Tips for Creating an Engaging Social Commerce Experience
Having an engaging social presence has long been imperative to a business’ visibility and success, and the same can now be said for commerce. There’s never been a better time to start selling through social.
With social commerce predicted to grow to $1.2 trillion in the next three years, businesses need to be agile in leveraging social platforms to win over the hearts and wallets of customers — or risk being left behind.
Social has taken a front seat in acting as the new search function, helpdesk and storefront for many brands. Through the pandemic in particular, it has provided a space for businesses to continue connecting with their customers and keep doors open, despite closing physical locations. These changing dynamics are forcing brand teams to reevaluate their long-term business strategy and to take a more integrated approach — e.g., blending marketing with e-commerce and customer care teams.
Social commerce provides a unique opportunity for your audience to discover, research, compare and purchase your products — all from within the social channels they're frequenting. Ready to create an engaging and enjoyable experience for your customers on social? We’ve prepared a few tips.
Root Yourself in Authenticity
From product design to customer experience, the secret to success for retailers when engaging with customers is authenticity, personalization and co-creation. This is even more important when speaking to Gen Z, a demographic that has more buying power than ever before. They want to have a conversation with the brands they love that goes deeper than the product itself; they want to know what a brand stands for — i.e., its purpose and values.
Gen Z craves authenticity and instantaneity over perfection. Picture-perfect ads are losing their appeal at the expense of more organic and authentic content on TikTok. People are now more aware of the values behind a product, rather than the mere product itself. Delivering immersive customer experiences that are co-created with the audience in real time, and making your promises and values come to life, is what people are seeking when determining which brand to purchase from.
Strong brand reputation is built through ongoing and transparent conversation with customers — and social listening, live chat and messaging apps make this easier than ever before.
Explore Shoppable Videos
Video is everywhere and at the heart of most viral content online. Take TikTok for example, one of today’s fastest growing apps and a platform that favors quality content. As livestreaming becomes a new cornerstone of brands' digital playbooks, many are now experimenting in the space and creating engaging experiences for their customers. According to Forbes, “livestream shopping is projected to rake in a massive $480 billion in China this year, but only $11 billion in the United States. That could change quickly, however: Facebook, Amazon.com, TikTok, Twitter, and other tech giants like Pinterest are jumping into livestream shopping hard.”
If this isn’t a sign for you to jump into social commerce, I’m not sure what is. Video, augmented reality and virtual reality are becoming more and more popular, providing an opportunity for brands to get creative, emote and connect with their audience online.
Bring it Back to Basics — 1:1 Messaging is Key
During the pandemic, we saw the big shift towards brands setting up storefronts on social media. Customers were looking for a virtual experience similar to shopping in-store, from product availability to communication with retailers. They wanted — and still want today — an ongoing conversation; a relationship that's more personal than transactional. This digital shift has created a human opportunity for brands to build trust and receive real-time feedback from their customers.
According to a recent article, “customers spend 20 [percent] to 40 percent more with companies that respond to customer service requests on social media. And companies that don’t respond to customers on social channels are losing customers year after year, with a 15 percent higher churn rate vs. businesses that do respond.”
Social media is no longer a mere touchpoint in a marketing campaign; it has become a driving force of many e-commerce strategies. Expectations have changed. Brands are moving away from a one-to-many advertising model to a one-to-one advising model.
In many ways, we’re going back to basics — a one-to-one human conversation. Brands that make their content more engaging and immersive, more authentic, and more conversational are ultimately the ones that will succeed. Messaging apps play an important role in this, unlocking personalized conversations with high-intent customers. Having a social media presence gets customers through the door, but integrating social commerce into your platform is what will build a long-lasting customer relationship.
Christine Dupuis is the senior director of product and conversational AI at Heyday, an AI-powered customer messaging platform for the world’s largest retailers, including Adidas, Lacoste, and The Home Depot. She has 10-plus years of experience building products for major companies, such as Google.