Social commerce, the use of social networks for online shopping, is a relatively new phenomenon compared to other forms of digital shopping. But it likely will be a major part of how shoppers buy in the near-term future.
Your shoppers are spending more than two hours per day on social media, and that number is even higher for Gen Z. They're turning to social media to connect with friends, to be entertained, and, increasingly, to shop. It’s no surprise that Instagram recently said shopping will be a core part of its platform. You can expect other social networks to follow suit.
The winning brands of the future will embrace social commerce, but it's important to not just sell on social for the sake of selling on social. Here are three mistakes retailers should avoid to do social commerce the right way:
Mistake 1: Creating Clunky Digital Experiences for Shoppers
We've all been on social media and seen something we want to buy… and then had a terrible experience. You tap on the product you want to buy, which probably kicks you to a separate web browser, and then you have to fill out your contact, shipping, billing and payment information on a tiny mobile device. If you do finish your purchase, it disrupts the flow of whatever you were doing on social media.
The best brands are using social commerce to give shoppers a seamless purchasing experience. Sometimes, that means exploring shopping options directly with the platforms or implementing remote checkout technology that lets you turn nearly every surface into a great checkout experience.
Becoming part of a shopper network can also lead to great digital experiences because your shoppers won't have to enter their information, even if they've never previously shopped on your site. That means your shoppers can see your product on social media, tap to complete the purchase with fast, one-click checkout on your site or even faster with remote checkout right in their social media app.
This delightful customer experience makes purchasing easier, and will ultimately lead to repeat purchases.
Mistake 2: Giving Up Your Brand In The Social Commerce Game
For retailers, social commerce may feel like getting in business with large online marketplaces: You want the exposure to new potential customers that it offers, but are wary of giving up your brand experience. This is a tricky balancing act because social commerce is becoming an increasingly important part of the online shopping experience.
One place where your brand can easily get lost in the shuffle with social commerce is during the final stage of checkout. In a bid to reduce friction and keep your own checkout, you may implement multiple redirects to have shoppers check out on your site. This creates a cumbersome experience for shoppers and could potentially hurt your brand experience more than it helps. Alternatively, you may have customers log into separate branded experiences like PayPal or other Alternative Payments Methods (APMs), but that means you're giving up your brand during the all-important final checkout step and rely on a third-party's experience to get the shopper to complete the purchase.
Joining a shopper network is one way to leverage the power of social commerce while maintaining your own branded experience all the way. This gives you exposure to millions of new shoppers and creates new places for customers to discover and engage with your brand through word of mouth. Most importantly, those shoppers can purchase your product in a seamless, hassle-free way and experience your carefully crafted brand experience from beginning to end.
Mistake 3: Missing the Opportunity to Create Store Accounts
With social commerce, many retailers don't prioritize creating store accounts. It's considered an added point of friction, and removing as much friction as possible in the purchasing stage improves conversion rates. After all, nearly 70% of online shopping carts get abandoned because of hiccups during checkout.
Instead of driving store accounts, you may decide to offer guest checkout, but that shopper will often leave with a subpar experience and likely won't become a repeat shopper.
Again, this is where a robust shopper network can help retailers of all sizes. Not only does it make purchases coming from social channels easy, but it also makes creating a store account as easy as one-click after the purchase is complete. Forget the clunky forms and usernames and passwords shoppers have to create. Delighting your shoppers with an easy, one-click checkout experience will get them even more excited about your brand and the benefits of a store account. Now you can generate more store accounts and valuable first-party data along with it.
With Apple and Google effectively phasing out third-party cookies in the near future, first-party data is going to be crucial to retailers when acquiring new shoppers and engaging with existing customers. Seamlessly creating store accounts equips you with the data to strengthen your post-purchase experience, better target new customers through personalized omnichannel strategies, and much, much more.
Embrace Social Commerce, But Do It The Right Way
Social commerce will be a larger part of how your shoppers engage with your brand over the next few years. Using the right tools and the power of shopper networks will help you avoid these three major mistakes that could hurt your brand more than not being on social media. It empowers you to meet your customers wherever they are, provide delightful customer experiences without having to sacrifice your brand and reclaim your direct relationship with your shoppers.