“Just Like F1, Social Commerce Needs Precision and Speed” by Nick Verlaney via Total Retail

“Just Like F1, Social Commerce Needs Precision and Speed” by Nick Verlaney via Total Retail

With its feedback, creation and conversation loops, social commerce mimics circuit-based Formula 1 races. And success on the track and on social media isn’t purely about who is the quickest. Instead, it’s about strategy, precision and avoiding critical mistakes.

The Opportunity With Social Commerce

Social inspires purchases in the moments that matter, and every part of the shopping experience — from product discovery and research to checkout — takes place on social platforms.

While your audience is in-app, they’re comparing you to competitors all in one place, shortening the consideration stage with product details at their fingertips. If your brand doesn’t offer social shopping experiences, it isn’t even considered. Additionally, your brand can shorten the entire customer journey with cohesive in-app shopping and purchasing experiences.

The mix of content offered on social platforms, from informative videos to sales and product releases, can keep your audience’s attention in a digitally native way. This allows you to target and retarget on social to achieve a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here are some more facts you can’t ignore:

Related story: Authenticity, Social Commerce Spur D-to-C Brand ZOX’s Growth

  • 97 percent of Gen Z consumers say social media is their top source of shopping inspiration;
  • 62 percent of 13 to 39-year-old consumers are interested in purchasing items directly from their social media feeds; and
  • 59 percent of shoppers surveyed by Google said that mobile-friendly modes of shopping are essential in deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.

Before you’re off to the races, it’s important to understand common social commerce challenges.

Mistakes to Avoid With Social Commerce

The social commerce circuit includes owned, earned and paid media, which gives your team plenty of opportunity to create, deploy and test experiences. However, that also means there’s plenty of room to stumble. Here’s a head start on mistakes to avoid with social commerce.

Spinning Your Wheels

Not having a unified social media strategy and the right technology before the first transaction is sure to lead to engine trouble. Avoid technical difficulties by mapping out the customer experience and how your technology will support full-funnel tactics.

Cutting Corners

Nothing spells trouble like clunky shopping experiences. Be aware of these three common obstacles:

  1. Product availability: It’s frustrating for shoppers to see promoted products being out of stock. Brands should constantly monitor and pause in-flight campaigns for products that have supply issues to reduce customer frustration.
  2. Returns vary: 43 percent of consumers think they need to contact the brand about returns, while about 15 percent know to contact the social network, making communication with customers key.
  3. Less is more: 38 percent of consumers say it’s important to have fewer steps in the checkout process.

Picking the Wrong Driver

Creative drives social media results. Don’t forget to prioritize it accordingly to capture audience attention. In fact, 56 percent of a brand’s sales lift can be attributed to the creative quality.

Ignoring the Fans

Forty-four percent of social commerce consumers say the biggest mistake a brand can make is not responding to support questions on social. Don’t wait until the check engine light is on to engage with consumers.

Crossing the Finish Line

eMarketer predicts that U.S. social commerce sales will reach $79.64 billion by 2025. It’s a new frontier, and now is the time to start your social commerce journey. An oversimplified starting point is this three-step game plan:

  1. Complete a tech audit to understand your capabilities.
  2. Establish a strategy.
  3. Activate your social plan.

While it can be a large undertaking, the track is on your side and you can always evaluate and adjust on the next circuit.

Nick Verlaney is the director of social media at Merkle, a customer experience transformation business partner to the Fortune 1000.

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BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Crystal Media (who can help you significantly with your social media marketing) has joined BRA as a Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced directly to Crystal, Pauline or one of their remarkable Crystal Media team members via email, please send an email request to me at – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director

– Doug Works, Executive Director BRA

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