It’s well known that social media has been part of the purchase path of most consumers for a while now.
More than half of millennials and Gen Z have social media influence when shopping, according to research. Gen Z has even used TikTok more than Google to search for things.
So, it’s not surprising that social platforms seem to invest more and more in social commerce features — the idea is to make people buy directly through these platforms, without leaving the app. After all, there’s money on the table.
But then… these platforms had to put their foot on the brakes.
Recently, we received some news indicating that big social media brands are rethinking social commerce as a priority in the near future, since consumers haven’t bought into it yet.
Instagram had its affiliate commerce program shut down in August, Facebook will put an end to the live commerce shopping program in October and TikTok had abandoned its social commerce expansion plans in Europe and in the U.S.
The question is: why aren’t people buying via these features?? Among many answers, one of them is that the customer experience of these platforms is clunky.
Let’s take some time to see what’s happening and why customer experience is such an important topic.
Social network influence shopping habits
As reported by the Hootsuite‘s Social Trends 2022 research, 53.2% of people in the younger generations prefer to turn to social networks to research brands.
Looking specifically to these generations, a study made in the U.S by Statista shows how users are influenced by social ads in their purchasing decisions, which Gen Z represents 50% and Millenials correspond to 58%.
Therefore, the concept that social networks don’t work to promote the products and influence the users is totally wrong. In fact, each day their role has a growing importance in the buyer’s journey decision.
However, these actions don’t seem to be enough to make the user shop on these social media platforms, as evidenced by Meta and TikTok closing social commerce programs. So, what do you, as a marketer or sales person have to do with it?
Everything, because this scenario involves the user and their needs.
Consider the customer as your North Star
Thinking about social commerce and even social strategies as a whole, the whole experience must be accurately aligned to the central key of its operation: the customer.
As a Digital Marketing analyst from Rock Content, I usually recommend thinking about the customer as your North Star. Your features, decisions and actions need to be made considering the needs of the client such as pains, desires and its online and offline interactions throughout their entire journey.
After all, there is no one better than your buyer to tell you where you should improve, and what the most valuable things in your solution are, right? So, listen carefully.
Social commerce, like any other platform, must be considered beyond its features and be strategically connected to the entire journey’s buyer, from the attraction until your support team. According to Sarah Dawley, Hootsuite’s Content Manager:
“[…]Social commerce is really about the entire buying journey taking place on social, from discovery and evaluation to that moment of purchase, but then also what happens after the purchase and that follow-up and the customer service angle”
So, having a well designed Buyer Persona and Journey Mapping aligned with your company offers and being aware of market changes are essential to build Marketing and sales action plans. In fact, according to an Emplifi study, 47% of companies have difficulty converting followers into customers.
What insights can we take from this?
The retreat of Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok related to social commerce clearly does not mean that all actions and strategies aimed at shopping habits within social networks must end.
However, it is important to evaluate new strategies taking into account the customer as your guiding star and consider the entire experience from both digital and physical perspectives in a customer-centric way.
Only with a clear and feasible vision of who your real buyer is will it be possible to achieve the expected goals and objectives.
Do you want to continue to be updated with Marketing best practices? I strongly suggest that you subscribe to The Beat, Rock Content’s interactive newsletter. There, you’ll find all the trends that matter in the Digital Marketing landscape. See you there!