E-commerce Trend #2 – Social media. More than just a trend?

Author: Ioana Ristea

Social and e-commerce – or rather, social commerce – is big news these days. This is because online shopping and social media are simply made for each other – from lead generation and plugging social into your CRM to customer acquisition and conversational commerce.

In this blog series, we take a closer look at 2023 e-commerce trends and topics to know through interviews with in-house experts. We chat to digital marketing expert Verena Scheucher about the role of social media in boosting e-commerce. Is it a fad or does it play a crucial role? Read on to discover the power of social media for B2C and B2B.

Social media and e-commerce: how well do they fit together?

Verena Scheucher: They go together perfectly. With our help, all of our B2C clients are taking advantage and, increasingly our B2B customers are also now realising just how useful social media channels are for e-commerce purposes.

Social media is incredibly effective in promoting new products and campaigns – with precise targeting of customer segments – but also for cross-selling in retail, and lead generation in the B2B sector.

I: How do companies benefit from using social media in e-commerce?
We address users where they are active. Sure, there are many other digital channels, but social media is still super popular – and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Link your CRM and marketing tools to your social media platforms, and things start to get really interesting…

What opportunities open up when B2C companies connect their CRM systems?

Integrating social media into your CRM helps build a much fuller picture of your customers, and offers a more joined up customer journey across the channels of their own choosing. And, armed with a fuller picture of customer activity, and what makes them tick, there are more opportunities to target and cross-sell in a ‘softer’ way. The classic in retail is cross-selling after a purchase. With automated segments from the CRM, customers are shown the matching accessories on Facebook or Instagram. So, for example, three days after buying a digital camera online, they can then see lenses, cases, printers and so on. Another popular use case is, if a user did not convert during a mailing campaign, then you can target them on social media platforms instead, using the corresponding segment query.

What about new customer acquisition?

Because the data transfer works in the other direction too, we can import contacts acquired through social media ads (so-called lead gen ads) directly into the CRM. This enables even more automation of marketing activities.

For example, we have created connections for our clients with which they can start entire journeys – after generating a lead via LinkedIn or Facebook – from their marketing tools in real time. Particularly popular here in the B2C sector are competitions that lead to newsletter sign-ups. The double opt-in journey is then started automatically.

Are there also examples for the B2B area?

B2B campaigns get amazing lead generation results with whitepaper downloads.

Here, users are assigned to a specific interest group after submitting a form without media disruption (ie, without leaving the social network) and land immediately in Journeys. This brings with it many targeting options, and enables the creation of segments (interest groups) – all automatically. This means that, right from the start of their customer lifecycle, users are recommended products and services in mailings that are actually of interest to them.

What developments do you see in social commerce in the next few years?

It remains to be seen exactly how AI tools like ChatGPT will influence the field of social commerce in the future. But it seems pretty certain that these technologies will clean up online.

Conversational commerce, where brands communicate directly with customers in real time using messaging apps, chatbots, or AI assistants is a very hot topic. The use of chatbots is of course already very popular on websites, and the integration of these into instant messengers on social media offers much more potential than pure customer service.

With many companies wanting to target young people, TikTok, with its rapidly growing user base, is becoming an important channel. It can be assumed that own platform-internal stores will be established here. In addition, the number of companies offering live shopping has grown enormously during the pandemic. Here, products are presented and explained to potential customers live via video chat. This trend is already very popular in Asia. It’s only a question of time when the European market will follow.

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