It’s that time of year again: You’re looking for the best birthday gift for that special someone in your life.
Twenty years ago, you may have started your search at the nearby Macy’s.
But times – and the nature of social commerce – have changed.
Instead, you open your laptop and perform a quick search at your favorite online retailer.
According to eMarketer, eCommerce sales in the United States will grow to $491.5 billion by 2018.
With the rise of eCommerce and social media, there’s been a major push towards social commerce, where retailers and social networks are partnering to offer consumers a more convenient online shopping experience.
Some examples of recent social commerce trends in action:
Of course, these are just a few of the ways that social commerce is impacting social shopping trends.
In order to improve customer retention strategies and build brand loyalty, companies must understand the complexities of social commerce and identify opportunities to maintain customer engagement strategies after the initial purchase.
So, why is social commerce important, and how can your business benefit from it?
The ever-changing landscape of social commerce is influencing how businesses approach consumers in the marketplace.
When you look at examples of social trends, you can see that they’ve impacted the customer decision making process and how we interact with technology.
Awhile back, it was sufficient enough just to send product updates on Twitter. Now, companies must create an online experience equipped with product videos, peer reviews, and comparison charts.
Social media channels give consumers a new way to interact with brands 24/7.
As millions of people log on to their Facebook accounts, they can discuss grievances directly with sales reps, comment on the latest trends with friends, and post pictures of their favorite products.
Whether purchasing physical or digital products, marketers need to realize that shopping is a highly emotional endeavor.
Successful brands see these campaigns that pull on shoppers’ heartstrings as strategies to increase sales.
For instance, Coca-Cola launched its Share-a-Coke campaign, where popular first names were printed on the bottle labels, instead of the Coke logo.
Each bottle also displayed the hashtag #ShareACoke to remind drinkers to post pictures on social media.
This campaign combined online and offline sharing (through hashtags and real-life sharing) to build buzz that made people happy to drink Coke and share it with their loved ones.
This is one example of social commerce taking a different view of what “social” means in our increasingly online and offline lives.
Social commerce is deeply rooted in creating active communities. Here are a few examples of social commerce strategies built from community-driven commerce.
This sales model lets consumers directly participate in the designing or the funding of a product.
Platforms, like Kickstarter, let shoppers contribute money to creative projects they like.
Other companies turn to their customers for inspiration for new product ideas.
Either way, participatory commerce is about customers getting involved, hands-on, to influence the final outcome of a project.
Social shopping involves online shopping with family and friends.
It’s an effort to mimic the offline experience of hanging out with your buddies at the mall. Companies replicate these experiences with online chat and forum features.
One example is how fashion company Rent the Runway lets customers share photos and submit reviews.
This helps the buyer learn more about how the clothes actually fit. Thus, making it easier for shoppers to choose the right outfits and feel as they would if they had a friend in tow at the store.
Similar to offline, sometime shoppers need a little assistance. This social commerce method lets tastemakers create shopping lists, and then people can shop from the experts’ recommendations.
ShoeDazzle gives their shoppers a personal stylist experience. They curate major trends in shoes and handbags. New members take a fashion quiz, and then receive weekly suggestions based on their specific tastes.
Another example is the online shop AHALife. It offers curated, one-of-a-kind luxury products. This brand partners with industry leaders and innovators to give customers a distinctive shopping experience.
Visitors can follow the curators and purchase their products.
Both of these examples show how eCommerce stores are recreating the live shopping experience by adding a social recommendation element into the mix.
According to Moz, data uncovered that 67% of consumers are impacted by online reviews.
Allowing customers to not just write and read reviews, but share them with friends across social networks, allows people to recommend their favorite brands and products online.
And in this respect, online shopping has an advantage. Social networks allow brands to target similar audiences, so the recommendation of one person is read by a person similar to them.
This word-of-mouth marketing boosts trust and spreads your brand like wildfire.
Customers enjoy shopping in social settings, but they don’t want to be constantly interrupted by tracking tools.
Shopping is not declining anytime soon.
That’s why it’s increasingly important for brands to meet their customer’s expectations by crafting a better shopping experience.
Social commerce is helping brands expand beyond the usual online boundaries. Companies are gaining and maintaining long-term, trustful customer relationships.
Online communities can nurture brand loyalty with the support of relevant shopping experiences.
Increasing visibility and improving sales, it’s safe to say that social commerce is here to stay.
Schedule a demo with one of our marketing consultants to learn how Yotpo generates reviews and turns them into sales.
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