Social commerce, which is also commonly referred to as s-ecommerce, is where social media meets online shopping. It involves using social media to drive customer acquisition and sales. It is also defined by giving consumers the possibility to purchase a product directly or within a couple of clicks from interaction with a social community.
Social commerce represents a shift in the way we purchase items. When you think about traditional e-commerce, the goal has always been about the maximization of convenience. How quick can a consumer get in and out of a site to complete a purchase? Social commerce is not about this. It is all about product discovery and inspiration. The act of ‘sharing’ a product with your friends or followers is a prime example of this. Moreover, websites such as Pinterest, act like a virtual shopping mall or digital catalogue, where shoppers can not only browse but interact with others that are interested in similar brands and products.
There are many different tools social commerce companies are utilizing to drive sales. Of course the most obvious one would be a click-to-buy button link next to an offer on Twitter or Facebook, or having a direct store on one of these websites. However, the strategies implemented go a lot further than this, and as mentioned, it is all about creating an experience. Engage with consumers and personalize the experience before you concentrate on trying to sell them something. Encourage sharing between users as well. One excellent way to do this is through the use of competitions. You will see plenty of companies embracing this strategy on Twitter, in a ‘re-tweet to win’ format.
There are many benefits to be gained by developing a social commerce strategy. Firstly, you need to consider how much of a powerful tool this is. After all, approximately seventy per cent of consumers state that they trust opinions that are posted online. This is the second most trusted type of advertising, falling only behind recommendations that are from people known. In addition to this, social commerce is beneficial for your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, as it involves the use of natural language – including abbreviations and misspellings – and will create more keyword rich content too. Nevertheless, one of the key advantages associated with social commerce is the fact that it generates consumer loyalty, which in turn results in repeat purchases. Social commerce is all about building a relationship with your customers. You build loyal followers of your brand who will keep an eye on what you are up to, what new products you have released, what deals you have running and so on and so forth. This in turn will of course result in people who purchase from your site again and again.
Hopefully you now have a clearer picture regarding social commerce – what it is, why it is beneficial, and how it should be implemented. Remember, the purpose of this platform differs significantly from traditional e-commerce. You need to approach it in the sense that you are generating an experience if it is to be a success.