It’s no secret that the world of online commerce is rapidly evolving. Just when you think you’ve nailed your e-commerce game, another major shift occurs and it can be hard to keep up.
With the advent of social commerce channels such as Instagram shops, Facebook marketplace, and other peer-to-peer networks, gurus are swiftly reassessing their online practices and following the social commerce trends.
What Is Social Shopping?
Social shopping is a system that attempts to mimic the traditional shopping experience; however, unlike the type of shopping we are used to, social shopping utilizes social media as a marketplace for buyers and sellers to converge.
Our view at Grammedit is to make shopping a truly “social” activity. The definition of social shopping includes all pre-shopping research that occurs online, like reading peer reviews and sharing a post-shopping review.
Obviously, small business will have to pay attention to how they implement their social selling strategy given that customers tend to start their search for what to buy by gathering social proof from their peers. This article will discuss the anatomy of social shopping and how customers can optimize their selling skills.
The Framework of Social Shopping
While conventional shopping requires the need for a physical marketplace such as strip malls, outlets, and traditional marketplaces, social shopping conditions are satisfied by the availability of:
- A peer-to-peer platform for displaying items, direct message marketing, and order fulfillment.
- An independent review website to form opinions and conclusions.
The Evolution of Social Shopping
Before now, it was hard to imagine the possibility of completing a transaction on social media. We all believed social media was a place to connect with old friends, put out our best pictures and pretend we were living life to the fullest.
Numerous platforms began to spring up as technology gained more ground, and business owners realized they had to decide between getting on board the social frenzy or face a liquidation risk.
Initially, e-commerce platforms seemed to be the new normal. Niche websites were all over the place, selling items to people from various parts of the world. However, one major problem lingered: sponsored ads were gulping a large chunk of the profit.
The Social Shopping Experience And What Customers Need
Although there are billions of people across the numerous social media platforms, existing companies are continually in search for small business marketing tools to gain customers’ attention, including those in your target audience.
Sometimes, your customer may not have the luxury of a deep dive on your business page, scouting for more information before they can purchase your product.
You have to be able to meet the customer’s needs in a manner that is most convenient for them. Make the shopping process intuitive, and eliminate as many obstacles as possible to making a purchase. The starting point of an effective social selling game should be simple and streamlined towards superior customer experience, compared to your competitors.
Here are six key expectations that customers have as they consider doing business with you:
When a customer is browsing through your online shop, they are sometimes looking for a reason to be conviced to part with their money. Without the right inspiration, they will not feel the impulse to commit to your business. This is why you need to structure your online marketplace to resonate with your target audience’s personality traits.
A certified Grammedit seller that has implements an inspirational social selling form is Niki Burnham of Grown Vintage in New Brunswick Canada. For example, their use of a stop motion video series below to promote their products is surely entertaining but it also captures the conscious and creative persona of their ideal customers really well. What’s more inspiring than an entertaining motion picture production to thrift customers who lean on the creative fashionable spectrum?!
Businesses that create content that resonates with users personally often record a considerable amount of success in social ecommerce. The visual aesthetics and captions of social media posts are key in making this connection.
For example, you sell feminine products, consider adopting a pink theme with love-shaped animations that will be appealing to your customers. A social seller who sells male shaving sticks will be doing great harm to their business if they adopt a pinkish theme, as most men may feel too embarrassed to spend adequate time on a female-themed platform.
Adequate research should also be carried out to understand your target audience and the current trends in their age range. Stylish slogans and trendy vocabulary will promote sales on a page that targets teenagers more effectively than a social marketplace for senior citizens. However, most customers would like to know if they can trust the brand before purchasing.
2. Trust in your brand
If you claim to offer a product that can completely eradicate blemishes and give people a spotless face, then your product better is true to your descriptions. Customers want to trust you, but sometimes it’s not just about the money for them—they want to believe your product can solve their long-lasting challenges.
Before a customer decides to purchase your product, they will often scout around for reviews from previous buyers. An easy way to build trust is by referring potential customers to genuine reviews by legitimate customers on independent platforms such as Google, Grammedit, and Trustpilot.
Once you gain the trust of a customer with a product that delivers more than it promises to, your business’s authenticity among the customer’s social circle will be verified and your chances of increasing sales will increase exponentially.
Shoppers know that they are the kings and queens of the market and they oftentimes wield this advantage without remorse. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to optimize your sales process to be as simple and hurdle-free as possible. That is why modern e-commerce platforms like Shopify have made shopping as easy as point, click and pay.
Another feature that businesses should streamline in the social selling arsenal is their customer service. Users expect fast, insightful and supportive feedback and want to shop with brands where they know they can expect a top-notch buying experience and high-quality product.
Many customers will not have the time or inclination to get into the details of your products’ differences. Show that you have done your homework by highlighting the most critical specifics and contrasting them across product lines to make it easier to click the checkout button.
Customers expect brands to be engaging on social media, good at listening to what customers want, and capable of responding quickly, empathetically and personally. Some companies, such as LEGO, are already successful in this regard. Using their Gift Bot, Ralph, they respond nearly instantly on Facebook Messenger to guide users across their catalog and make suggestions.
With the increase in direct purchase options on platforms such as Instagram, some users are increasingly reluctant to abandon social media applications for micro-niche websites. Consequently, customers are beginning to expect the simple, quick, and enjoyable shopping experiences that social media offers them.
On the other hand, empower the buyers to make informed choices. Make available all of the main benefits—and tradeoffs—of your goods or services so that the consumer can choose the best option for them.
4. Social proof and transparency
Modern customers are tired of over-promotional ads that sound too real. At the moment, they want authenticity and proof that you are as glossy and unique as you claim to be.
Customers can now read actual customer feedback when browsing their favorite social media networks, thanks to social media growth. Social media users are willing to share their reviews with others, so they may post a review on a site even if they don’t follow your brand. For prospective consumers, this means an opportunity for a legitimate review of the product or service.
About 90% of shoppers use social media to read relevant consumer feedback before picking a single brand and making a buying decision. Many consumers use social media to share their reviews, whether it was a positive or negative experience. Companies must use this to their benefit to be more open and honest in their customer dealings.
Customers can navigate through the information world at their fingertips. When they see a genuine brand, they appreciate the time taken to create the bond, and this can later transform into customer loyalty. Therefore, to ensure that your clients have the best information to make a quick decision, enrich your timeline with sufficient input from your customers using feedback from independent review platforms.
To find out the top-rated review platforms for social shopping, check out: What is Grammedit?
5. Deep connection
Customers are always on the lookout for an improved experience and want to feel like they are getting a realistic connection with a person. In the Covid19 era, its not a surprise that this need is intensified since successive pandemic lockdowns has made most of us feel more isolated than we’d like to be.
This means a customer service that is attentive and highly responsive to customer’s requests will score high on a client’s value scale. Any mode of communicating virtually with customers that can mimick real life scenarios is a proven way to promote the personal connection. For example, having someone on standby to address their needs is great but it will do little to no good if their virtual chats are dull lacking personal cues. To overcome this, why not make strategic use of uplifting emojis like a simple smile or a thank you emoji.
Customers feel empowered when they have person-to-person communication while deciding to buy a specific product. This is an excellent strategy and one that most businesses surprisingly overlook.
How you handle your customers’ complaints and inquiries reveals a lot about your attitude towards them. Do you prioritize their satisfaction? Are you responding to them within a reasonable timeframe? Observing your competitor’s performance in delivering excellent customer service will help you brainstorm and generate ideas of your own.
Social media offers an excellent way for companies to push their customer service to the next level. For example, live chat services will not only reduce costs, but users will also be happier with easier access to your brand.
6. Transparency And Authenticity
A final but crucial step in facilitating a positive customer experience is to be as open as possible about your products or services.
Nobody likes to be entangled in a mystery, so transparent reviews from past customers will set the stage for what future customers can expect from your business.
If you let them know that customer views matter, it will eliminate the anxiety that they might have about the value of what you’re offering. One way to foster transparency with your community is by sharing a link to the reviews on an independent platform about your business on your social media page.
Your business is sure to score a high mark on the authenticity scale if you engage them in this manner. However, when appropriately wielded, an unpleasant review can be the launchpad for a prominent sales strategy.
Even when things go wrong, adopting a good customer service approach can help salvage your brand’s value and make you seem completely honest if you are:
- responsive; and
- helpful in proffering solutions to problems.
The world is currently witnessing the growth and expansion of social sales, which is an incredible phenomenon. Now is the time to begin identifying your target market and expanding your capabilities. Take the time to figure out where the customers are, what they want, and how they communicate. Then, start engaging.
There is nothing more discouraging to a customer than a sales rep who seems uninterested when a customer walks into a store in real life.
A store that has engaging and attractive visuals will be more likely to gain patronage from fun-loving individuals. Because similar traits attract, easygoing and fun-personified stores will not have a hard time converting fun-loving individuals into customers.
What expectations do you have of businesses on social platforms? We want to read them and take notes from you as you share them in the comments section.