The Secret to Social Commerce: Think Like a Small Brand and Win
Social commerce is often considered to be the process of selling products and services directly through social media. However, for brands that truly understand the meaning, it’s so much more. It can be the most powerful tool in your arsenal to build loyal customers, increase conversion, and reduce acquisition costs. But many big brands miss the mark when it comes to social commerce. Why is this, and what can you do to win?
I come from a long background in the corporate retail world, but most recently have pivoted to work on launching and scaling e-commerce brands. In this experience I’ve seen the stark contrast in approaches to social commerce. While large brands have the advantage of vast resources, they often miss the grassroots mindset that makes small brands so effective in this domain.
In the corporate world, decisions are often driven by data and trends. For small brands, however, decisions are driven by necessity, community feedback, and genuine engagement. The latter approach, though born out of limited resources, often yields more authentic and effective results.
Here are the three key lessons that big brands can take from small brands when it comes to building a social commerce community:
1. Understand your community and reward loyalists.
For a moment, set aside the word “social”; instead, replace the word social with community. This isn't a novel idea — it's where commerce has always seen success. Businesses thrive on community interactions.
Your most devoted customers are your best salespeople — engage them and make them feel valued. Loyalty programs, email lists, credit cards don’t exactly cut it in this new world. You must think about loyalty differently.
It's not about the money; it's about the connection. A staggering 70 percent of shoppers trust the opinions of their peers over influencers. Moreover, shoppers tend to spend up to 186 percent more when shopping with friends. This highlights the immense value of building a community of like-minded shoppers and turning them into brand ambassadors.
2. Embrace your community: talk with them, not at them.
The digital landscape offers brands an unparalleled opportunity to engage directly with their customers. Yet, many big brands use it as a megaphone, broadcasting their messages without truly listening. This approach is outdated and ineffective.
Why speculate on the next trend when you can co-create it with your audience? The era of top-down decision making is fading. Today, the brands that thrive are those that engage their community in meaningful dialogues, making them feel valued and heard.
3. Authenticity is non-negotiable.
In the age of information, consumers are savvy. They can discern genuine engagement from mere marketing tactics. Authenticity isn't just a buzzword; it's the cornerstone of successful social commerce. Whether it's re-sharing genuine user-generated content, giving a behind-the-scenes look, or engaging in candid conversations, authenticity fosters trust. And trust, in turn, drives loyalty and sales.
By 2025, social commerce sales are projected to surpass $1 trillion. Over 70 percent of Gen Z, the next wave of consumers, prefer interacting with brands via social channels rather than in-store. The writing is on the wall: For brands aiming to stay relevant and competitive, mastering collaborative commerce isn't just beneficial, it's essential.
In conclusion, the secret to winning in social commerce is simple: Think like a small brand. Understand your community, engage them genuinely, and always prioritize authenticity. In doing so, brands can not only survive but thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.
Megan Kasel is the co-founder and president of DSCO, a social shopping app.
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Megan Kasel is the co-founder and president of DSCO, a social shopping app. Prior to launching DSCO, Megan had a long career in corporate retail – most recently serving as Director of Women & Baby Merchandising at Banana Republic. She has also had experiencing launching & growing multiple independent e-commerce brands, including Foreplay Golf – a first of its kind golf line designed for women, by women. At the core of her experience has been her passion for understanding the customer & forecasting their needs.
Her robust experience in both corporate and small brand retailing led her to launching DSCO with the mission of improving the e-commerce experience for both retailer and shopper. DSCO does this by introducing the missing link to online shopping – social connection. Throughout her time managing major brands & independent retailers, Megan saw that the most powerful tool in selling was social engagement & endorsement but that the right tools to harness it did not quite exist.