Since Twitter and Facebook introduced gateways to their sites, companies that previously used social media solely as an engagement tool are seeking new opportunities to convert consumer relationships into sales. Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola have used f-commerce to solicit business there. As shopping moves to the social media space, marketers should hold true to consumers’ natural inclinations. In essence, the venue may have changed, but the act of shopping has always been social. Accordingly, 38% of consumers say they use their mobile phones to call a friend for advice while in a store. Knowing this, it makes sense for brands to meet consumers where these two behaviors intersect—in social commerce.
Social commerce presents the opportunity to interact with target groups while also encouraging sales while brands are top-of-mind. The terrain is fertile for a little experimentation and creativity; however, brands should proceed with full knowledge of consumer psychology. In this regard, brands must be careful not to seek out a magical formula to make conversions, but instead put the focus back on the consumer.
A study by Havas Media Social and Lightspeed Research in 2011 found that 44% of people aren’t convinced that social commerce is useful and only 11% have actually bought anything so far. While it is tempting to draw conclusions like Chief Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Blum of Taco Bell’s parent company Yum! Brands did when he said “We haven’t even been able to give away the food, never mind figure out how to sell it online” did, the very fact that over 50% of consumers are logged into Facebook while shopping online shouldn’t be ignored. Strategy is the biggest dilemma facing brands looking to create a sales funnel on social media and many haven’t quite figured out how to turn engagement into tangible sales.
Picture this: you’ve spent time researching and selecting items on an e-commerce site, put the items in your shopping cart, get distracted and then come back to make your purchase only to discover that your shopping cart has expired. Instead of taking on the task of locating your items all over again, you simply decide not to buy. This scenario is far from isolated as recent studies show that 7 out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned before completing check-out. Specifically, Forrester’s reports that 27% of consumers abandoned shopping carts to make price comparisons and 24% said they wanted to save their carts for a later time.
Simply extending the time-out period then could mean converting half of the $18 billion revenue loss industry-wide through shopping cart abandonment. This is where Spanx, an online shapewear and hosiery retailer, gets it right. It sends a gentle reminder of shopping cart items through email to encourage (and remind) consumers to complete check-out along with an extra incentive—free shipping. Bring similar a similar user-friendly strategy to social commerce and consumers will remember, act and discuss.
Here are some ways brands can maximize social commerce conversions:
- Engage customers using consumer psychology.
- Give clients a reason to talk about your brand and the platform to do it.
- Give clients the necessary tools to research during the pre-purchase phase (reviews, price comparisons, chat mechanisms).
- Offer consumers something of value to complete check-out.
- Make it easy for customers to share during pre- and post-purchase phases.
- Make your offer exclusive.
- Send well-timed cart abandonment messages.
What other consumer-centric tactics would enhance social commerce shopping experiences?