How To Finesse Social Media To Maximize Ecommerce Sales

Think marketing on social media is an easy way to increase ecommerce sales? Think again.

While ecommerce is booming, its integration into social media has been far from smooth.

In fact, brands that market using social platforms have often provided “very poor shopping experiences as customers cross channels and click through to the brand ecommerce site,” notes Charles Nicholls, founding director and chief strategy officer, SimplicityDX. “More than eight out of 10 shoppers complain of poor landing experiences when clicking through from social media.”

The number-one complaint, according to Nicholls, is that "the product isn’t available or isn’t available in the size/color variant that they want” -- a problem he calls “as old as retail itself.” The decision to promote a particular product and keep promoting it "may be disconnected from the underlying inventory position,” he points out.

How can your brand get past these challenges? Nicholls provides these tips:

Upload your catalog. For most product categories, start with Facebook and Instagram, where commerce integration is the most developed. Pinterest may also be a choice for some products. And keep an eye on TikTok, which is growing very fast and beginning to add commerce capabilities.

Link back to your ecommerce site. While most social platforms enable you to set up a separate store within the platform, if you already have an ecommerce site, this doesn’t make much sense. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer to shop on brand sites (less risk, authentic products, more product information and rich media, support, and simpler returns), and brands typically want to be able to re-contact customers who have purchased to market additional products to them.

Starting your ecommerce store via one of the social channels might make sense if you have a limited number of products and only sell in one market.

Tag your posts. Every time you post, you need to tag the product featured in the post by selecting the product from your uploaded product catalog. This makes the image clickable and provides the path for customers to buy.

Focus on the end-to-end experience. For each post, think carefully about where you want your customer to go next. There’s no universal answer here. For some posts, it will make sense to use tagged products that link directly to product detail pages, and for others, it may make more sense to link to the home page or relevant category page. For all routes, you need to monitor the overall experience and fix problems fast — this is your new social sales funnel, so it will need optimizing.

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