Social commerce is a new take on the oldest trend in shopping. If you’re not familiar with this term, social commerce refers to a more interactive way of buying and selling.
Digital selling isn’t new – ecommerce has given us mega platforms to buy anything and everything under the sun. From Amazon and Alibaba, to person-to-person outlets like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, even places like Etsy and eBay make it easy to conduct digital transactions for rare or original items that would historically take place at craft shows or flea markets.
Social commerce is a new spin on this old approach. It can start with shopping directly from social networks but also makes it easy to connect directly with the business, rather than going through a third-party retailer. This creates a personal and immersive experience for everyone.
The buyer can take their questions straight to the source, and more importantly, return for future purchases. A good experience can go a long way to building loyalty, especially if there’s a personal contact made. This can also include a business sincerely working to fix a mistake – this shows they generally care about customer service and stand behind their products, rather than a generic “sorry, here’s a refund.”
Social commerce also has benefits to the business. Sellers can get a better idea of their customer base and also minimize some of their efforts working with larger retailers.
Social commerce relies on word of mouth and reputation, trusting in testimonials, reviews and referrals to drive traffic. It’s helpful for an influencer to endorse a product or service is, but having that direct connection to the seller becomes the final destination in the buyer journey, creating a trust-based selling strategy.
The appeal of social commerce goes back to the model of shopping where you can connect directly with the producer. It’s the same approach that makes farmers markets remain popular in many communities – rather than getting your produce at the grocery store, you can talk right to the farmer who grew it. You can get to know them personally, and they can also give you some recommendations.
Essentially social commerce adds a personalized touch and better service to online shopping, and it can offer unique perks unavailable for “analog” shopping or traditional e-commerce can offer. With those features come new and different responsibilities for the seller.
The purchasing process is generally faster, and social commerce sites should be designed with the knowledge that some people might be coming to learn about the business, but others might be coming to browse and buy.
All aspects of the buyer journey should be smooth and seamless, including looking at products and making an order. This means your catalog should be easy to look through from any device, not a big bulky download that looks bad on a mobile phone. Ecommerce platforms should be compliant and secure, so customers feel comfortable sharing their personal/financial info. Social commerce puts power back into the businesses, instead of relying on how well a third-party storefront sells your products.
Social commerce also encourages businesses to put more attention to their social media presences, since this becomes a primary entry point for potential buyers. This means always keeping a page updated and responding quickly to questions. It means your designated poster or posters do a good job of speaking for your brand and not themselves. It also means inviting page guests to come inside to learn more.
ringID, is a social commerce platform designed to help people connect in these ways. The multidimensional social network lets members share text and video messages and provides various ways to access other features vendors might like, such as news feeds, entertainment info, stream videos, TV shows, and more.
“The future of shopping really is a return to the model that we had in the past: strong customer service and easy transactions, but with some exciting digital options,” a Ayrin Islam, ringID CEO and Co-Founder, said. “Buyers feel better about being able to directly connect with a seller, and sellers benefit from that connection as well. Our robust Social Marketplace allows buyers to easily browse products and learn what other members are saying. Secure purchases bring peace of mind to both sides of the social commerce transactions.”
Online sellers, of course, can learn all about their consumer base, something that wasn’t always easy in analog days. Knowing who is buying from them, where they’re coming from, how much they’re spending, and other demographics can go a long way in helping a business identify their optimal audience and better use their resources to target prospective buyers. Then, they can bring other digital tools to bear, including personalized e-newsletters, texts, sale-focused posts, and other ways to make buyers feel special. Even social media posts that have a bit of personality can get shoppers more excited than a traditional sale message. The possibilities for social commerce continue to grow as the online world expands for global connection.