When social media sites such as Facebook came up no one could have anticipated the manner in which they would influence online as well as offline shopping. Today, every time internet users log into their social media accounts they connect not only with friends but also with brands. Social media serves as a platform on which customers and brands can interact like they have never done before.
A customer’s opinion of a brand strongly affects their shopping decisions. On a network such as Facebook, businesses have the opportunity to make a connection with their target audiences. This connection ensures that their customers are the first to hear about product launches, deals and offers.
In a survey conducted by Offerpop it was estimated that about $602 billion worth of products will be sold and bought this holiday season. This is an 8% increase since the last year. The survey found that 67% of businesses are gearing up for the shopping season and will spend more on social media marketing than they did before. The primary goal of 62% marketers is to improve the brand’s reach and to drive up sales.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The old adage holds good in most situations, especially when it comes to marketing of products. Customers are most likely to spend their money on brands that they know and trust. For a business to remain high on its target audiences list of favorite brands, it has to make a genuine connection. And this can be achieved only by offering relevant content.
Businesses need to spend time designing their posts so that they catch the attention of their customers and hold it long enough to make an impact. This makes it important for a brand to post daily on its Facebook page. It should pin a post that it wishes to direct its audiences towards. Photographs, videos and blogs can be used to offer entertaining and well as valuable information. Brands such as Nike and Red Bull enjoy a special connection with their customers because of attention that they pay to their Facebook posts. Both brands use photos and videos effectively to convey their message.
According to Offerpop 92% marketers intend to spend most of their social media marketing budget on Facebook. A study conducted by Shopify studied 37 million social media visits that amounted to 529,000 online buys. It was summarized that 85% of all social commerce orders came from Facebook.
While earlier businesses used Facebook and other social media sites only to make their brand popular now they can sell, and increase sales with the same platform. The cost of investment with social commerce is a fraction of that in traditional marketing. And, it is imperative that businesses keep a track of the manner in which their money is gaining returns.
Social commerce affects a business’ sales in several ways. It allows customers to shop without leaving the social network. In addition to this, every sale is capable of leading to a domino buying affect. Every time a customer buys a product and refers it to friends, the brand gains the possibility of another sale. Businesses have known for a long time that social referrals are considered to be one of the most important and reliable form of recommendation. Now experts say that 71% of customers are likely to buy products that have been referred by friends. This is a dramatic change from the 7% who would buy products that were not referred to them.
It is important for businesses to set up Facebook storefronts so that customers can buy at their convenience. The cost of setting up a Facebook shop is minimal and the impact that it has on sales and customer loyalty is dramatic. Businesses, irrespective of the size or the products that they sell need to have Facbook stores that display their range of products and allow customers to shop without leaving their favorite social network. They may like to ask friends for the opinion on products and also opt to read the reviews and comments of other customers.
The best part about a having Facebook shop is that a customer can make use of an exclusive offer or promo code soon after they receive it. This reduces the time between the increase in interest in the product and the actual buying process. Some stores also allow friends to buy a group gift and share the cost. Social media is here to stay and its impact on shopping will continue to increase.