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The role of social media in e-commerce

What is the exact role played by social media in e-commerce? How does it help a business or a brand boost their sales?

Discounts. Paid referrals. Free shipping. Personalized style tips. E-commerce industry has probably tried every trick in the book to woo customers. Bad news is, you may be running out of ideas now. Partly because almost every other brand in almost any industry has an e-commerce store. And partly because the customers are now more aware of their needs and far more demanding.

In the year 2017, the amount of time spent on social media by global internet users was roughly 2.5 hours a day. This has opened a huge window of opportunity for the world of social commerce to flourish, since its advent in 2005.

That was also when Yahoo! coined the term “social commerce” which described the various tools that help shoppers in making purchases online. This included finding the right product, getting more details on it, understanding other people’s experiences with it and finally getting around to purchasing it. Since then, the social commerce industry has evolved to such an extent that we have all sorts of businesses investing in it. For instance, we have the film industry heavily promoting all their upcoming movies and ventures on the social media because that’s just how amazing its outreach is.

Social commerce is the next wave of selling

We have 2.13 billion active users on Facebook, 800 million on Instagram, 1.2 billion on WhatsApp and 1 billion on YouTube- roughly 28.5 percent of the world population. Quite a huge number of people that your business can reach out to if you work really hard on your social media marketing.
The next wave of selling is social (which is credible and predictable). User reviews by trusted/known people are more likely to lead to sales than any market research or paid advertising.

Social commerce helps in informed buying. It helps answer social questions like "who are you" and "who do you know". This, in turn, can throw up interesting answers to "what you are likely to buy". Social commerce technologies yield rich psychographic data (over and above demographics) based on which brand strategies can be fine-tuned.

Four R’s of social commerce

When social media is blended with e-commerce, it gives out a unique combination called social commerce. It has in turn four bedrocks -

1] Referrals

Social commerce should ideally have a way for users to refer products or services. A 2015 BI report said that the referral traffic through social media increased by nearly 200%. Ever since, such a traffic has been constantly on the rise.

2] Recommendations

Book social commerce website Goodreads had a clear book recommendation features that allows readers to recommend books to each other. These book recommendations are linked to Amazon store for reader to buy the books right from there. Recommendations are a powerful way to bring buyers to a purchase decision on a social commerce site.

3] Reviews

You will think that product reviews are present even on a simple e-commerce website, so how is this different? For one, social commerce reviews are more trustworthy because people they come from actual users whose profiles can be checked and verified. On a typical e-commerce stores, the paid reviews have cryptic names and it’s hard to track down the user. Reviews on a social commerce platform also allow future buyers to confirm from the review writers about the quality of products or services.

4] Ratings

Just as reviews, ratings on a social media platform or social commerce are more credible and help in building a great e-commerce brand. Social commerce sites such as Wattpad, Amazon Spark and Goodreads have successfully increased their sales by allowing users to engage in productive discussions about products.

Identifying your potential customers

Social media helps brands and businesses identify their potential customers by using tools that track user behavior. A detailed analysis of these insights could help you understand the requirements of your customers, allowing you to create products that cater to the market demand.

Engaging with your customers

The information gathered through social media can also help you engage with your customers efficiently. It really helps bridging in the communication gap that existed between brands and their consumers in the world without internet. You can now promote your new launches much more effectively by engaging with your customers online andhave a better influence by creating relevant content. Using the multiple backend metrics, you can boost your social media marketing as per the statistics.

Various social media platforms

Your business can also utilize the various types of social media platforms to promote your products. You can leverage the USP of each such social media and integrate it with your marketing strategies. For example, you could make use of Facebook Live to directly interact with your customers, enabling them to feel personally connected with your brand. You can encourage your customers to share their feedbacks and rate your products on the various social media platforms, so that it helps your other potential understand the products better and it helps them with making the purchase.

Further reading

Check out this complete guide to building a lucrative social commerce platform
You may also want to supercharge your e-commerce app with social media strategies.

Vinfotech brings out uniqueness to your social commerce by reaching your buyers before, during and after making the purchases. We integrate our knowledge of social network e-commerce solutions, buyer psychology, as well as social network development just to boost your outreach and sales to their best. With Vinfotech vSocial framework, we can custom build a robust social media platform for your market. Trust our team of experts to build it up from the scratch and help you attract your potential customers with our intricate user engagement strategies.

We provide best e-commerce solutions alongside a great social engagement platform to enhance your product discovery and engagement. For any further queries on social networking and e-commerce, feel free to contact us.

IN A NUTSHELL
  • Social media and e-commerce are a beautiful blend of the online world that connects the business to their customers
  • It provides customers with tools such as shopping lists, feedbacks and other form of user engagement
  • Roughly 28.5 percent of the world is active on the social media, giving a huge outreach to your brands and businesses
  • Social media comes with tools that can track user behavior, helping you identify your potential customers
  • The USP of various forms of social media platforms can be leveraged well to boost your customer engagement and sales

About Vinfotech

Vinfotech creates world's best social networks for employees, brands, interest groups and sports fans. We promise initial set of real engaged users to put turbo in your social network growth. Our award winning software vSocial™ allows us to build stellar customized communities faster and better. Our customers include Aston Martin, Burberry, Arabian Gulf League and Snapdeal.

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