The proliferation of channels and brands embracing social commerce is wider now than ever. First, there was the rollout of Facebook Shops where businesses could create digital storefronts capable of hosting ‘catalogues’ of their products with links to purchase the product either on the retailer’s website or directly within Facebook. Little over a month later we have the news that Sephora, the mass beauty retailer, is selling more than 80 brands on Instagram checkout where shoppers will be able to make purchases either on Sephora's Instagram account or on "several" of its brand partners' accounts without leaving the Instagram platform.

What is social commerce? 

eCommerce is seamlessly integrating with social platforms as the online shopping space collides with the likes of Facebook and Instagram to accelerate the development of social commerce. It specifically relates to the selling of products directly through social media networks, something not to be confused with social media marketing. 

This rise is breeding new customer expectations with social commerce introducing the idea of a streamlined customer journey where purchases rarely take more than a handful of clicks. Alongside this, curated images that highlight the product with increased clarity, and scrollable content that makes the customer journey smooth and enjoyable partly highlight why social commerce’s stock is on the up. 

The outcome of this development is an environment where the onus is placed back upon eCommerce websites to up their game with customer journey optimisation likely to include updates to the UX and UI at the very least. Soon the idea of filling in pages and pages before purchasing a product will be obsolete as the boundaries get pushed. Pixelated images will be dead on successful sites. Non-responsive pages will push purchases away. 

Social commerce’s impact and how will change behaviours 

Driven by increasing consumer demands as a result of the likes of social commerce, eCommerce sites will do well to take heed of successful measures used on social media sites. Some of the key developments will include: 

1. Social Proofing 

Aside from the aforementioned streamlined service, social commerce also benefits consumers as it lends itself to the idea of purchasing from within a community. What this means is that new customers who may have reservations around purchasing from your store or making decisions can now lean on social proofing. They can find what others are doing and can find reliability or social proof, something that should factor into your approach. Showcasing what others are doing or have done drives community-driven selling and this is why Cloud.IQ has also leveraged this for eCommerce websites. Find out more about how Cloud.IQ’s social proofing functionality can help you build trust and create urgency by showcasing to customers just how popular your products really are.

2. Fear of loss 

Consumer motivations do not vary too much across platforms and the fear of loss drives social commerce just like it would elsewhere. Luckily, social media platforms lend themselves to continual updates which means businesses should look to communicate with their audience about exclusive deals and also give early access to offers and promotions. Instagram’s social commerce capabilities, for example, can be augmented by the use of interactive stories where you can use product tags to highlight anything that you sell within your stories. Notably, these tools are time-sensitive, and most people will only look at them once. 

For eCommerce sites looking to leverage a similar approach, Cloud.IQ’s recommendations functionality provides merchants with the opportunity to suggest similar products to a customer in conjunction with what they have already added to their basket. This allows eCommerce sites to up their AOV but tapping into the notion that customers will add more to their basket as they deem the products to go hand in hand. Find out more about how Recommendations can help you keep up with increasing consumer demand here

3. Cross-platform consistency 

Even SMB’s are capable of hosting social commerce stores, or even multiple versions across different social media platforms. When this is the case which becomes key is consistency. Customers will be deterred if there are variations in what is being offered by the same store. Nail down those product descriptions whether it is on your website, Instagram or Facebook. These small details drive trust, and as underlined with the notion of social proofing, this plays a fundamental role in buying online. 

Cloud.IQ has helped many retailers create the ideal eCommerce journey that naturally nurtures loyal customers. Click here to find out more about how Cloud.IQ can develop this on your eCommerce website and help to build your revenue. 

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