The benefits of social commerce to customers and retailers
There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed the way we shop.
In March 2020, the world of retail was forced almost entirely online — practically overnight. Suddenly, browsing the high street for a new pair of heels, popping to the shops for the paper, or leisurely gift-buying for friends and family became luxuries of the past.
Unable to visit their usual stores, shoppers quickly turned to the digital realm to sate their consumer cravings. As internet shopping became the norm, UK online transactions saw a whopping increase from 15.8 to 23.3%, accelerating e-commerce growth globally by a staggering 5 years.
But that’s not all. With this digital transformation brought forward, there has been a significant rise in social commerce and conversational marketing.
Unforeseen by many, these changes brought with them a plethora of benefits for retailers and customers alike. In this blog, we dive into the many pros of social commerce, and explore how you can tap into its must-have business benefits.
Benefits of social commerce to customers
With more and more people using social platforms to shop, it’s clear that the benefits of social commerce aren’t limited to retailers. Let’s take a look at what’s in it for the consumer.
It offers a seamless shopping experience
Social commerce cuts out all the obstacles that cause cart abandonment. Customers can check out right there in the app, without signing up, logging in, or completing tedious customer information forms. There’s no irritating password reset or struggling to remember which username you signed up with. With social commerce, the buyer is already logged in to the app with their payment details ready to go. It’s a case of see it, click it, buy it — with minimal effort. Simple.
It provides a social experience
Here’s a stat you need to know about social commerce: when referred by a friend, people are 4 times more likely to buy. And the clue is in the name: Social media is a social experience. People engage with their friends and trust their recommendations.
They’re already there!
The stats say it all. Almost 50% of the world’s population – some 3.6 billion people – are on social media. And that figure is projected to rise to 4.2 billion by 2025. Facebook has 2.89 billion monthly active users. Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. These billions of users visit these apps daily. They’re accustomed to how they work, and trust them with their information and payment details. For habitual social media users, buying products via these platforms is easy, convenient, and familiar. And from a retailer’s point of view: why wait for your customers to come to you, when you can head directly to the place they’re all hanging out? Facebook is overall the most popular platform, favoured by an older demographic, whereas Instagram is more popular with millennials and Gen-Zers. So, if your target market resides within the 18-34 age demographic, an Instagram shop is a guaranteed winner.
Benefits of social commerce to retailers
Major global brands like Nike, H&M, Burberry and ASOS are now jumping on the social commerce train. So, what’s in it for them?
With social commerce, users buy products and services directly via a social media platform. Instead of being redirected to a website, they make their purchase without even leaving the app. The entire buying process, from product discovery to check out, all happens in the one place.
But why not just have a redirect to your brand’s website where the customer can buy the goods and services? Why keep it on the social media platform?
Let’s delve a little further into the social commerce model, and some of the benefits it offers retailers.
It allows for ultra-precise audience targeting
With so much data available on social media, brands can fine-tune their ad targeting with pinpoint accuracy. You can directly advertise your hand-crafted guitar stands to nature-loving music lovers. And organic, reusable baby wipes can be parachuted into the feeds of environmentally-conscious first-time parents. With so much information at your disposal, speaking directly to your ideal audience is one of the most powerful benefits of social commerce, and one of the reasons it’s taking global brands by storm.
It increases brand reach
When it comes to marketing, the power of word-of-mouth should not be underestimated. And social media offers an ideal space to create a buzz around your products and services. As buyers share and repost your products, your audience and engagement levels grow. Plus, your customers can easily recommend your brand through tagging. Statistics show that people are more likely to buy if something has been recommended by someone else they follow. The benefit is simple — get people talking, and your sales will start growing.
It engages directly with your customers
Through social commerce, you are offering an easier way for customers to engage with your brand, leave feedback, and ask questions. It offers your customers a human connection in a way you just don’t get with traditional e-commerce. And with so many built-in conversational marketing automation tools available — including Facebook chatbots, Google Business Messages, WhatsApp chatbots, and Instagram chatbots — encouraging and harnassing this engagement has never been easier.
It improves your SEO
Websites ranked towards the top of a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) will tend to have a strong social presence with content shared across all of their platforms. If you can add social commerce as another string to your social media bow, it can only help your SERP ranking. Winner!
It increases sales
Statistics show that using social commerce will make you more money. 81% of Instagram users say they use social media to research new products and services, and 89% of Pinterest users come to the site specifically to make a purchase. With these trends predicted to continue, it seems implementing social commerce into your marketing strategy is a sure-fire way to drive up sales. A real no-brainer.
It works for B2B too
By the sound of this, you might think these strategies apply only to large B2C brands. But this is not the case. From cultivating brand awareness to increasing credibility, social commerce has just as much to offer B2B brands. Even the most technical or ‘boring’ of products or services can benefit from social selling. It’s a great chance to educate your audience and share the human story behind your brand. Make no mistake: social commerce for B2B is a smart move for your business — and it’s here to stay.
Social commerce is a win-win for all involved. It brings a seamless and friction-free user experience and its profit-boosting potential for retailers is very exciting.
Savvy marketers are cottoning on to the power of social commerce models with killer strategies for growth.