How Social Media Can Help E-commerce Sell Better
If you’re selling stuff via the Internet, you’re most likely combating the dual mobile-enhanced challenges of price-oriented deal seekers and showrooming. To mitigate the impact of these profit-eroding consumer trends, integrate social media into your website and merchandising.
Rakuten Buy.com’s Melissa Salas understands your pain. She’s working for a brand, historically known for its deals, that’s repositioning itself as a quality-focused merchant. Salas has learned how to mitigate the impact of these challenges. She presented her case study at Affiliate Summit East.
Here are five social media tactics to transform your online e-commerce engine into a shopping experience consumers crave. (Here’s five social media shopping insights and here are mobile shopping insights.)
- Tap into the power of images. Pull prospects and customers into your site with photographs they find tantalizing. Online is a visual medium that enables shoppers to examine your offering from the comfort of their sofa. As a retailer make their virtual experience as real as possible by showing your products in real life settings. Think window shopping without leaving your living room. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Determine how you can provide as real an experience as possible. Think 360° product views and how-to photographs. Your goal is to get prospects to visualize using your products. Additionally, ensure every image can be shared across platforms, especially Pinterest.
- Provide real life experiences. Deliver an offline experience via computer, mobile or tablet. To this end, create believable video to provide consumers with more detailed information about your product offering. Actionable Marketing Tactic: To merchandise your offering, make your videos 2-3 minutes long and packed with detailed information. Remember consumers seek how-to and styling information.
- Create value for your prospect. If you want your prospects to build a relationship with you and not just appear when you offer the best price, you need to get beyond what Salas referred to as the “vending machine mentality.” This is when prospects just go in and out of your site quickly. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Enhance your offering by providing the service your buyers crave in the form of content marketing. Further, Salas recommended strengthening the real estate above the fold with a great image because it’s about the deal. Use a long page that’s emulates an in-store experience. Don’t forget the basics such as a product hero shot, star rating, recommendations and related product.
- Personalize the shopping experience. Don’t think CRM type marketing. The goal is build the power of “shopping nostalgia.” Salas used this term to associate cultural nostalgia with products and the way we used to shop at stores where people knew us by our first names. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Unlike targeted marketing that leverages lists and automation to appear personal, the objective is to create familiarity with your employees since people buy from people. To this end, create content that lets shoppers get to know your staff by telling their stories to make the experience more personal. Buy.com takes this one step further with their new tagline, “Buy from people not the internet.” For another example, Matt Kubancik, founder of Street Moda, tells his story in text, words and video.
- Encourage family and friends to shop together. Whether it’s Saturday at the mall or texting a photo of the dress you want to buy, consumers like to shop with their family and friends. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Create an experience that emulates shopping together in a real life store without the traffic or parking hassles. At a minimum, use social sharing such as Pinterest and email, the original social media. Or go further as Buy.com did by creating a show together function.
Boiled down to the basics, you can improve your ecommerce results by leveraging social media’s visual strengths – images and videos, personal stories and customer reviews – to provide prospects with the information they need to purchase from you. Once you’ve done this, continue to test your results to determine what works best for your business.
What other social media suggestions do you have to improve the ecommerce experience?
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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcsamsom/3855520544/