In fact, recent data shows that over 64% of online shoppers commit to spontaneous purchases every month – and we haven’t been slow in leveraging this approach for brands.
It’s incredible, really. The rigorous level of granularity that brands go to, just so they can sell you that pair of fleece lined Birkenstocks. And even more impressive that you don’t even need to leave social media to checkout. From your feed to your front door is now the norm, but it hasn’t always been this way; social commerce is a relatively recent phenomenon. Instagram Shopping’s May 2020 release was first greeted with understandable scepticism from branding purists. But the figures don’t lie. Over 130 million users interact with shopping posts on the platform every month. While on TikTok, 61% of the platform’s 1 billion users have engaged in e-commence behaviours, with nearly three quarters of them doing so when they ‘stumble across something in their feed‘. So, what are brands and marketers doing to take advantage of our impulse to buy through social commerce?
Trust is a must
Once upon a time, if you wanted to land more online sales, you’d solely focus on using high-ranking keywords in your product descriptions, but today we’re playing on a different pitch. Recent data shared from Google shows that nearly half of young people look to TikTok or Instagram instead of traditional search channels for answers. Retailers need to reconsider their approach to success online; this doesn’t mean losing focus on search rankings and visibility through search, but it means being easily discoverable and immediately recognisable on social. Which is tough, because unlike ‘traditional’ forms of marketing, we’re not just competing against same-segment brands in similar placements, we’re competing against every brand page that our target market might follow. And what’s more, marketers must understand their customers’ self-image aspirations, and thread themselves in seamlessly.
Despite what the 14 Day Social Commerce Crash Course for Dummies! might promise, sadly, there’s no one true formula to leverage trust and affinity across socials. What we do know, is that internet users no longer thrive under the influence of strobing banner ads and downloadable sales materials. Instead, they would rather conduct their own research, investing in the brands that truly align with their own personal values, and turn to dependable social publications and content creators for authentic recommendations. 2022 data shows that over 61% of consumers trust influencer recommendations over the 38% who trust brand-produced content, and this drift is set to increase as we move towards 2023.
Physical stores have been known to drive impulse sales since day one, and most of us are A-okay with that. Take IKEA, for example. Even if you’re just nipping in to buy a set of bath towels, you end up circumnavigating an entire medley of Nordic kitchens, Moroccan rugs, and gaming bedrooms. Naturally, you leave the store with a brand-spanking new media unit, three pendant lampshades, and twelve Fyrkantigs. And while marketers strive to reduce the length of user journeys online, it is possible to cash-in on the occasional upsell. And there’s a method to the madness. Over 85% of the companies that excel at up-selling online help prospective customers to visualise the value of investing above and beyond their primary purchase. Whether it’s showcasing that killer hat and scarf combination in product photography, or teasing users with a ‘Frequently bought together’ notification at checkout, the general sentiment remains the same; why settle for mediocre, when you can have it all?
Much like being welcomed with “the regular” by your favourite barista at your local coffee spot, it’s central that marketers start accommodating for users’ behaviour online, delivering them the content that they anticipate, at the right time, in the place they expect to see it. Enabling social pixels is the sure-fire way to track customer data across your website and channel-specific ad managers; so, if you haven’t already, use this as your prompt to do so now.
Through analytics, first establish when visitors are interacting with your brand, paying attention to any repeat behaviour patterns at specific times of the day, or days of the week. Quite simply, run your ads to coincide with your audience’s active hours. Your favourite artist wouldn’t play to an empty venue, and neither should you.
Retarget those who have recently interacted with your brand across website and social. With conversions at the front of mind, it makes sense to redistribute ads to those who have recently spent time on your website. And we’re not just talking about existing customers. To name a few, It’s possible to target previous website visitors, users who have actively engaged with a social post, and even users who like similar pages to your own.
The joy of marketing automation means, that once you’ve generated ample traffic to your website and/or social channels, you can start to generate lookalike audiences. Effectively, this is a feature that allows you to capture the common demographics of those who have previously interacted with your brand and scale up your audiences tenfold. This can have a hugely positive impact up social engagement, site traffic, and conversions, and is a familiar tool to every successful social media marketer. Facebook alone captures 98 personal data points on every user, and using this information, can tell when you’ve fallen in love before you even know. A vaguely alarming detail, but hopefully one that reassures you about the effectiveness of lookalike audiences.
A seamless sale
For Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, seamless checkout processes and social media “buy” buttons are two of the most influential tactics that drive impulse buys (GWI, 2022). By integrating tools like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal to your e-commerce, the journey to checkout is made even faster and easier; after all, needing to create an account is the second highest reason for abandoning a cart before checking out in e-commerce. The aim of the game is reducing barriers to purchase, and in turn, it becomes much easier to encourage impulsiveness when we do so.
The takeaway? Keep your audience’s online shopping incentives front-of-mind when curating sales-orientated communications. If you’re up against a younger audience, ensure that you fine tune your user journey, culling any unnecessary steps between the product offering and checkout, whilst for an older audience, create a sense of unmissable urgency in your messaging. FOMO exists, and it’s profitable.
Looking to scale up your social commerce? Drop us a line here, and let’s book in a chat.