Social shopping is nothing new, but the concept is continuously becoming bigger and better and making its way to the forefront of digital and e-commerce. As the use of mobile and tablets has grown rapidly, so has the phenomena of social shopping.
A study conducted by Gartner found that a huge 74% of consumers say they relied on social networks to guide their purchases, so it only makes sense that social shopping continues to take over in the world of commerce.
Recently, Marc Jacobs made the news by launching a pop-up show for their perfume “Daisy”. Fans were allowed to come into the shop and pay by using a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram photo, so no money changed hands at all.
Social Shopping is most definitely something retail brands need to think about getting involved with, but where do they start?
Extend Customer Loyalty Efforts Online
This is a great way to make your loyal customers feel special. If you have a new product launch coming soon or a sale taking place at the end of the month, let your loyal customers know first. Either mention it on your social media accounts or send out a message that only your followers will receive.
Give your fans and followers a heads up or a discount code that will allow them to get a great deal or some of your products and processes. This will really reinforce your customers loyalty and show your brand to be engaging and appreciative.
Drive Consumer Desires
The power of social media means that you can really demonstrate transparency to your audience and give them a glimpse into the world behind your brand and make them feel part of it. Use your social media accounts to launch a new range of products or give them a hint of whats to come.
Topshop did this well by announcing who the new face of the brand was going to be over a series of videos in a campaign called #WhosThatGirl. By giving your loyal customers a glimpse of what's to come in your next service or product, you will be encouraging them to keep an eye on your brand and leave them wanting more.
Social media can also be a great way show the behind the scenes side of your company, give your audience a feel for what goes on before they get your products, show them where their coffee beans really come from or how their clothes are made from start to finish.
Source New Product Ideas
Social media is fantastic when it comes to crowd sourcing – the best way to find out exactly what your existing audience actually want is to ask them. Starbucks have an Ideas Site where customers can share their idea with the community and vote on and discuss other ideas that have been submitted.
Social media is a fantastic place to run competitions, so why not run a competition to design a new product or service using a social network. The winner can then actually have their idea created and promoted on social media channels for the rest of your customers to see.
This will show your audience that you really do care about what they think and what they are looking for in the future. It gives people a chance to get involved and engage with you and your brand on a human level using social media.
Make Suggestions Based on Previous Purchases
Photo sharing sites such as Pinterest and Piccing are becoming bigger and bigger when it comes to the world of social e-commerce. Pinterest can be used for competitions and ideas, as well as for generating engagement and interest. Use boards to create recipes or outfits and share them with your audience to garner their feedback.
Piccing goes a step further and actually provides links to sites that sell products similar to the images users have chosen. It then suggests other items similar to those that customers have previously purchased.
Deals and Discounts
With tons of discount sites now offering promotions and exclusive offers, there is no reason why your brand can't jump on board with this. There are some great ways to provide online discounts and opportunities to your customers, but try and utilise your social media accounts as much as possible.
Let your customers know that when they check in on Facebook at your shop/restaurant/bar they will receive a discount code that they can use their and then. You can even take a note out of Marc Jacob's book and allow them to pay in social currency by giving them a freebee in return for a tweet or Facebook post.
As social shopping continues to grow, we are seeing more exciting and novel ways to really integrate social media into the full shopping experience. Make sure your brand gets involved and utilises some of the above ideas to get your customers involved and engaged.
(social shopping / shutterstock)