The Social Commerce Mistake: Get the Fix

Online buying continues to increase year over year, and in 2016, digital buyers will make up 65 percent of the US population. Social commerce is growing by leaps and bounds too as consumers look outside the cart for a more complete shopping experience. Still, many marketers remain puzzled about the channel and go about social commerce all wrong―based largely on the misperception that consumers are reluctant to purchase through social channels. Don’t make that mistake.

As consumers’ trust in online buying has increased, so have their expectations. If your brand is not actively (and properly) engaging in social commerce, you might be disappointing your customers and losing sales.

Here are three things your brand must do when creating a social commerce experience:

1. Support the Experience. The truth is that consumers are NOT asking for an instant purchase through social media. In fact, consumers continue to look past buy buttons in social media. Why? Because they want a larger shopping experience in which social media represents a part, but not necessarily the end. And it’s an important part. Turn to the ad units and social channels that allow you to give your customers the shopping experience they are looking for.

2. Tell a Story. Give your consumers the information they need to make a purchase. That information may come in the form of product ads, peer reviews, endorsements, or cute bunny photos. (Yes, sometimes entertainment is the answer.) Telling the purchase story is key to allowing customers to use their trusted online buying behaviors on social channels.

3. Reward Your Customers. It is important not only to make the social commerce experience positive, but also to reward your customers for their behaviors. Encourage consumers to purchase through social media with an incentive. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to provide a discount or coupon. Encourage social purchases through presale access, exclusive content, select product availability, free shipping, easy exchanges, or something as simple as a special checkout message.

When it comes to social commerce measurement and attribution, the more metrics, the better. Gather hard ROI numbers and learn as much as you can about your consumers’ behaviors. In addition to demographics, study click rates and sales rates by channel, time between first impression and purchase, and in-store traffic influenced by social media.

At a minimum, your social commerce measurement strategy should include an analytics provider like Google Analytics, conversion event tracking, third-party tracking tags for each social channel, and appended URL generation for tracking sales details.

Social commerce can be a challenging medium to get right. Take these measures, and you’re well on your way.