As more consumers turn to online shopping, CPG brands have a real opportunity to drive ecommerce sales. A study from DigitasLBi discovered that 20% of Americans would consider purchasing via social, making it a huge and largely an untapped opportunity for CPG manufacturers. To get the most out of their investment, CPG marketers should consider the following five points in the context of their specific circumstances:
1. Put your eggs in the right basket
When looking at your options, it’s key to learn not only what’s possible with each social network, but also to identify how your followers are using each platform. Each social network is developing and experimenting with very different types of solutions. Twitter has tested a hashtag in partnership with Amazon that, when used, adds items to a user’s Amazon cart. Facebook and Twitter are both developing a buy button that will allow users to purchase an item directly from a post or targeted advertisement. Previously, Pinterest introduced rich pins that notify users when an item they’ve pinned goes on sale. Instagram has shown no sign of introducing similar solutions, but third-party companies like Curalate have introduced solutions that create external, fully shoppable versions of brand’s Instagram pages.
After learning about what’s possible, gaining social intelligence about your followers will help to put your options into perspective. Focus your efforts on the channel in which your consumers are most engaged. Maybe your Pinterest following is highly engaged and active, but slightly smaller than your (uninvolved) Facebook fans. You needn’t put a lot of support behind your Facebook presence just because it’s Facebook.
2. Think about fulfilling a purchase or simply enabling one
This isn’t a black-or-white decision. There’s a grey area to implement solutions that enable purchases without participating in the actual transaction. According to our study, “Connected Shopper,” the role of social media cannot be underestimated as an influencer along the path to purchase. Consider, for instance, that 100% of first-time buyers seek endorsements, both online and off line, prior to purchase. Taking a step back in the shoppers’ purchase decision journey and helping them move towards a purchase, with a mobile coupon or special offer, is smart and highly relevant.
3. Don’t compromise a media platform’s identity
If you fall behind in making your social-media accounts shoppable, it’s important not to sacrifice strategy in favor of a sole push towards sales. When figuring out how to add shoppable elements to posts, keep in mind what people are used to seeing on that specific platform. On Instagram, for example, the posts are high-quality lifestyle images with less of a product focus. Changing to posts that turn your profile into a digital catalogue would go against why users started following you in the first place.
4. Work to build a digital shopping cart
If your company sells higher-priced items like clothes or electronics that can easily be shipped, making your social profiles shoppable should be an easy decision. However, if you’re selling lower-priced items that are usually part of a larger purchase (like those that are part of a weekly trip to the grocery store), the decision becomes much harder because it involves the issue of fulfillment as discussed earlier. A possible solution to this is to promote a combination of products such as meal solutions or kits that people can buy, which would reduce the variation in people’s orders, and in turn, makes it easier to manage order fulfillment. A kit of five predetermined dinners is easier to manage logistically than orders that are all made up of different products and amounts.
Whether jumping in head first and committing to making your social networks shoppable or just dipping your toes in and experimenting with solutions a little bit at a time, there’s one last thing you need to keep in mind:
5. Make the process as easy as possible
Minimize the number of steps a shopper must take when shopping on your social media pages. Keep the process within an app as long as possible. Store data to make it easier in the future, and be transparent about how and why you’re storing that data. If your solution is unnecessarily complicated or rubs shoppers the wrong way, you not only risk missing out on the sale, but could lose a follower or fan of your brand.