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Comment: Engaging Social Customers Now For E-commerce Success

Comment: Engaging Social Customers Now For E-commerce Success
Monday December 8 2014

“The UK is also the most social country in the world, with 52% of the population using social networking sites. They are your customers, so what is your company doing to reach them?” By Marcus Law

The head of marketing EMEA at SLI Systems, shares his expertise on where retailers should focus their attention in a social world.

The global number of e-commerce companies today is so enormous that few can put a definite number on it. With so many businesses vying for consumers’ attention, how can e-commerce merchants, attract customers to their site and convince them to buy? One important strategy is to offer value in the form of compelling content.

A brand’s online presence needs to be about more than just the products it sells. It should be a resource for its users. It should be engaging, offering the unique photos, videos, comments and posts that shoppers won’t get anywhere else. This content is a powerful tool that retailers can use to boost brand and elevate sales. More than 40% of marketers report that inbound marketing, including content such as blogs and social media, demonstrate positive return on investment for their company.

Go Social, Be Relevant

Internet users in the UK spend an average of 35 hours per month online – much of it on activities like social media, reading blogs, watching videos and shopping. The UK is also the most social country in the world, with 52% of the population using social networking sites. They are all potential customers, so how do you reach them? 

The most important consideration is to leverage social media activity in a way that aligns with the way customers use it. If your brand has more fans on Pinterest than Twitter, then cater to those users with high-quality photo content that’s perfect for pinning. Update feeds regularly, respond to customers’ questions, and keep it fresh. Retailers need to show that their social pages offer reliable, valuable content and it will compel users to keep coming back for more.

They need to create original content for their various social media channels as well. When Tweeting there’s no need to try to fit your whole message into 140 characters. Use teasers, links or images with taglines, which can lead to a landing page that features the full content.

In addition, social media networks can now be integrated into the main website. This is a great way to deliver more information to buyers and get consumers excited about purchasing products. 

Say Cheese

Text is great, but we all know what they say about words: A picture is worth a thousand of them! Retailers need to use plenty of high-quality photos in blog posts, emails and other sharable content. Photos make the content pop, and they make it more appealing for users to share. Whether they Pin it, Tweet it or post it on their Facebook Wall, social media users like to share good-looking photos.

According to research by Ipsos OTX, photos are the most popular form of content shared on social media. In a poll, 43% of users said they shared pictures on social media within the last month. If the pictures shared had been targeted product images, just think of how many potential customers would have been reached in a month! 

Standout Site Search

Implementing a content-rich site search is another great way to improve conversions on an e-commerce site. Often visitors arrive on a site to shop, but they don’t know exactly what they need. These users may turn to the search function for help. A standout site search can go above and beyond customers’ expectations, building loyalty and driving sales.

One of the latest best practices for site search is the integration of social and non-product content into the site search, which client has incorporated into their site. This enables retailers to integrate the company’s social media feeds into the site, allowing customers to see what is being said about the brand and or its products on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on blogs.
The potential impact that social media influence has on peer to peer social recommendation is the next step on from basic recommendations on a website and is expected to have great impact in helping people in their path to making a purchase. 

Getting It Right

Whether the strategy is to start small or use a vendor to quickly scale, creative content is one of the most valuable tools retailers can use to communicate their brand, engage their customers and convince shoppers to buy. 

Retailers are able to build their brand to a wider customer base and put customers in front of popular and trending products quicker.
What people are saying on social networks about products acts as a type of rating or endorsement tool, so retailers should integrate this into the site to encourage peer to peer recommendations and help customers make a purchase decision. 
When retailers combine social activity, interesting articles and videos with a standout site search, the result is inevitably higher conversion rates and increased order values. 

With such a positive return on investment and impact on sales, the time to focus on creative social content is now.