What trends will drive ecommerce in 2019? Part 2: Social shopping
As 2018 approaches its end, many ecommerce businesses will be looking ahead to next year and planning their strategies for maximum profitability and growth.
Following on from our previous blog exploring the increasing significance of voice search for the industry, here Language Connect dives into another concept set to become more important than ever in 2019: social shopping.
Social media and shopping converge
Social shopping, or social commerce, is the coming together of social media channels – most notably Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest – and online shopping.
Managed and delivered effectively, it can provide dual benefits for ecommerce businesses and their customers. Merchants get new platforms on which to engage with people and promote their products, while consumers can enjoy a more relevant and streamlined shopping experience.
Social shopping is enabled by features such as 'buy now' buttons that allow people to navigate directly from a social media platform to a sales channel, and the ability for brands to create posts or 'stories' that include tags and links to specific products.
There were nearly 3.4 billion active users of social media as of October 2018, according to data collected by Kepios, a marketing strategy consultancy. That figure is up by ten per cent, or more than 320 million, since September 2017.
With no reason to assume this trend will be reversed anytime soon, ecommerce businesses that want to leverage all opportunities to strengthen their brand, build customer relationships and, ultimately, increase sales, could have a lot to gain from social shopping.
Consumers are on board
Social media is a powerful channel to connect with consumers who are engaged and ready to buy. Many internet users view pop-ups or banner ads on webpages as an irritating intrusion, but someone who is actively researching a particular product on social media will be much more open to – and indeed grateful for – the opportunity to make a quick and easy purchase in just a few clicks.
According to data compiled by Big Commerce, focusing on the US market, 30 per cent of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase through a social media network. Among millennials, this proportion increases to more than half (51 per cent).
Almost three out of ten consumers (29 per cent) would be likely to follow a brand on Facebook, while 20 per cent would be likely to make a purchase from the social network.
Heavily visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram could prove particularly useful for retailers to showcase their products. According to statistics from Pinterest itself, 73 per cent of users believe content from brands makes the platform more useful, while 61 per cent have made a purchase after seeing business content on the site.
The Big Commerce data showed that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations and reviews.
This is clearly a trend that ambitious ecommerce brands can't afford to ignore, so what can businesses do to reap the benefits of the social shopping phenomenon?
It's all about relationships
Consumers are much more likely to feel comfortable in going ahead and completing a purchase via social media if they have a positive relationship with the brand in question.
As well as now providing a platform for the sale itself to be finalised, social media channels offer great potential for businesses to build the engagement and connections required to develop customer relationships and convert prospects into sales.
Just like in real life, the nurturing of relationships via social media is greatly influenced by language. How businesses use language has a bearing on everything from brand identity and tone of voice to customer feedback and complaints handling.
According to SEO and digital marketing expert Neil Patel, 88 per cent of online customers are less likely to buy from companies that leave their social media complaints unanswered. Furthermore, nearly half (46 per cent) of users expect brands to provide customer service on Facebook.
Using the right sort of language should always be a key priority in these contexts, but it becomes an even bigger consideration for international online retailers operating in various countries.
Professional translation, localisation, moderation and user engagement services can help brands optimise their presence on social media and ensure they are making the most of opportunities in the expanding social shopping space.
With emerging markets in regions such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America currently witnessing some of the fastest growth in ecommerce, locally tailored social media strategies could be the key to international success.
Image: ipopba via iStock