What is social commerce & how to use it effectively?
With the advent of digitalization, e-commerce has over the years flourished and given rise to social commerce. In this blog, we would deal with the meaning of social commerce, the emergence of social commerce & how it can effectively boost online business.
Meaning of social commerce
Social commerce is simply making use of social media platforms to facilitate e-commerce transactions. A person nowadays on average spends about two hours on social media every day. Therefore it becomes easier for the customers to buy products while scrolling through their favorite entertainment apps. Businesses have started using social media platforms to not only advertise products/ services but also enable customers to make instant purchases without having customers leave the social media platforms.
This has been made possible with social media shoppable ads, Facebook marketplace, and Instagram shops which enables a customer to shop online from their preferred sellers' social media handles.
A brief history of social commerce
The word social commerce was coined in the year November 2005 by Yahoo. Shoposhere by Yahoo was the first-ever platform to conceptualize the idea of social commerce. The ‘pick list’ feature in Shoposhere allowed users to review the products & comment on the same. Since then social commerce has emerged as a global activity.
The pandemic has given much significance to the phenomenon of social commerce. User activity and dependence on social media have increased to such an extent that users are more likely to abandon carts if they have to leave the app. In order to turn User engagement into purchases, social commerce emerged as a viable solution which was first tapped into by Facebook in 2007 with shoppable ads. Instagram followed suit and now has become one of the leading customer acquisition strategies in e-commerce.
Benefits of using social commerce tools
- Mass Reach — Social media platforms are getting more & more users every day. With more than 1 billion active Facebook users, the right tools and methods can help businesses reach the maximum number of people in a minimum amount of time. Therefore there remains no doubt that social commerce can be an effective strategy to convert leads to customers for your online store.
- Cost-effective — The most substantial feature of social commerce is that you can grow your sales by spending just a minimum amount of money. This is a much more sure shot method than creating a large banner or sending cold emails or using the redundant method of distributing pamphlets, which might or might not be able to attract the attention of the targeted audience.
- Wider Reach — A country like India provides a large user base for social media platforms. India has approximately 180 million active Instagram users. Therefore social commerce helps a business to reach a much larger audience than any other method of advertisement.
- Saves Time — Social commerce saves the time of the sellers as well the buyers. While sellers can list their products and create a single effective advertisement, users can buy their favorite products while scrolling through their favorite social media apps. It saves much more time than reaching customers door to door or sending cold emails.
Though social commerce seems very easy, to begin with, the story can be quite different sometimes. Not using the resources and the tools effectively might lead you to lose customers instead of gaining them.
So here are some effective ways to use social commerce.
- Active seller and buyer interaction — Social media platforms provide a way of interaction between sellers and buyers thus making their bond more permanent. Earlier e-commerce websites did not have such facilities but now it is possible with just a few clicks. The sellers can easily address the queries of the customers on social media posts/ messenger and DM’s. If you are a seller on Instamojo/Woo-Commerce try mezchip’s omnichannel customer support platform for effective customer engagement across channels. For more efficient interaction, an automated chatbot can be of great assistance. The automated chatbot will help address the initial query of the users thus saving a lot of time and repeated queries. Customers can also receive additional information about the products they are willing to buy.
- The linking game — New features added on Instagram and Facebook are meant for promoting social commerce. Instagram Shop allows the user to create a single advertisement and share it on Facebook as well. These added features are affordable and save the time of the users as well.
- Community Shopping — Social media encourages community shopping or group buying. In this method customers tag, share, add their friends, family & acquaintances to buy products from the websites they have shopped from previously and have liked. In order to promote community shopping sellers can give occasional discounts on products and can also reward the customers for bringing more customers for social shopping. This method is used by multiple e-commerce websites and is one of the most effective methods to attract a larger audience.
- Building brand awareness — Creating awareness about the brand is a very important aspect as it creates a connection between the buyers and the sellers. Brand awareness may include factors like stating the uniqueness of the particular brand, how the brand is different from the others in the market. Creating a positive image about the brand invites more customers and ones who are likely to stay loyal.
- Honest reviews — It is often suggested to cut out the negative reviews on social media platforms and put only the positive reviews. This method often backfires as it can mislead the customers. Honest reviews, therefore, become an important factor. Genuine reviews about the products guide the customers and create a positive impact on them and they are likely to buy products that are suitable to them. The customers have assurance about the products they are buying and they also build trust towards the brand. This method helps in bringing potential customers.
Social commerce in India is now valued at $1.5 to $2 billion and in a couple of years, it is expected to grow from $16 to $20 billion. It is to have a significant impact on the economy in the upcoming years. Thus large-scale and small-scale businesses can expect a boost in sales and revenue by social commerce. But it requires efficient customer support and Mezchip offers the required customer support platform to grow such business.