Like an e-commerce or an m-commerce, social commerce is also carried out over the digital medium. As a subset of e-commerce, social commerce primarily involves harnessing on the reviews, ratings and the feedback given by the online users and customers for online marketing and promotion of products.
It allows the online users to share their experiences about the product quality, services offered, and also hints about the integrity and trustworthiness of service providers, online partners and vendors.
These collaborative experiences posted by the actual buyers on the shopping websites or over the forums, enables the first time buyers to take informed decisions. The online interface enables profile view, and moderates the review system to filter out the most genuine reviews to assist buyers.
Smart analytics techniques are often employed to understand user’s online behavior to show ad-links and banners that are most appropriate. Many social media promoters also feature free products and huge discounts to foster more traffic to their website and also persuade customer revisit.
Social commerce platform allows the buyers to rate, review and share feedback with others, thus helping the new customer in making informed decision. A customer could view products, read specifications, carry out research, compare products and opt to buy.
Ever growing indulgence of e-commerce and social media websites has been a major push towards social commerce. Some of the world’s renowned brand like Amazon and eBay lets their consumers add items to shopping carts with hashtag like #AmazonCart and #eCart.
Famous social networking website Facebook hosts ‘Buy’ button to provide one touch interface that instructs the customer to purchase the product right from the facebook page of the brand.
As online relationships become more personal and as shoppers connect more directly with the brands, one foresees huge opportunity to persuade customers in buying. Coca- Cola for instance, launched its Share-a-Coke campaign, where popular first names were printed on the bottle labels, to facilitate purchases from the buyers with the same name.
Soft drink bottles also displayed the hashtag #ShareACoke to remind drinkers to post selfies of them with coke on social media. This campaign combined online and offline sharing (through hashtags and real-life sharing) to build buzz that made people happy to drink Coke and share it with their loved ones.
Social commerce strategies are the methods usually adopted by the online marketers to create active communities. Listed below are four common social commerce strategies often employed to improve customer experience:
Participatory commerce : It is focused towards participation and involvement of the customers. Through market research, inviting innovative ideas, and requesting feedback from the customer, the ultimate product quality and the overall selling experience(online/offline) is improved further.
Collaborative shopping: Social shopping may involve shopping with friends or family. It allows the users to share pictures, discuss products and make a purchase with a one touch ‘buy’.
Choicest styling: Many social commerce websites provide shoppers with a personal stylist experience. They curate major trends in most selling products like shoes and handbags. Information is collected and tastes are inferred through online quizzes and suggestions received. Thus allowing each customer a unique shopping experience.
Peer recommendation: Above 50% of the online users are impacted by the reviews and ratings given by others. Customer write and read reviews to share them with friends, family and the social network to recommend their favourite brands and review services.
Current trending social commerce websites are equipped with product videos, peer reviews and comparison charts. As millions of people log on to their Facebook accounts, they can discuss grievances directly with sales reps, comment on the upcoming trends with friends, and post pictures of their favourite products.
Social commerce is helping Companies to inspire and maintain a long-term, trustful customer relationships. By increasing visibility and improving sales, social commerce is expected to boost the customer experience in the years to come.