How to ace social commerce

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Communicator London consider the prospect of shoppable social commerce.

Phones ey? They’re pretty useful. Back in the day, they were mainly used for ignoring your parents and downloading sweet polyphonic ringtones. But now, at the palm of your hand you can basically get whatever you want. An Uber home after a few beers – done. A McDonald’s the morning after when you’re feeling rough – definitely. A DVD of Arsenal’s 2003/04 Invincible season – you’ve probably already got it, but yeh sure!

All this, and the frequency in which we purchase on our phones, makes it even stranger that more brands aren’t utilising social commerce – shoppable social, putting products in their audiences’ day to day.

So, what’s the craic?

Social commerce is giving consumers the chance to buy products without leaving social channels – putting what they want, where they need it. With it you’re basically able to reach consumers where ecommerce just can’t. And with social discovery, direct brand interaction and an online community; social commerce lets you get into the lives of a younger audience that have previously been pretty bloody hard to reach.

If you add in that 71% of millennials consider their mobile device to be their most important shopping tool, it’s a no brainer.

But considering how much it makes sense, social commerce isn’t bringing in enough revenue for brands (yet).

Is that about to change?

Instagram is making big moves as it realises how important shoppable social is. With in-app checkouts, shoppable stickers, and an even rumours of a shopping app being made as well as newly-announced shoppable influencer posts, they're staying ahead of the curve. Up until now, it was only brands who were able to do this. But Instagram will give high-profile influencers the chance to sell to their fans.

As Instagram and other social networks are implementing more ways to adopt commerce, according to a Retail Drive report, in which 41% of brands have taken on shoppable content options from Instagram, whereas 17% make the most of Facebook’s brand pages.

Which brands are getting this right?

Last year Nike tested out Facebook’s beta AR run. To access the trainers, consumers had to enter a series of emojis into the Facebook Messenger chatbot. This led them to an AR experience which then prompted customers to purchase the shoes. They sold out in under an hour.

Wirewax, a company that creates shoppable and interactive videos, teamed up with TV show Cougar Town, to make a shoppable episode. This was a collaboration with New York designer Kate Spade, which allowed viewers to buy the products featured in the episodes.

Five ways to nail social commerce

  1. Utilise Facebook Messenger. Brands like Nike have shown how useful this can be. You can even use tools to turn any engagement into an automated chat in Facebook Messenger.
  2. Consider using Shopify plugins. There are plenty to choose from and they can help to drive sales and growth, ranging from free shipping bars to Instagram shops.
  3. Think impulse buys. It’s unlikely anyone’s going to spend a decent amount of money just by scrolling through a feed. Instead, think of products that your audience are likely to buy impulsively.
  4. Use shoppable product tags. It seems an obvious one (especially because Instagram introduced this a few years ago) but make your product purchasable in a few taps. You’ll also be able to track success and conversion.
  5. Make it as convenient as possible. Ultimately, you want to make a product relevant in your audiences’ lives. And by putting easily shoppable content on social, it’s becomes a part of their every day.

All in all, you want to make the shopping journey as easy as possible for your customers. No taking them away from your content, while giving them all they need in a few clicks. Think of it like this, you basically want to be one of those blokes selling tinnies outside a festival, not someone asking people to walk in the opposite direction to go to their bar.

Sean Kelly is a copywriter at Communicator London.

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