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Converting Scrollers into Shoppers: Why Social Commerce is Key for Holiday Retail Success

The use of social commerce is gaining momentum, and it presents a huge opportunity for retailers to establish meaningful connections with consumers. In fact, 93% of executives are already moving their e-commerce strategies to social media, and 79% expect to use social media to sell products and services over the next three years, according to data from the Harris Poll and Sprout Social

Furthermore, that same report found that 43% of Generation Z and 49% of Millennials have already purchased directly from a social media platform, a testament to how an increasing number of consumers are shifting their purchasing behavior over to social. The data makes it clear: Social media is quickly becoming the place where the entirety of the customer journey unfolds.

Social platforms are also welcoming the increased use of social shopping, introducing new features to accommodate the shift. In addition to the more tried and true shopping features on Facebook and Instagram, platforms like TikTok are piloting in-app shopping and Twitter is launching an e-commerce pilot. These advancements are paving the way for consumers to purchase goods and enjoy shopping experiences without ever leaving a social platform.

With consumers and brands alike welcoming the rise of social commerce, it’s time to tap into the opportunity it presents.

Social commerce enhances the customer experience

As people are spending more time on social media than ever before, social offers the ability to engage directly with new audiences and existing customers.

Social also provides a new way for customers to research, interact, and purchase products all in one place, while giving brands the ability to do the following:

  1. Extend their storefronts into social networks: Similar to a brick-and-mortar store, brands can deliver a seamless purchase experience all in one place with social commerce
  2. Share products and their descriptions: Brands can easily connect product catalogs to social media, removing extra steps between discovery and checkout to create efficiencies for customers and more sales for retailers
  3. Personalize conversations with engaged customers: With social commerce, brands gain access to social data that can inform what their customers want and need in real-time

Retailers who haven’t yet taken advantage of social commerce can still tap into the opportunity. If a retailer has an e-commerce strategy and is selling goods online, social is well positioned to be at the center of their strategy. They can take the same frame of reference for the goals they want to achieve and create a holistic strategy for social commerce like they would for e-commerce. The same holds true for analyzing performance data, where insights from social can fill the gaps and further inform the success of a retailer’s online presence. 

Brick-and-mortars who want to enter the space and don’t know where to begin can start with social data. Social data offers retailers a vast opportunity to understand what goods consumers are purchasing and on which platforms to ultimately make more informed business decisions. This can help retailers understand which posts are resonating with customers and what’s working—or not working—online, and even which products to sell. These trends can also help retailers shift their decisions in-store or pivot their current strategies on social.

With these data-driven insights in mind, retailers can better approach how to gain the interest of their target audiences online as they are tasked with converting ‘scrollers’ into ‘shoppers’—or interest into purchases. 

Retail marketers should keep in mind the following strategies in order to ‘stop the scroll’ and successfully convert purchases: 

  1. Share high-quality and relevant social media content
  2. Be intentional in the content they share and how products are being described
  3. Engage users by asking them a question, sharing a poll or reacting to a statement 
  4. Use social commerce functions, such as shoppable posts
  5. Promote sales or product promotions 

When retailers monitor customer’s social media behavior and leverage those insights to make data-driven decisions, they also have the opportunity to tailor their offerings accordingly and work to convert an even greater amount of their social media followers into buyers. This approach will set retailers up for success throughout the retail season and as they enter the new year.

Social can help retailers get ahead of challenges this holiday season — and beyond

In the midst of the holiday season, social commerce will continue to play a central role in holiday shopping for both consumers and retailers. If retailers haven’t started leveraging social, the good news is it’s not too late. However, retailers looking to get started with social commerce must have a well-rounded customer care strategy in order to see success.

Customer care will be imperative to providing an exceptional customer experience as brands face the upcoming ‘return season’ and anticipated delays with the state of the supply chain. Retailers can get ahead of these challenges with a strong social strategy in place. For instance, if a shoppable post displays an item that is currently out of stock, retailers should address and be transparent about the product’s availability, and either offer a similar product or be prepared to address customer questions and feedback. 

With other unexpected issues bound to arise this holiday season, brands must find the right balance of being reactive and proactive with their responses, as social media moves quickly and consumer expectations are high. 

It’s never too late to start a social commerce strategy

With the rise of social commerce and its increased use among shoppers, the time is now to activate. More than ever before, the current retail season presents an unparalleled opportunity for retailers to use social to engage with consumers and convert engagement into sales. 

Rachael Samuels is Senior Manager, Social Media, at Sprout Social.

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