Nearly one-third of all online shoppers, and up to half of millennials, say they’re willing and even likely to buy ecommerce goods directly from a page or post on a social network. At very least, this means you should be throwing your hat into the social shopping ring.
If you’re new to the concept, excited by the opportunity, or not sure what to do next, then keep reading.
We’ll answer the three biggest questions around the social shopping trend: why it matters, where to focus, and how to optimize for the biggest impact for your marketing dollar.
Social shopping, sometimes called social commerce, is the trend of ecommerce customers to use social networks to share purchases, reviews, coupons, and related interactions. What’s new is that now most social channels also support the direct purchase of goods as well.
For your store, it’s the ability to give the millions of people using social media in your area (geographic or topic area) to access your products and services on the social platforms they love. You can reach them through ads, sponsorships, and direct posts.
Many of your customers already have linked social activity and their online shopping. In general, 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly (this rises to 80% for monthly), and 30% of all online shoppers say they would be more likely to make a purchase on a social network.
Social shoppers look at your content or hear about your brand from their friends and then click-through to learn more about you. This gives you an engaged audience who is ripe for marketing messages, if not an outright purchase.
The social landscape is huge, so let’s narrow it down and focus on the U.S, U.K, France, Germany, and Australia, where 74% of social shoppers say there’s a link between watching videos on social media and social shopping purchases. This includes whether they’re videos you create, advertise against, or sponsor.
Oh, and 30% of online shoppers in the U.S. say they want more video from ecommerce sites, like yours.
Social networks have long known the power of video, which is why you see it promoted across all major services. LinkedIn has even enhanced its support for video this year. Video is a native feature because it increases engagement and click-throughs — stats these services can use to increase ad costs.
Here’s where your social efforts takeoff: these same platforms are now allowing people to buy directly on social pages.
Instagram is the latest to roll out a native payment option, this May, while there are a wide range of native features and ecommerce platform plugins that turn a tweet, Pinterest board, or a Facebook page into a social store. Customers no longer need to leave the social site to buy.
So, you can post or advertise videos right on the site and immediately allow the user to purchase, maximizing the social trend.
The decisive step to take in your social shopping efforts is to personalize content to optimize your efforts and returns. This may take some effort, but it can be significantly worth your while.
Start by looking at your existing tracking and traffic data for your store. What products do people look at when they come from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and your other social channels? Are product views different across these networks?
This traffic is your initial guide. The path they take and the products they view tell you what to promote and advertise on each platform. Also, look at your current social ads. Are people clicking on new products, coupons, fire sales, limited edition items, or something else? Again, refine your messaging and offers based on this data.
If you’re sending people back to your ecommerce store and not selling on a social platform, then make sure each ad, video, or other click-through goes to a page or product that is directly related to the content itself. Help them get to the interesting product and the purchase with as few clicks as possible.,
Social is also providing greater audience details that allow you to personalize for gender, age, hobbies, habits, likes, and other preferences. Use these indicators to guide your marketing and sales pitches, and you’ll be banking on proof in the social shopping pudding.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfilment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.