Social Commerce: How It’s Transforming Today’s Shopper Experience
As the new frontier in marketing, today’s social media can function simultaneously as a shopper’s marketplace and a marketer’s bullhorn. Social audiences can use it to locate, engage with, purchase from, and keep in contact with brands. Marketers can use it to attract, engage with, sell to, and stay in contact with customers.
The growing popularity of using social media and messaging apps for marketing and customer service has been transforming the retail industry, changing how shoppers interact with businesses in purchasing and engagement.
Defining social commerce
Social commerce occurs when a shopper’s complete customer experience—from discovering and researching a product until the finalized point of sale—is done through social media. The possibilities are endless for businesses using social commerce. In a recent Meta study, over 1 billion users weekly engage with businesses through the company’s messaging platforms. Over 150 million shoppers per month view a business’ product catalogue through WhatsApp.
Although social media in the past was regarded merely as an advertising tool, today’s evolving technologies have turned it into an all-in-one tool for product discovery, customer service, and sales, which can be accessed on any size device.
Social commerce is the modern-day storefront
Wide acceptance of social commerce has created challenges with its opportunities, such as converting your physical store experience into an online experience by using your audience’s favorite social media platforms. In conjunction with these social channels, direct messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, or Instagram will allow potential customers to ask questions directly to a business.
Social commerce benefits
With Apple’s new restriction of advertisers’ ability to re-target site visitors and Google’s recent forgoing of the tracking cookie, businesses are looking to social commerce for keeping connected to customers through an expansive, constantly changing world of technology.
Through social commerce, companies can interact one-on-one with customers across social platforms in private communication, successfully replicating the experience of staff interaction in a physical store instead of a static online store. The core of social commerce is having this personalized experience within these messaging apps.
Nowadays, brands have the ability to converse directly with their customers through various channels in or close to actual time. Responsiveness is crucial for the customer experience. Brands that give a swift reply to a customer’s question or comment will show they value their shoppers and want to ensure these shoppers remain happy.
Among the vast benefits of social commerce, it empowers businesses to:
- Contain the buyer experience to the shopper’s preferred social media channel, with integrated shopping so the customer can purchase without leaving the social media platform.
- Accompany customers throughout their buyer’s journey.
- Give personalized customer service through one-on-one dialogue.
- Provide a smoother and more customized buyer experience at every point.
- Offer incentives and contest programs, driving more engagement.
- Give a voice to their brand.
- Build a community of loyal customers.
Social commerce instead of cookies
Social commerce has replaced cookies to sustain consumer interest and loyalty, keeping them connected with the brand at each phase in the buyer’s journey.
Social commerce has transformed the brand-to-customer relationship, a relationship no longer bought through ads and purchased media but a relationship earned and maintained through merit. In the past, brands have relied heavily on cookies and third-party information, requiring little effort. But today, for businesses to gather information from clients, they must cultivate loyalty and present value to clients throughout the customer experience.
Social commerce expands the shopper network
Shoppers who are excited over a brand or recent purchase will be eager to share their experience with friends. Social commerce allows brands to harness this excitement and motivate these customers to spread the word to their network. Besides providing a channel for loyal customer engagement, this also generates more buzz about the brand, attracting new shoppers.
Social commerce networks offer various ways to enrich the buyer experience. When employing them in your marketing plan, it’s important to choose the best platforms and tools to suit your business and the needs of your customers. With a perfect social commerce strategy in place, you can engage with your social media audience, turning potential conversions into profits.