Jane, a savvy online shopper, scrolling through product reviews on her smartphone, watching unboxing videos on TikTok, and seeking advice from her online community before making a purchase.
She values the insights and opinions of her digital friends just as much as those of her friends in the physical world.
And you know what, she isn’t the only one!
A staggering 87% of shoppers now turn to social media for guidance and inspiration before making a buying decision.
And 82% of shoppers turn to social media for purchase!
With the ever-increasing importance of social media in regular business and the rising consumer expectations, it has become imperative for ecommerce brands to embrace social commerce as a means to stay competitive and meet their customers where they spend a significant amount of time online.
From leveraging social media platforms for customer engagement to implementing social proof and user-generated content to attract buyers and build trust, let’s discover how to use social commerce in boosting sales and improving customer experience.
But, first of all, we’ll answer this question:
Should You Try Social Commerce?
The confusion is real.
Is it worth jumping the bandwagon?
Should retailers invest in yet another channel?
Hear us out – 29% of US customers buy products on social media once a week or more, while 24% purchase more than once a week.
With more and more consumers looking to buy on social media, it makes perfect sense for retail businesses to adopt social commerce and start selling on social platforms.
Social commerce is a comprehensive blend of sales tools, customer service, marketing, community building, and converging all aspects of your business into one cohesive package dedicated to enhancing the shopping experience of customers and promoting and selling products on social media.
Social commerce seamlessly integrates social media platforms with e-commerce, allowing consumers to discover, research, and purchase products seamlessly within their favorite social media apps.
Image: Flow of Purchase in Social Commerce | Source
Social commerce is all about convenience and making it easier for customers to buy without having to leave their favorite platform.
So, if your retail brand is still not selling on social media, it’s time to make that happen and meet where customers are. Because 42% of buyers prefer social media app checkout over third-party website checkout and 34% of them consider buying on social media because according to them, it’s easier and faster.
Social commerce bridges the gap between buyers and sellers, allowing both parties to discover and engage with each other.
It offers convenience to customers by allowing them to purchase without leaving their favorite site.
It also helps complete the sales funnel, from the discovery stage to nurturing, sales, and post-sales customer service, while increasing brand loyalty, reducing churn, and improving satisfaction.
How Social Commerce Boosts Sales
There are many ways that social commerce can boost sales for businesses. Here are eight ways to do it:
1. Increases Brand Awareness and Reach
Social media platforms have billions of users worldwide. By being active on social media and creating engaging content, businesses can reach a large audience and increase brand awareness. This can lead to more sales, as consumers are more likely to buy from brands that they are familiar with.
2. Drives Traffic to Your Website and Ecommerce Store
Social media can be used to drive traffic to your website and eCommerce store. This can be done by including links to your website in your social media posts and bios, and by running social media ads that target your ideal customers.
3. Makes it Easier for Customers to Buy Your Products
Social commerce makes it easier for customers to buy your products by allowing them to checkout directly from the social media platform. This is especially convenient for mobile shoppers.
4. Encourages Impulse Buying
Social media is a great platform for impulse purchases. When people are scrolling through their social media feeds, they are more likely to be impulsive and make a purchase. You can encourage impulse purchases by creating visually appealing social media posts and by offering limited-time discounts and promotions.
That’s because the products are affordable, it’s easy to talk to the sellers, and there are good deals like discounts during the live stream.
So much so that consumers on TikTok started a hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to denote products they purchased as a result of TikTok videos.
As TikTok’s influence continues to grow, brands are taking advantage of the “TikTok made me buy it” trend to boost sales.
TikTok made me buy it page with 7.4 billion views
5. Builds Trust and Loyalty With Customers
Social media is a great way to build trust and loyalty with customers. By interacting with customers on social media, you can show them that you care about their needs and that you are committed to providing them with a good experience. This can lead to repeat business and increased sales.
6. Adds Visual Appeal
The power of visual appeal cannot be overstated in social commerce. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest prioritize images and videos, allowing businesses to showcase their products in a visually captivating manner. This easily captures users’ attention and compels them to spend more time watching the videos or swipe for more images to explore products.
7. Interactive Product Discovery
In traditional e-commerce, customers typically browse online stores, view product listings, and read descriptions to discover products. Social commerce, however, takes product discovery to a whole new level, making it more interactive and engaging.
- Shoppable Posts
One of social commerce’s key advantages is the ability to offer a seamless shopping experience within the users’ preferred social media apps. Many platforms now support shoppable posts or tags, enabling businesses to tag products directly within posts or stories. Users can click these tags to view product details and make purchases. Integrating product catalogs directly into social media platforms further enhances the customer experience, allowing for in-app checkout and streamlining the buying process.
8. Influencer Marketing: Leveraging Trust and Influence
Collaborating with social media influencers is a prominent strategy in social commerce. Influencers possess dedicated and engaged followings who trust their recommendations. By partnering with influencers whose values align with their brand, businesses can tap into a pre-established audience and boost sales. Influencers often create content that authentically showcases products, making it more appealing to their followers.
Here are three major social media platforms that has opened the doors for retail brands to start selling with their platforms through social commerce:
- Facebook Shop: Facebook Shop allows businesses to create a storefront on Facebook where customers can browse and purchase products.
- Instagram Shopping: With Instagram Shopping, retailers can feature and tag products in their Reels, Stories, and Feed posts. Customers can then tap on the tags to learn more about the product and purchase it directly from Instagram.
- TikTok Shopping: TikTok Shopping allows businesses to create in-app shopping experiences. Customers can watch videos of products and purchase them directly from the TikTok app.
How Social Commerce Improves Customer Experience
Social commerce is the integration of social media and eCommerce. It allows businesses to sell their products and services directly through social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular, as consumers spend more and more time on social media and are becoming more comfortable shopping online.
Social commerce can improve customer experience in a number of ways. Here are four key ways:
1. Provides a More Personalized and Engaging Shopping Experience
Personalization is a central element of social commerce, enhancing the overall customer experience by tailoring interactions and product recommendations to individual customer preferences and needs.
a. Utilizing User Data
Social commerce platforms gather a wealth of user data, including demographics, interests, browsing behavior, and previous purchase history. This data forms the foundation for personalization efforts.
b. Customized Product Recommendations
By leveraging algorithms and artificial intelligence, businesses can analyze user data to provide highly relevant product recommendations. For example, a fashion retailer might suggest clothing items based on a customer’s past purchases or browsing history.
c. Targeted Promotions and Offers
Social commerce enables businesses to create and deliver personalized promotions and offers, including discounts, exclusive deals, or rewards tailored to a customer’s preferences and purchase patterns.
d. Content Personalization
Social commerce platforms also allow for content personalization, curating content that aligns with the interests of specific user segments. For instance, a sports equipment retailer might showcase different products to users interested in soccer compared to those interested in tennis.
2. Makes It Easy For Customers To Ask Questions And Get Support
Social media platforms make it easy for customers to ask questions and get support from businesses. Customers can simply post a comment on a business’s social media page or send them a direct message. Businesses can then respond to customer inquiries quickly and efficiently.
Social media platforms also allow businesses to create customer support groups where customers can ask questions and get help from other customers. This can be a valuable resource for customers, as they can learn from the experiences of other people and get help with common problems.
3. Creates a Community Around your Brand
Social media platforms allow businesses to create a community around their brand. Businesses can do this by engaging with customers on social media, responding to their comments and questions, and hosting contests and giveaways. When customers feel like they are part of a community, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand and make repeat purchases.
4. Allows Instant and Interactive Communication
Social media platforms enable instant communication between businesses and customers. Customers can ask questions, seek advice, or voice concerns directly through comments, direct messages, or live chat features. This real-time interaction fosters trust and engagement.
Here are an example of how brands are using social commerce to improve customer experience:
In 2020, Sephora collaborated with Instagram to create a digital storefront that allows its 20 million followers to buy products directly from their feed or stories.
Over 80 of Sephora’s brands were made available on Instagram checkout, making it easier and more convenient for clients to shop.
This move allowed Sephora to scale their business on Instagram and provided a connected beauty buying experience across different Instagram accounts.
Image: Product Tag in IG Feed post
Take inspirations from Sephora to help you visualize how to organize your social shop, write clear product descriptions, add visuals, and make the buying process insanely easy:
Social commerce is a powerful tool that businesses can use to improve customer experience.
By providing personalized shopping experiences, making it easy for customers to get support, and creating a community around their brand, businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers and encourage repeat business.
But that’s not all! Brands can also improve customer experience by:
- Integrating reviews and feedback with social commerce.
- Providing customers with a variety of payment and shipping options.
- Offering a hassle-free returns and exchange policy.
- Resolving customer issues quickly and efficiently.
Social commerce is a dynamic and transformative force in the digital commerce landscape, offering businesses unparalleled opportunities to engage customers, boost sales, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
By harnessing the power of social media, businesses can thrive in an era where customer engagement and personalization are paramount.
Embrace the potential of social commerce to shape the future of your brand’s success.