In its most basic sense, retail is all about the purchase and sale of goods and services on a large scale. What makes all the difference is how these products and services manage to strike the right chords with their niche audiences, by establishing brand loyalty and fulfilling their requirements to the best extent possible.
Over the past decade, the retail industry has witnessed a major change in its innovative strategies to attract consumers and generate leads. With the advent of the digital world, businesses have been reaching out to their audiences in the most innovative and efficient ways possible. From social media business pages and forums to paid advertising, social commerce is a very broad term encompassing the various ways in which businesses and social media advertising agencies may not only promote products and services but also directly generate leads.
Social Commerce or Social Media Marketing?
With social media marketing being one of the most widely availed digital marketing services today, the difference between social commerce and social media marketing are often not very clear. While social media marketing may be perceived as a subset of social commerce, the latter more specifically involves direct marketing, with a call-to-action that directs consumers to make a purchase. Thus, while it may still involve innovative social media strategies to attract audiences, its ultimate objective is to directly drive sales and convert potential leads into active consumers.
So, if a business page comes up with interesting campaign ideas to enhance brand recognition and increase its followers, it is utilizing social media marketing strategies to attract its audiences and indirectly generate leads. On the other hand, if the same business page comes up with e-commerce ideas that drive audiences to actively purchase the product, then that’s social commerce for you. A business may engage in either or both of these strategies, depending on its current requirements and marketing objectives.
Why Does Social Commerce Matter Today?
So, what does social commerce mean in today’s day and age, and how important is it for businesses and digital marketing agencies to incorporate social commerce strategies in conjunction with social media marketing?
While innovative social media strategies and regular monitoring of the social media page for hygiene purposes may be half the battle won, your marketing strategy sometimes needs that extra push, especially if your digital marketing objective entails lead generation and active conversions.
Sometimes, merely promoting your brand on social media and generating many followers may not suffice to influence your sales in a significant manner. In such situations, a more direct approach (such as a “Buy Now” button that takes one to a retail website and prompts him/her to purchase the product) may enable a company to convert followers and potential leads into active consumers.
The Bottom Line
Today, the idea of social commerce has significantly evolved to include a wider range of strategies into its purview. These may not only include paid ads but also social media posts incorporating direct purchase options and call-to-actions; discussion forums and business groups that actively answer consumer queries and discuss the purchase nitty gritties; and chat-bot systems that are available 24/7 to provide the necessary customer support.
Ideally, a systematic integration of social commerce and social media marketing strategies may help businesses generate active leads while also focusing on the other equally pertinent objectives, including brand recognition, establishing consumer loyalty and increasing the engagement rates.