As Black Friday quickly approaches, retailers are getting ready for one of the busiest sales seasons of the year. As retailers begin to ramp up their in-store strategy and prepare for e-commerce and m-commerce, I personally wonder how many think about s-commerce.
Yes, s-commerce. As in social commerce.
Americans spend enough time interacting on social networking sites, even while shopping in-store, so instead of trying to divert their attention to e-commerce efforts on the web, why not engage them where they already spend their time?
We already know that social media can help drive sales, but understanding social commerce is even more critical this Black Friday season. Vision Critical recently engaged 1,024 adult Americans and found that almost two-thirds of shoppers (63%) browse social media ahead of time to lookout for deals on where they should be shopping. With a majority of shoppers checking out social media this season, you cannot afford not to have an s-commerce strategy.
63% of Black Friday shoppers browse social media to look for deals. (CLICK TO TWEET)
All of this time spent on social media, and during such critical points of the path to purchase, gives retailers ample opportunity to optimize their s-commerce strategies in order to convert that sale. Luckily, social media networks are making it easier for companies to adopt an s-commerce mindset: Instagram continues to globally expand its advertising offering, while Facebook and Twitter are working on features that would make it easy for people to buy directly through social media.
As s-commerce is still a relatively new paradigm in online commerce, marketers are - for the most part - entering uncharted digital strategy territory. But one thing is for sure: your s-commerce strategy should start with customer intelligence to know your customer and to determine how social media campaigns can shift focus from awareness building and marketing communication to actual conversion.
If you'd like to use social to drive sales this Black Friday, you need to answer the following questions:
- How can my company leverage user-generated content on social media?
User-generated content can help not just in increasing awareness of your products and promotions; they can also tangibly drive sales. That's because purchasing leads to social media sharing, and social media can nudge customers from interest to purchase.
We found that two in five American Black Friday shoppers plan to interact on social media while shopping, either by posting an update (40%) or sharing a photo (40%). Retailers need to figure out what encourages Black Friday shoppers to share on social and what type of social media content they are more likely to share and re-share.
Two in five American Black Friday shoppers plan to interact on social media while shopping. (CLICK TO TWEET)
- How can my company use mobile tech to drive s-commerce?
Over half (52%) of American Black Friday shoppers we engaged with plan to comparison shop on their mobile smartphones while shopping in store. Given the ubiquity of mobile technology, retailers should figure out how their social media presences can help drive traffic to pages that help customers compare products and brands.
52% of American Black Friday shoppers plan to comparison shop on their mobile phone while shopping in store. (CLICK TO TWEET)
- How can I use social media to offer exclusive deals to my customers?
Many customers think Black Friday deals aren't as good as they used to be. Offering attractive deals to customers can help retailers stand out - and social is a good way of doing that. For example, one retailer recently experimented with Instagram couponing, combining gamification and discounts to drive traffic to its stores. That type of creative thinking illustrates the potential of s-commerce and how it could help retailers stand out during this high-stakes business season.
Marketers can sharpen their Black Friday strategy by having an understanding of how people use social media - and why. (CLICK TO TWEET)
S-commerce provides a lot of room for creativity for retailers this Black Friday season, and the 3 questions we provided here are good starting points for retail marketers to consider. Having a deep understanding of what your customers do on social - and why - will help sharpen your efforts. S-commerce might be relatively new, but success in this space begins by engaging your community of customers frequently and treating them as partners.
Photo credit: LifeofPix.com