What is Social Commerce? The Many Faces of Social Commerce
Social Commerce is, in essence, the integration of ecommerce into social media, and vice versa. While it is a quickly growing and largely unexplored medium, its potential applications are substantial. With social media taking over our lives, and the instant nature of ecommerce, a truly new kind of shopping experience is within the realm of possibility.
This has tremendous implications for online businesses that don’t have a huge budget to market using traditional methods. When you sell through social channels, you are able to grow your audience and your customer base in the same place, creating a hub of activity where engagement with your brand directly correlates/leads to sales. It allows collaboration in the online shopping experience, giving it a more real life feel, like friends shopping together in a mall. If a person buys something, or is even interested in buying something, they can share that interest with their friends, thereby creating an organic word-of-mouth that is hard to come by online. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways in which Social Commerce can compliment you ecommerce efforts.
Customer interactions with others
When you need an opinion, whom do you turn to? People whose word you know and trust, of course. S-commerce allows these interactions, as well as the actual act of buying, to happen within the same environment. This streamlines a potential customer’s decision-making process, which can improve conversions dramatically. Buying a luxury (non-essential) item is an impulsive, emotional decision. The quicker you can get someone to act when they feel that impulse, the better chance you have of riding that feeling to a sale.
Turning customer into advocates
Whenever someone engages with one of your social media profiles, such as liking a Facebook post or re-tweeting a tweet you sent out, they expose you to the people that are in their network. In a way, they are referring your business to their friends, saying that you should check them out. This is a great way to draw in new leads that you would of never gotten otherwise. Some people are natural aggregators of information. Let’s call them influencers. They have a large network, with which they share quality content that their network is more than happy to explore. Using social media, you have the opportunity to capture and gain the loyalty of these influencers, which can have a very positive affect on your bottom line. So how do you draw them in? Influencers are naturally attracted to other influencers. That’s where they get their info. Therefore, putting out quality content on a consistent basis yourself is a sure way to catch their eye. They will only share what they find interesting; so only share what you find interesting. Once you have drawn them in with your content, it’s important to keep them engaged, by, well, engaging with them. Ask thoughtful questions. When they ask questions, give them thoughtful answers. Facilitate and contribute to a conversation right on your page. You want them to want to hang out there. Just pretend they’re the cool kids. If you’re down with the cool kids, the rest are bound to follow.
Social sales promotions
Offering exclusive promotions/sales to your followers is a great way to build loyalty and expand your audience. Promotions create a sense of immediacy that often drives people to act more impulsively, as they don’t want to miss out. With social media, you can get the word out about your promotions extremely fast, and even provide added incentives for your audience to share the promotion with their friends. Keeping these promotions within the social circuit adds to the exclusivity feel and encourages customers to act.
If you have a physical retail outlet, “Check-In” promotions are a great way to fuse your offline and online presence. It works by offering exclusive promotions to people who “Check-In” to your physical store via a social profile such as Facebook Check-Ins or Foursquare. Not only does it encourage them to browse, but also each check-in acts as a referral to both your physical and online stores, and advertises your sales. Win Win!
Hope this gives you an idea of what Social Commerce is all about, how it can compliment your existing revenue streams. Happy Selling!