In today’s digital landscape, social commerce is an increasingly popular way for businesses to optimize their online presence and sell more products. Through the use of social media platforms, brands can create interactive and personalized shopping experiences for customers while also collecting data to better understand audiences and tailor marketing strategies accordingly.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at social commerce and how it changed the traditional customer journey brands are used to. Let’s dive in!
What is social commerce?
When brands turn to selling on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, it’s referred to as social commerce. This type of selling enables companies to interact directly with their customers in order to cultivate a more personalized shopping experience. Additionally, social commerce relies on user-generated content (UGC), such as product reviews, recommendations, or sponsored social posts to help potential clients make informed purchasing decisions.
Why is social commerce important for brands?
The market size for social commerce is increasing year after year, with the expectation that it will hit $1.3 trillion in 2023. As more and more brands sell on social media, it doesn’t seem like the hype will slow down any time soon, and with good reason.
Social commerce helps brands grow and improve in a number of ways:
- Brands can nurture relationships with clients, create meaningful engagement, and build relationships that lead to future sales.
- It helps brands better understand their clients and their needs, allowing them to better target their audience and convert followers into customers.
- Through social platforms, brands can establish more loyalty and trust with their followers and clients.
- Social commerce allows brands to increase their reach and visibility in order to tap into new audiences.
- Social platforms offer brands the opportunity to gain deeper insights into their followers’ and customers’ preferences.
Social commerce and the customer journey
Traditionally, the customer journey is a linear process that begins with awareness of a product and ends with a purchase. In between are various stages of research and consideration, such as researching the product and brand online or in-store before converting.
When it comes to the customer journey with social commerce, the stages look slightly different. When customers interact with brands on social media through content, reviews, influencers, or viewing UGC and other customers’ experiences, the journey becomes more interactive and direct. With social commerce, customers can be exposed to a product, check out reviews, and make a purchase all on the same platform and at the same time.
To illustrate how this works, consider all the items on platforms like TikTok that basically sold themselves. Thanks to TikTok reviews and UGC, there’s seemingly endless content on things like beauty products, home items, kitchen gadgets, clothes, and more that users can view and purchase directly from the platform. With all of these “TikTok made me buy it” types of purchases, it’s a no-brainer for brands to jump at the opportunity to streamline the customer journey to marketing and selling their own products using social commerce.
How social commerce leads to increased customer retention
The retail industry has an average retention rate of 63%, lower than other industries such as banking, telecom, professional services, or media. With inflation and the cost of goods rising, it’s more important than ever for retail businesses to retain existing customers, especially when the cost of acquiring new ones can be up to five times higher.
Social commerce can help brands build relationships and loyalty by engaging with them on social media. By turning customers into brand advocates on social media, you’re able to build a strong sense of customer loyalty to resonate with other potential clients.
Not only that but social commerce can be used to offer customers and followers rewards and incentives, such as exclusive discounts or advance access to new products. All of this helps create a more positive and personalized customer experience, which in turn increases customer retention.
How to adapt to the evolving social commerce customer journey
As social platforms change the course of the customer journey, brands need to adjust accordingly in order to meet customer demands. Here are a few ways the customer journey is changing, along with some tips on how to adjust your sales strategies accordingly.
1. Customers want new products right away
While the days of customers heavily researching products over days, weeks, or months aren’t entirely behind us, they’re starting to become outdated. Thanks to social media, customers who view new products online want to be able to purchase them straight away, which is where native checkout comes in.
Native checkout allows shoppers to make a purchase directly from an app or website without being redirected to a third-party checkout page. For example, on Tik Tok, users can purchase an item they see in a video directly from the app. Native checkout provides a streamlined experience that’s quick, secure, and convenient. Brands looking to take advantage of this trend should utilize tools such as TikTok Shop or the Instagram shopping feature to meet customers where they are.
2. Customers want to be influenced
When it comes to what type of content customers want to see from brands, 60% of marketers agree that influencer-generated content performs better than brand-produced content. Influencer marketing helps brands build trust between an influencer’s audience and the brand so that customers feel more comfortable taking a recommendation on a product they might not be familiar with.
For brands to leverage this trend, it’s important to integrate UGC into their marketing strategy. Reposting customer content on social media, turning to influencers to help promote items, and using social media to share content of your product or service in action can all help build a sense of trust. Not only that, but this type of content is likely to come off as more authentic, resulting in better engagement and potentially more conversions.
3. Customers want to feel understood and a part of your community
Surveys show that 66% of customers believe brands should understand their needs and expectations. When selling on social commerce especially, customers want to feel understood. This means that they want to see the right products at the right time, whether that’s through remarketing, personalized advertising, or other methods. That said, customers don’t want to be advertised in a traditional way, so brands need to find a way to integrate products into their content.
In order to meet these new demands, brands should focus on building a community that makes customers feel like they’re a part of something. This closeness to customers will also help when it comes to creating personalized content. Additionally, creating content that’s optimized for social media by optimizing product data will ensure that your products get shown to your customers when it’s most relevant. Accurately managing product data is essential for an omnichannel strategy and helps create a more effective retargeting strategy.
Cymbio: your social commerce partner
While it may seem challenging for brands to adopt entirely new strategies to make the most of social commerce sales, there are tools that can help. Cymbio is a multichannel growth platform for brands who want to expand to retailers, marketplaces, and social platforms without scaling their budgets or resources.
Cymbio enables you to sync your inventory for multichannel sales so that you don’t have to manually input items, resulting in a more seamless sales experience for your clients on social platforms. Additionally, with synced inventory, you can ensure product data is always up to date on all your channels.
Not only that, but with Cymbio’s automation capabilities for order management, inventory, and even payouts, you can focus more of your time on what matters, like building a community on social media.
Book a call with one of our social commerce experts today to learn how to get started.