What is Social Commerce?
Social Commerce is nothing more than allowing users to purchase goods entirely or partly through a website or a social networking app. Retail sellers – not platform owners – not only promote and present their products but also guide their customers through a minimised and intuitive way right to the goal: purchase.
Social Commerce is a dynamically developing part of on-line marketing, which is affected by the development of networking websites and on-line shopping infrastructure. sCommerce is often used particularly by people working in the fashion and retail industries, for example, to present new collections. After the seller integrates a social media profile with an on-line shopping platform (a website or a web portal), followers not only can react to, share, and comment on products, but they can also buy items directly or through their favourite app.
sCommerce Tools: Facebook
For a long time, this technological giant has been implementing new solutions and facilities for retail sellers who use the platform. Facebook attempts include providing a larger number of sellers with access to trading tools, adding new locations and giving the possibility to gain new trading experiences.
You can sell on Facebook using Facebook Shops – existing as a part of a company’s website. In order to use the full potential of this tool, you should first configure your shop with the platform (Shopify or BigCommerce does it automatically). After implementing and adding products to Facebook shops, sellers can tag products in posts and videos, promote them on Live Chat or Marketplace, redirect customers to the shop, or complete the purchasing process using FB.
sCommerce Tools: Instagram
Instagram – as a visual medium – has a major sales potential. By the choice of pictures and graphics combined with the use of social commerce features of the app, sellers can reach their target group very intuitively and persuasively.
After integrating a business profile with a products catalogue, Instagram allows you to add links to items in your sales posts or Instastories. After clicking on a tag with information about price or a possible discount, users are redirected to a CTA page that leads to an e-commerce website. Instagram is also working on implementing Instagram Checkout feature which allows you to purchase entirely within the platform, without the need to redirect the customer to an external website (shortening the consumer shopping path is what users like most) Instagram Checkout is currently being tested in the US.
sCommerce Tools: Pinterest
Pinterest is a medium that, over the past few years, has been gradually returning to the top of popular social networking platforms, due to, among other things, an extensive social commerce infrastructure. Pinterest provides sellers with such tools as sponsored pins (working like Google advertisements), product ads, as well as ‘Shop the Look’ pins that contain ready purchase propositions, for example the entire stylisation or an apartment interior design (not yet available in Poland).
In order to sell on Pinterest, you must sign up for a Pinterest business account and integrate it with a products catalogue. The business account allows you to display pictures of products with information about the price and the quantity of goods available in stock. Product pins redirect users to the seller’s external website. Another feature of Pinterest is visual searching which allows users to find products that are similar to those in a given picture.
Shorten and improve
Any functions resulting from sCommerce solutions implementation aim at one thing: helping clients to make shopping decisions. If you decide to use social networking media, you need to ensure that customers’ shopping path AFTER they leave the platform is as short and as intuitive as possible. The key issue is to make the customers’ path quick and unproblematic, by minimising the effort that is put by the customer between liking the product and finalising the purchase.
Tools such as cux.io that present website users’ frustrations, allow you to check which element of shopping process needs to be fixed. The tool will show you which places of the website make the customer angry and frustrated by showing such behaviour as rage clicking, chaotic mouse movements or refreshing the website. Why is eliminating these elements from the customers’ path so important? 66 per cent of users claim that a frustrating experience on the website hurts their opinion on the brand overall.
(Another) Mobile Year
One of the factors that significantly influence the sCommerce development are mobile phones. Mobile shopping dominates social shopping to a large extent. According to recent research, Millennials prefer mobile shopping and they expect perfectly smooth payment transactions available on these platforms. For example: Instagram, the medium that is almost entirely mobile, make shopping easier by the process of double-clicking which allows customers to buy products without leaving the smartphone app.
As most of sCommerce actions happen on mobiles, payment methods should be optimised for mobile phone users and should offer other payment options than debit or credit card. One-fourth of customers resign from finalising the transaction because they do not find preferable payment methods – it is worth taking it into account while designing your shopping portal!
The analysis is the best trader
No marketing activities – whether online or offline- make sense if you do not precisely measure their effectiveness and you do not implement the improvements and automation that increase the effectiveness.
How to measure and improve the shopping processes of customers who come from social networking media?
Website functionality is a key to conversion
Guiding your customers from social networking media to your shopping page is the first step to achieving your goal. However, the key to successful sale is what happens on your website.
Your website is your business card, so be sure that it is ready to guide users straight to the point in an intuitive way. Does it load quickly enough? Is there a well-prepared content, which will convince your customer to buy your product? Does your graphics encourage them to click further? Is the customers’ path to purchase simple and intuitive? If you say no to any of these points, it may happen that the users will leave your page (91 per cent without giving any feedback!), right after they visit it, because, from their point of view, there is nothing more irritating than a website that does not work the way they want it to.
If you are interested in tips on how to find and eliminate problems that discourage customers, please, visit the following link: https://cux.io/blog/analytics/show-me-your-website/
sCommerce as a natural extension of users behaviour
Behaviours of users are unpredictable and this is the truth that every seller must remember. Users open a lot of tabs, compare products, go away to answer the phone, chaotically walk around the shopping path that you created. In order to prepare sCommerce actions properly, you need to remember that online activities are the reflection of users’ behaviour.
The only possibility to fit your solutions to your customers’ expectations is the quality analysis of their behaviours. They may be revealed by, for example, session recordings or the heat map analysis, which indicate where exactly users click or tap. You may confirm the conclusions drawn from the analysis of session recordings and heat maps by comparing behaviour patterns that were detected on the website. If frustration appears in the crucial moment of the shopping process – checkout, filling in the form, payment – you must improve this area immediately.