When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, many brick-and-mortar retailers were forced to close their shop doors in line with government guidelines and social distancing. While many shops have now started to reopen and welcome back customers, the “new normal” is proving to be a rocky road for many business owners. Limited hours, a reduced capacity, and few staff has made “business as usual” rather hard to achieve.
Lockdown and the complications of reopening have had many retailers adding eCommerce as a sales channel for the first time. Others have been investing more time and money on existing digital channels in order to prepare for an uncertain future.
As well as retailers adjusting to change sprung by the pandemic, consumers are also settling into new patterns and habits. This includes the rise in social media usage, with a recent study showing a 61 percent increase since COVID-19 hit.
With consumer usage at a level higher than ever before, this represents the perfect opportunity for social commerce; leveraging the networking capabilities of social networks to promote brands and close sales.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can really get the most out of social commerce opportunities today.
Invest in the right channels
Today, there is a huge range of social and digital platforms used by people from all around the globe every day. For brands with limited budgets, you can’t of course, be everywhere. And so, it will be essential that you get to know your customers and try to pinpoint which channels to focus your social commerce efforts around.
Ask yourself these questions: Which channels are my audience most likely to spend time on and share content? What kind of content is the most engaged with by my audience? At what times are they most active? Digging out the answers to these questions and others like it will go a long way in helping our brand produce a successful social commerce strategy.
Creating a seamless shopping experience
When it comes to the modern shopper, convenience is everything. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. With attention span growing smaller, customers are coming to expect a seamless shopping experience. Those brands that create a purchase process with as few steps as possible, will be the ones who most effectively connect with their audience and convert them to happy customers.
A crucial step in a seamless shopping experience is to ensure you’re offering customers flexible payment solutions on your website. You want to invest in a trusted Ecommerce Payment Gateway such as that from UTP Group, which allow payments from credit or debit cards, and can take payments from anywhere around the world. Not having these flexible payment options could lose you a lot of potential customers.
Harness the power of UGC
User-generated-content (UGC) relates to images, videos and reviews from social media users, and is viewed as the most trusted and influential content by consumers. This makes it a super valuable resource for retailers to leverage in their social commerce efforts. Plus, it’s free! You can simply ask users who post about your products or services to share their content on your brand profiles or ask customers to #hashtag a certain phrase if they give permission for you to share.
The shoppers of today find UGC content even more influential on their purchasing behaviour than influencer marketing. While the use of influencers has been a successful marketing tactic for many brands, in recent times, it seems that consumer trust in this is declining.
In fact, according to The Drum, only four percent of people trust what influencers say online. Many speculate that the legal requirement for influencers to labels their paid online posts with hashtags such as “#ad” and “#sponsorship” could be driving the decline in trust because it calls into question the authenticity of bloggers’ posts.
Personalisation is perhaps one of the most important steps in helping to convert mere window-shoppers to loyal buyers. Social commerce personalisation relates to showing individualised offers, product recommendations, and other content to your visitors based on their previous actions, their demographics, and other personal data.
Adding personalisation to your marketing strategy ensures your offers are relevant to your customers. According to Smart Insights, even just adding one type of personalisation can generate a whopping 68 percent of ecommerce revenue.
Examples of ways you can personalise marketing via social commerce include retargeted ads to customers based on interactions they did on your site; personalised direct messages; and using social listening to gage consumer attitudes and interests.
Now really is the time to ramp up your social commerce efforts. As consumer attitudes and preferences change, so must brands! By following the simple steps above, you will be well on your way to social shopping success.