We are all aware of cross-channel commerce (or, as some call it, omnichannel shopping), and the implications this new customer journey has for brands. Consumers use several channels to shop and obtain information before purchasing, therefore, the whole experience needs to be seamless and the information provided relevant at the time and appropriate for the channel used.
The role of brands in this new journey has changed as well. Consumers are having conversations amongst themselves about brands and products, and using a huge range of channels to do so. Our research indicates that 95% of people consult peer reviews to help them make some or all purchases. Companies can no longer limit their communications to one-way broadcasts. Instead, they need to listen, understand and engage in these consumer conversations or, better yet, offer a platform for this information sharing between consumers and brand representatives.
Put these two developments together and the need for a cross-channel social commerce strategy is clear. The information available to consumers about your company needs to be consistent and appropriate across channels; the channels must be those that are most relevant to your customers and prospects; and the information must be the kind of interactive, social advice consumers value most. Here is a short list to get you started on crafting your cross-channel social strategy:
- Social starts at home: have social content on your website. It attracts visitors, they find the information they need without leaving, making it easier to convert them on your site and, finally, they are more likely to come back to your site.
- Take the reviews with you: more and more customers are using their mobile to check reviews (55% increase in 6 months) and the conversion rate uplift when people read reviews on mobiles is 42% higher than when they read reviews elsewhere.
- Talk about it: use it on your communications such as email and online advertising to add credibility and information from real customers.
- Extend the reach to social media: if your audience are using social networks, let them access social content from there too.
- Go offline: have ratings and reviews in store, print advertising
Social commerce spans across all channels – and goes beyond just the online customer experience. In my next post I’ll outline the reasons why forward-thinking businesses are starting to integrate their social commerce solutions with CRM systems, merchandising teams and even manufacturing process.