. Consumers report spending more time on social media than ever before, she noted. With this shift in consumer attention, it is no longer enough to rely entirely on e-commerce. “Brands who do not leverage Social commerce risk leaving money on the table. Social commerce is here to stay and presents an incredible opportunity for retailers to reach consumers at a global scale,” Gilpin added.

Some of the most common examples of Social commerce are:

  • Buy buttons on posts on social media that move a user into the buying process
  • Shoppable stories to put your brand into the limelight
  • Chat boxes to query about products and review based purchases 
  • Facebook Marketplace where members can buy and sell products in local areas
  • Rich buyable pins on Pinterest that pull significant shopping information from your online store and let customers navigate directly to product buy pages
  • Native commerce features that enable users to buy direct from influencers on Snapchat
  • Multiple tagging can help customers find products that they’re interested in when they browse the social media

How are brands doing it wrong when it comes to Social commerce:

  • According to reports, almost 44 percent of brands don’t respond to customer queries on social media proactively. It’s a known fact that more than emails or text messages, social media is the most preferred channel for resolving customer issues and concerns. 
  • When you have not done the audience research properly, you will show irrelevant ads to your customers which will quickly put them off. Paid ads gone wrong are nothing but a waste of money.
  • You’re missing out on a big opportunity if you don’t have a seamless checkout process. Even if the customers have to leave the social network to complete a purchase, direct them to the right product page so that the process is effortless for the customers.

Here’s how Social commerce is great for your business:

  • Drive authentic engagement – This is something that can be tracked in a number of different ways that include shares, likes, comments, follows, pins, and contest entries. Allowing your users to engage and creating a great shopping experience, your brand will grow the much needed trust. Once this trust has been built and your customers have become engaged, it is more likely that they will become brand loyalists. This also creates opportunities for repeat business and stronger word of mouth and referrals. By engaging with your audience and humanizing the site experience, not only will the LTV grow but the conversion rate will also increase. 
  • Holistic shopping experience– Social networks can help in catching customer attention, making them excited about your brand and ultimately having them buy your product. Social media acts as a new search engine that customers use to not just become aware of products, but also browse through them, search for information, opinions, experiences, reviews etc. Social commerce plugins, buttons or ads with calls-to-action directly link to the respective online store and provide customers with incentives to visit a brand’s website.
  • Collect rich customer data– Social commerce features provide direct access to customers’ social profiles. Savvy sellers can use this data analytics to their advantage. Data is the key to understanding customer behavior and through that you can improve your offerings as well. Merge these insights with regular social listening practices to create more inspired conversion experiments. Observations can help you with A/B tests, CTA optimizations and more, so you can make a bigger impact with your target audience and group them effectively. 
  • Customer loyalty and retention– Social media helps in developing social customer relationships, trust and building familiarity with customers. People are loyal to how they perceive a brand, and brand love is essentially influenced by consistency, quality and presence. Brands can thus use social media data to analyze customer history, behavior and interactions to offer personalized offerings and thoughtfully crafted experiences. This drives retention and brand loyalty. 

Social commerce is a model all marketers must embrace now. It opens up new revenue streams and new avenues of opportunities for your business. By 2025, social commerce is set to cross $99 billion and most businesses agree that this is just the beginning.

For more than 10 years, Annex Cloud has been the worldwide leader in technology and service solutions that transform customer loyalty experiences for organizations, extending valuedcustomer engagement, and collecting valuable customer information for enabling data-led strategies. Powered by the comprehensive and scalable Loyalty Experience Platform™, Annex Cloud customers capture and use zero- and first-party data to seamlessly deliver hyper-personalized experiences across the entire customer journey – from awareness to purchase to retention, loyalty, and advocacy. Brands partner with us to take advantage of our robust platform capabilities as well as get industry expert recommendations that help ensure utmost engagement with the sweepstakes. The company is recognized by industry respected organizations like Gartner and Forrester and integrates with 100+ market-leading technologies. Get in touch with us today!

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