Get to Know Social Commerce and Shoppable Posts

Get to Know Social Commerce and Shoppable Posts

Social commerce and shopper posts have been around for a while, but 2019 will be the year they truly emerge and revolutionize retail. Why? Product variety. In the past, a retail store’s product range determined its success: if it had a broad selection of products, it would have customers who came back for more. 

However, with customers increasingly shopping online from the comfort of their homes, retail shops have found that having a broad selection of products no longer guarantees success. People are now looking for something unique that sets them above the rest.

This makes social commerce and shopper posts so valuable. With these two emerging trends, retailers can offer something special that isn’t available elsewhere. Here are some of the most interesting things you need to know about social commerce and shopper posts.

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What are Social Commerce and Shoppable Posts?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what social commerce and shoppable posts are and how they work. These are terms used to identify and describe various commerce functionalities within a social media network. 

A shoppable post allows users to add a ‘shop’ button to their content to drive purchases – typically of physical goods – from the content itself. You can think of a shoppable post as a mini-website within a social network.

For example, if you’re a fashion blogger on Instagram, you could integrate a ‘shop’ button into your images to sell your favorite trendy dresses. When users click that button, they are taken to a separate page where they can purchase or continue looking at your content.

Remember that not all types of content will work well with a ‘shop’ button. For instance, if you’re a lifestyle blogger and post about food and drink, your Instagram audience is likelier to engage with you through content related to their interests. That being said, you could still use a ‘shop’ button on your food and drink images to sell a digital cookbook or bottle of spirits.

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1. Product Variety

Retail stores that successfully implement social commerce and shopper posts will significantly increase sales. The reason is simple: with more choice comes a decrease in customer dissatisfaction. 59% of customers need help choosing between brands, styles, and offers online. In an ideal world, retail stores would love to offer a broad selection of unique products that satisfy everyone’s needs. 

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However, due to cost constraints that arise from rising product variety, retail shops are forced to narrow down their product range. This means that only a small number of products are available for purchase. 

In these cases, having multiple options is a bad customer experience because it creates confusion and disorganization. When this happens, people feel like they have wasted their time and the retailer loses a sale.

The key is to create a one-stop shop for your customers where they can find exactly what they want when they want it. To achieve this, retailers should focus on increasing the variety of unique online products. It’s clear that in the near future, retailers will be doing their best to provide customers with what they want regardless of where they are (online or offline), including unique product options and more variety for online and offline shopping.

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2. Authentic Product Reviews

Even for customers who know exactly what they want and where to buy it from, the decision-making process can be highly time-consuming and frustrating. To make things worse, online reviews often contain much misinformation. This creates a dangerous situation because, with information about a product, a customer has a choice but to rely on potentially faulty feedback from strangers.

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To solve this problem, retailers should focus on incorporating authentic product reviews into their strategy. When reviews are authentic and backed up by reputable institutions like the Better Business Bureau or the FDA, consumers can be certain that the information is reliable and won’t contain significant amounts of misinformation.

3. Customer-Centric Design

Customers are at the heart of every retail business, including the design choices made within a company’s websites and other online spaces. 77% of consumers want more evidence of how a company cares for its customers, while 60% want more product information. This makes customer-centric design so important. With the right tools, like UX designers, marketers can implement digital marketing strategies geared toward customers rather than just website traffic.

By putting customers first in every decision about product information and design, retail businesses can establish a strong connection with their audience and gain their trust. Additionally, having a well-designed and simple website can make a difference. With the right design choices and a bit of strategy, retailers can ensure that their website is as user-friendly as possible.

4. Multichannel Analytics

Retailers who implement successful multichannel analytics strategies will see an increase in profitability and a decrease in operating costs. To achieve this, retailers should look towards gaining a holistic view of their customers and gaining access to all their accounts on all their devices and in all their markets. With this information, retailers can segment their audience based on what they want to achieve, and they can track the results of their strategies across channels and over time.

Having complete access to your customer’s behavior is invaluable. Depending on your business type, you may have customer support, a sales team, or a marketing team. Each of these teams can have a different perspective on what’s going on, and with complete access, it can be easier to get a full picture of the situation. With multichannel analytics, retailers can have complete insight into all their customer interactions, regardless of which channel they use to make a purchase. This makes it much easier to satisfy customers wherever they shop.

5. Personalisation

With more and more consumers shopping online, retailers have the opportunity to become more personal with their interactions with customers. To achieve this, retailers should consider using data to tailor communications and offers to each customer. 

Additionally, by having a more personalized experience, retailers can increase the chances of a customer becoming a repeat buyer or a life-long fan of their brand. To put this into practice, retailers should look towards implementing ‘loyalty programs’ where customers earn rewards for personalizing their shopping experience and interacting with brands on social media.

Personalization can be achieved through different methods, like showing customers different prices based on what they’ve bought in the past, tailoring offers to individual customers’ needs and likes, or using technology to remember a customer’s browsing history and show them relevant ads.

6. Big Data

The use of big data in retail has increased significantly over the past few years, and with the right tools, like data scientists, retailers can take full advantage of this information. Big data makes it better to understand the buying behavior of a group of consumers. This can help businesses determine what products to stock and which to avoid. 

For example, you can look into purchasing history and past purchases of a group of customers to determine whether or not they are likely to be heavy buyers of a luxury goods item or a fast-fashion one.

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Big data also makes it possible to see overall trends and determine what’s popular and not. This can be particularly useful for identifying popular products that can be successfully marketed and promoted as part of a brand’s strategy and those that aren’t effective at all and should be avoided.

7. Product Information

Even for customers who know exactly what they want and where to buy it from, researching and comparing prices and other product information can take time and effort. To make things worse, product information varies from website to website, and customers must keep logging in to different platforms to access the correct information.

To solve this problem, retailers should ensure that each product has a one-stop shop that provides accurate and up-to-date information about the product, whether the customer is in the middle of their purchase process or has already made a purchase. Accurate product information means that a customer will know what they’re buying and won’t have to worry about missing out on any important details due to inaccurate or outdated information.

8. In-Store Events

Retailers who implement in-store events, like trade shows, will see significant increases in profit and decreases in operating costs. This is especially valuable for brick-and-mortar stores that can host these events because it allows them to generate more revenue during non-peak hours when people aren’t shopping online.

In-store events allow retailers to engage with customers, increase brand awareness, and drive purchase decisions. To put this into practice, retailers can use in-store events to launch new products, showcase exciting changes and trends, and create memorable customer experiences. Additionally, they can use these events to gather valuable operational and marketing data that can be analyzed to inform future decisions.

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9. Omni-channel Marketing

To stay ahead of the competition, retailers should implement multi-channel marketing. This can be achieved through social media, email marketing, or in-store events. Still, it ultimately comes down to having a digital marketing strategy that integrates all the various channels.

However, rather than focusing on individual channels, retailers should look towards a complete strategy incorporating all the tools available to create and maintain a brand community.

Continue To Experiment

Social commerce and shoppable posts identify and describe various commerce functionalities within a social media network. Social commerce means making purchases through social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). At the same time, shoppable posts allow users to add a ‘shop’ button to their content to drive purchases – typically of physical goods – from the content itself.

While many social media platforms already integrate commerce functionality, users should not expect these features to appear magically on their platforms. To take advantage of these features, users must first understand what they are and how to implement them within their networks.

The above tips give you a good idea of what to look for when using social media to promote your brand. Depending on your niche, some types of content may work well with a ‘shop’ button, while others may not. Luckily, you can continue to experiment and find out what types of content work best for your brand – and your audience – on different platforms and networks.

The beauty of this is that – as long as you continue to experiment – you can be sure to find new and exciting ways to engage with your audience on social media.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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