02 Jan All You Need To Know About Social Shopping
All You Need To Know About Social Shopping
Social media has taken the world by a storm. From Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, literally, anyone with a smartphone or computer has, on average, two social media accounts and log in more than once a day. As individuals update their statuses and follow what friends are doing on social media, the platforms also serve as one of the most powerful forms of online marketing. This has led to the emergence of new marketing methods like social shopping.
With social shopping, e-commerce platforms have been able to increase conversions and generate new leads. The marketing strategy has also made it possible for the easy introduction of new products in addition to striking up relationships with customers.
Internet retailers estimate the e-commerce industry to have reached more than $3.5 trillion, and the figures are still growing. E-commerce platforms can expect sales to continue to increase, but there will be a change in the way people purchase products. Gone are the days when people will be clicking on the buy buttons just because they exist. Rather, potential customers will need a reason to buy, and this reason is created via social interaction.
So, what is social shopping? What are the key things that you need to know to make the most of it?
In this article, you will learn more about social shopping and how you can leverage its power. If you would like to learn more about how social shopping could be of benefit to your business, get in touch with us at edirect. Our strategist will be eager to speak to you and explore all available options. Let’s get started!
What is social shopping?
Social shopping is a combination of e-commerce, also called online shopping, and social media networking in order to enhance the user’s shopping experience. It relies on the fact that with social media, people have some of the most exciting online experiences. Thus, the marketing strategy seeks to capitalise on these experiences with the aim of increasing sales.
Generally, social shopping uses a technology that mimics social interactions that can be found in physical stores and malls. As mobile devices become common, this technology goes beyond the online world to offline shopping as well.
On a social shopping website, you will find users being encouraged to purchase in groups so that they can receive bulk discounts. It could also track a friend’s purchase and recommend it. In some marketplaces (C2), it is possible to purchase directly from friends.
Categories of social shopping
Social shopping is a broad term that can be split into five unique categories. These are:
- Shopping Marketplaces
- Group Shopping Sites
- Recommendation Engines
- Shared Shopping
- Shopping Communities
Below is a breakdown of each of these categories:
These bring together buyers and sellers so that they can connect and transact in a seamless manner. You can understand this category by looking at its offline analogy – the farmer’s market. Independent sellers are brought together and given a platform to display and sell what they have to offer.
The marketplace has plenty of methods that buyers and sellers can explore to connect and communicate as they transact. In this case, the e-commerce is more of a facilitator for sellers and an engine for buyers to look for products.
Relies on the idea of providing buyers with goods at a reduced rate provided a considerable number agree to make a purchase jointly. The genesis of group buying can be traced back to China, where the term team buying was often used. Group Buying websites have recently emerged as a force to be reckoned with.
On such a website, a “deal of the day” is created, and then a limit is set on the number of people who need to participate in the sale. Even though the store ends up providing hefty price cuts, it benefits by having access to new customers. This business model is one of the simplest to carry out both locally and globally.
People prefer buying products based on suggestions from friends and other shoppers. The psychology here is that if others liked it, you too might be pleased. The analogy for this approach can be seen in the way the offline or online buyer normally asks for advice from fellow shoppers.
Traditionally, major retail platforms provided a way to leave product reviews. However, recent times have seen these platforms insist on obtaining and giving advice to strangers. Since there is no financial incentive in whether or not another person will buy based on your advice, it is expected that you would be more frank with the advice shared.
Pen and paper shopping has been used for a long time and is effective, but it can be made better. In the case of a paper shopping list, it is more of a personal list. However, there is a way to share the shopping list. This is done via shared shopping. It is more like making a shopping list at any time and place without needing the other person to be present while still involving them. Shared shopping ensures that you argue less since everyone is involved from start to finish.
An avenue for like-minded people to come together to discuss and shop. The participants share information regarding products, offers, prices, and deals. On some platforms, it can be possible to create a custom shopping list and share it with other shoppers. Even though synonymous with the fashion industry, shopping lists are not exclusive in this industry.
“Here at edirect, our e-commerce experts understand the ins and outs of social shopping.”
tips to make the most of social shopping
#1: Select the right platform
To get the most out of social shopping, it is paramount that you do it via the right platform. It only makes sense that you have created an online store if it is on a platform that’s capable of generating leads regularly. The last thing you want is to create a campaign that is never checked by your target audience.
To determine the right platform for your social shopping efforts, you want to begin by analysing the target audience. Get to know the participants in your audience and where they mostly engage. In doing so, you will determine the platforms that they regularly use. This helps you to choose one that will generate the most response. If your users engage on more than one platform, be sure to factor this into your campaign.
#2: Target your audience
Your social shopping plan ought to focus on the target market. The main motivation behind social shopping is to increase conversion rates. In order to achieve this aim, you must come up with a campaign that concentrates on products which will motivate the target audience.
You have the best chance of achieving higher conversions if you pay more attention to products that the audience actually want to purchase. They ought to be enticing enough for them to spend their money on willingly. To identify these products, start by testing out a variety as well as looking at how they’ve performed historically.
#3: Streamline the purchasing process
A successful social shopping approach requires that steps be kept to a minimum. When leads are captured, the last thing you want is for them to stop along the way because of confusing steps. Bear in mind that your leads are interested in making the purchase as soon as possible. Therefore, have a direct link that sends them to the checkout page and ensures that this stage is kept brief.
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The essence of social shopping is being able to buy things without feeling as though you are in a supermarket. Your overall aim is to enjoy the social interaction and to be able to return to your social feed as quickly as possible. This can only be achieved by featuring the least number of steps during the checkout process. When that is done, you increase the number of purchases and the desire to buy.
#4: Focus on branding
Nothing works to your advantage more effectively than having a reputable brand. A brand can be built in so many ways, from the use of a unique name to the choice of colours, and even logos. With this, potential buyers and previous customers quickly recognise you and may buy just because it is you and they have trust in your products.
A good brand ensures a successful social shopping campaign.
People quickly recognize you and are more comfortable sharing their credit card details or PayPal address while checking out. This translates to more conversions for the business.
#5: optimise for mobile
A bigger percentage of social shopping engagement will be through mobile phones. Thus, you have an obligation to create a mobile-friendly experience for the audience if you want your efforts to pay off. A mobile-friendly checkout is one of the ways to do so. The checkout page should never be confusing for the customer. The customers must see key buttons at a glance.
Also, mobile users should never struggle with making payments. For instance, you might offer a way to securely save information for easy future purchases.
The future of social shopping
Modern shoppers do not care about overly spammy adverts, the authenticity of which cannot be validated. As ads continue to sound too good to be true, more customers want proof while selecting a brand to trust – proof often derived through word of mouth across social media.
As social media grows, customers can quickly find reviews on major networks. The good thing about social media users is that they never refrain from sharing feedback about a product, be it positive or negative. This kind of usability means that more people will be flocking to social platforms for advice before they buy a product. As a result, the use of social shopping is sure to grow.
Another facet of social shopping is the role played by nano-influencers. At a time when sponsored posts have become the order of the day, potential buyers are aware that celebrities are motivated by the financial aspect of choosing a product to promote.
Given that fewer consumers depend on paid ads, it is not surprising to see 70% of buyers do so after being advised by friends and family members. Therefore, nano-influencers have more impact on your business and will continue to do so.
Social shopping benefits both retailers and customers. As a retailer, you get to generate more revenue than you would have with traditional marketing techniques. On the other hand, your customers receive genuine feedback, some of which you can also use for the betterment of services delivered. At edirect, we specialise in running effective social shopping campaigns. Contact us today to take your business to the next level.