Imagine a world where social media is a bustling marketplace, where prospects are browsing social feeds and every click, like, and share is a potential sale. That world is not too far off from our reality! With the rise of social media, businesses have a new platform to reach their customers, and it's changing the game of digital commerce.
The business of commerce has evolved throughout human civilisation, adapting to new mediums and technologies. Networks have taken over bazaars and mobile devices have replaced verbal chatter, resulting in the rise of digital commerce. Despite the shift in mediums, successful commerce still relies on trust and relationships between people.
In this blog, we'll explore how social media is impacting digital commerce, and how businesses can harness the human touch to increase their sales and grow their brand.
Why should you pay attention to social media?
Social media has revolutionised the way we interact with the world around us. With platforms like Instagram and TikTok gaining more and more users daily, it's no surprise that traditional businesses have started to notice. Studies show that social media is now the number one source of inspiration for 97% of Gen Z consumers!
As a result, businesses have had to adapt their marketing strategies to reach customers where they spend most of their time—on social media. Along with this, brands now need to work with fast-growing but non-traditional channels like influencer marketing and deal with the rise of social commerce where goods are bought through social media.
Together, influencers and social commerce are impacting e-commerce in many ways not imagined before. Gone are the transactional shopping experiences where products are placed in shopping carts on e-commerce websites. Say hello, instead, to buying experiences that are becoming increasingly driven by loyalty and human relationships.
Impact #1: Rise of influencer marketing
One of the most significant impacts of social media on digital commerce has been the rise of influencer marketing. Influencers are individuals who have built a following on social media by sharing content that resonates with their audience. Brands have started partnering with influencers to reach their target audiences more authentically.
Collaborating with influencers has become popular for businesses as consumers trust them more than brand advertising—63% of shoppers have more faith in influencers than traditional ads! Thus, businesses need to tap into the different social media channels that the followers are using, expanding their reach to a much wider audience.
On the other hand, some influencers have promoted products they don't use or failed to disclose their paid promotions. This has led to increased scrutiny and regulation in the industry. Social media platforms have introduced new rules and guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in influencer marketing, and regain the trust of consumers.
Impact #2: Popularity of social commerce
Social media is transforming digital commerce through social commerce, which enables customers to buy directly through social media platforms. 75% of shoppers use social media to research products. By enabling customers to shop through social media, businesses can interact with buyers more personally and create a fan base.
One explanation for this trend is the rise of mobile devices. Mobile e-commerce is expected to account for 72.9% of e-commerce sales by 2023. Social media apps are optimised for mobile use and provide a seamless experience, such as Instagram's "Shop Now" button and Facebook's "Marketplace", making it easier to drive sales.
However, social commerce also comes with its challenges. With an average online purchase return rate of 18.1%, businesses must consider the impact of returns on their bottom line. Also, brands need to be strategic in their use of social media and ensure that they are providing value to their customers, rather than just showing advertising.
How to deliver better social commerce experiences
1. Consolidate social data in one place
Consolidating social media data on one platform like CINNOX gives you a holistic view of customer behaviour across different platforms, enabling personalised marketing strategies and optimised customer service. With insights into customer preferences and trends, you can make better and more informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.
Regardless of whether buyers use Facebook Messenger one day, WhatsApp the next day, and WeChat on the weekends, you can see all their chats in a single conversation in CINNOX. This enables you to add a human touch by personalising the chat according to their language or making product recommendations based on what was said earlier.
2. Seamless offline to online experiences
Offline-to-online experiences can improve customer experience by integrating different touchpoints for consistency. With personalised experiences and easy channel switching, you can improve engagement, loyalty, sales and revenue. Data from interactions can also provide further insights, optimising future marketing strategies.
Customers don't spend all their time online and you should not expect them to either. Before products get shipped, slip in a "thank you" card along with a QR code to connect them with agents who previously served them. Or insert a web link from CINNOX into a post-delivery email, letting them know that chatting with an agent is a click away!
3. Evaluate the effectiveness of social channels
Tracking social media engagement and feedback offers you insights into customer preferences and behaviour, leading to effective campaigns, and higher engagement, loyalty, and revenue. Evaluating different social channels keeps you ahead of fickle trends and ever-changing customer demands, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Know which social media channel resonates best with your target audience. Millennials worldwide might prefer WhatsApp, while shoppers in China like the WeChat super app. CINNOX supports all the popular social messaging apps and even includes webhook integration for other apps like Telegram and any future, trending social media app.
4. Complement your e-commerce store
E-commerce stores benefit from social media, expanding customer engagement and showcasing products and promotions. It also enables you to provide prompt customer support and service, improving the overall customer experience. Integrating social media and e-commerce conversations ultimately provides a better shopping experience.
Social media apps may not be able to replicate the complexity and scale of an e-commerce website, but they can direct social users to visit your website for detailed information. There, a CINNOX web widget offers a seamless customer experience, knowing what was previously said in social media chats, and many more channels.
5. Empower social media using chatbots
Chatbots complement social media by providing quick and efficient customer service. They handle routine queries and personalise recommendations based on preferences and purchase history. Chatbots also provide a seamless customer experience, freeing agents to handle complex issues, thus increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
When you collect all your customer and employee interaction data in one place, you're also setting yourself up for better CX through AI-assisted channels. Machines need data to learn and the more data there is, the better the output and the experience. Even dark data that was previously ignored can provide insights from website logs, for example.
6. Turn one-way into a two-way conversation
Embedding CINNOX web links or QR codes for live chat or web calls into social media chat can instantly engage potential customers, turn one-way communication into a two-way dialogue, and increase conversions. By providing a direct way to communicate, you can enhance customer experience and build stronger relationships, while also tracking the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.
Social commerce is here to stay
Social media is vital for digital commerce, offering an effective way to engage with customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales with billions of active users. It provides unprecedented reach and visibility, and continuously evolves with new features, enabling businesses to stay innovative and keep up with changing customer needs.