As brick-and-mortar stores across the United States face the challenges of online retail, the online shopping world has stepped up its game. Simultaneously, social media has jumped on the bandwagon and assisted in driving e-commerce sales. As the market continues to shift and transform, retailers are acclimating to the market evolution—this means altering the customer experience to fit the needs of retail shopping on a handheld device.
It’s no surprise that social media and e-commerce go hand in hand. Online retail has grown 300 percent from 2000 to 2018, while social media has soared. In fact, social channels have become the main forum of marketing these e-commerce shops, and these social platforms have become a main outlet for purchasing goods.
With recent technological advances, online shopping has become widely accepted by retailers. In turn, retailers have made their online shopping experience as user-friendly as possible. With the convenience of purchasing goods at your fingertips, intertwined with the customer service of a mom-and-pop shop, it makes sense that 3,800 brick-and-mortar stores were expected to close their doors in 2018.
Seventy-nine percent of customers placed online orders via mobile devices in 2018. Clearly, online shoppers prefer transactions on smartphones versus desktops. With more than 230 million Americans owning a smartphone, the e-commerce shift has inevitably taken precedence on mobile devices.
With the rise of e-commerce, companies have honed in on their social channels to optimize sales. The first trend that successful companies have adopted is the use of a dynamic website: a user-friendly layout, a familiar and consistent brand voice, ease of purchasing items, and 24-hour customer support. Recently, companies have taken their website dynamic to the next level—offering shopping experiences and options not available in stores. Virtual reality and augmented reality have added vibrant layers to the traditional retail model. This has ultimately altered the way social platforms are utilized—especially for advertisers.
Virtual reality and augmented reality have added vibrant layers to the traditional retail model. This has ultimately altered the way social platforms are utilized—especially for advertisers.
The way to a successful e-commerce brand is fully understanding your target audience. Brands have adopted a sense of social consciousness by connecting their “internal culture with their exterior identity.” That means adapting to the demands of you market. Think about how the majority of water bottle companies have implemented thin plastic bottles (compared to the thicker, sturdier plastic bottles) as a means to show concern for the growing sustainability movement. The same goes for social purposes: If your customers do most of their finger scrolling on Instagram, you must assimilate to that platform and make your feed as intriguing and shopping friendly as possible.
Speaking of giving users what they want, let’s discuss the vital visual aspect of social media and e-commerce, with videos on social media on the rise. Companies are taking full advantage of new social media technology as a means to bring in the big bucks. From live streaming events, video takeovers, the ability to import high-quality videos on Instagram and Facebook stories, and the recent addition of Instagram’s IGTV, it’s obvious that videos are #trending. Not to mention, if you’re a verified account, Instagram gives you video priority—with an IGTV upload limit extending 60 minutes (the average Instagram user is only granted a 10-minute-long upload). So yes, you do get the upper hand when your social media is kickass.
Some predict that 2019 will see a massive amount of money devoted to paid campaigns and influencer marketing, Resulting in social media influencers and micro-influencers having a major impact on shopping trends.
Meanwhile, online advertising has overtaken print, with social media channels presenting new layers of ads throughout users’ newsfeeds. One-click-purchase options bring ease to Facebook users. Furthermore, human-like chatbots allow consumers to place orders directly in Facebook messenger. These innovative advertisement features have boosted the e-commerce and social media realm.
However, if the same ad continues to pop up (almost like it is following you), customers have the option to block the ad from running in their feed. Similarly, users can forever unsubscribe from chatbots. On the other hand, chatbots have the potential to successfully retarget 56 percent of shoppers when these human-like bots recommend products. It is a fine line to walk between helpful suggestions and aggressive spam.
In the world of social media marketing, adjusting to technology and the demands of the consumer is vital for your e-commerce bottom line.
Capturing email addresses for customer retention is another contributing factor to the e-commerce sphere. Email-marketing software programs allow customers to adjust preferences on the types of emails they would like to receive and message frequency. These laser-detail preferences are equally as beneficial to the company for their insights on what users want. A spam-less inbox for the win!
The online retail market grew every month in 2018 and part of this success can be attributed to better internet security. Users are more agreeable and trusting of e-commerce brands, as they willingly give their credentials in exchange for products. With information security standards for e-commerce sites required by law, people aren’t typically wary of completing their purchases—but this doesn’t mean you should be lax with internet security. Rather, do whatever you can to be sure you can ensure your customers a fraud-less checkout process.
How can you leverage social media to enhance your e-commerce site? Have you adjusted to consumers’ ever-changing marketing values? Do you plan on implementing these new trends in 2019 on your social platforms? In the world of social media marketing, adjusting to technology and the demands of the consumer is vital for your e-commerce bottom line.