No matter how successful your eCommerce strategy is, there’s always more money to be made. And that’s especially true if you’re new to social commerce.
Social platforms provide a significant opportunity for businesses to maximize their sales — 72% of the US population use at least one social media platform and 48% of shoppers believe that social media is a great way to find new products.
What could your retail brand achieve with Shopify and social commerce integrated together? The gains could be huge, but best practice techniques are a must. Here we look at five crucial activities that optimize your social commerce experience and keep customers coming back for more.
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Why Shopify for social commerce?
We’re willing to bet many of you reading this guide use Shopify to power your web store. After all, Shopify is one of the biggest, best, and most customization e-store solutions around — available in over 175 countries and powering 20% of the world's highest-traffic websites.
What all current users might not know, however, is just how well-prepared Shopify is to help you succeed in social commerce best practices.
- Shopify integrates seamlessly with Facebook and Instagram, allowing automatic synchronization of product catalogs (as long as everything is tagged correctly).
- Shopify acts as a central location for all your product data, operations, and customer insights. The customer journey can be tracked from discovery all the way to purchase, ensuring both a better customer experience and the capture of crucial customer data.
- The customer experience provided by Shopify helps encourage return purchases and the site continues to add new capabilities such as livestreaming.
Each of these features proves useful when using Shopify as part of your social commerce strategy. Let’s see why.
Best practices for social commerce on Shopify
1. Redirect traffic to the Shopify store
We can’t talk about social commerce without talking about edge experiences.
Shopping at the edge refers to the eCommerce pathways we’re seeing as a result of the myriad brand touchpoints customers now interact with before making a purchase. Salesforce research suggests that shoppers interact with your brand on 7.6 different touchpoints — and a great many online shopping experiences start away from your eCommerce store, “at the edge”, on social channels.
Social media is fantastic for facilitating product discovery and inspiration (remember, nearly half of online shoppers use social media for these purposes). And yet, the social checkout experience is far from perfect — meaning that brands who fail to direct traffic from social platforms back to their own brand site put themselves at a disadvantage.
For one, this is what customers want. A SimplicityDX study found that 71% of shoppers prefer to complete their purchase on the brand site. Lack of trust in a social network’s data handling, confusion regarding returns on social, and an altogether disjointed experience are some of the most significant factors at play here.
By directing social shoppers to your Shopify store you have the option to eliminate issues encountered with shipping and returns. Only 15% of shoppers know how to return a product purchased through social media, and of those who did have to make a return 66% said they would not buy from social channels again in the future.
Aside from improving customer experience (which is valuable in itself!), redirecting traffic from Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok to your Shopify storefront is advantageous for brands in other ways.
We mentioned Shopify’s data capture capabilities — and directing all traffic through your Shopify store allows you to put that data to full use, re-targeting and re-marketing to turn casual purchasers into repeat customers. This becomes all the more essential when you learn that brands are now losing $29 for each new customer acquired, up by 222% since 2013. Being able to use data for customer retention has never been more imperative than it is today.
One word of warning when directing social traffic to your brand site: make sure your landing experience delivers. 81% of customers have had a poor experience when moving from social to a brand’s web store — although Shopify provides a fantastic starting point, brands also need to be proactive in identifying issues and improving the user experience of their Shopify store.
2. Mirror social promotions on your Shopify store (and vice versa)
Ensuring a smooth landing experience from social to the brand site is all about consistency. And consistency is also key when it comes to the promotions you run.
Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes: if you saw one price advertised on social and other on the website, you’d either feel frustrated at paying the higher price or start to question whether one of the touchpoints you’re engaging with might not be the real deal.
This also speaks to a wider point about ensuring your marketing and strategy are aligned across all of your online channels. This is important not only for providing the best customer experience you can but also for maintaining consistent brand values and positioning across all your branded touchpoints.
Consistent pricing, promotions, and brand voice will go a long way to building customer loyalty and engagement, as well as reaching new customers. It can be difficult to maintain multiple online storefronts but putting in the effort to make sure they are all synched with one another will be more than worth it overall.
3. Sync your product catalog and inventory frequently
Your shoppers have likely faced inventory issues when shopping through social media — after all, 98% of those surveyed for SimplicityDX’s 2022 State of Social Commerce had. If inconsistent pricing can be frustrating and feel “unfair”, then allowing a customer to purchase an item without actually being able to fulfill it can be even more damaging to your brand equity.
This stems from the same issues as the above point, with many brands not taking the time to ensure their inventories are synched across all platforms, resulting in product availability not accurately reflecting current stock levels.
This is one of the fastest ways to destroy customer loyalty, brand perception, and sales figures. Not to mention how a vast number of regular refunds look on your balance sheet.
By centralizing your entire customer experience through Shopify, you are able to monitor inventory levels more closely. Ensure your inventories are synched as frequently as possible to avoid this issue and keep your customers happy.
4. Don’t promote out-of-stock products
This is perhaps the next logical ‘best practice’ having read points 2 and 3. It may sound bizarre — who would promote an item that’s out of stock? — but, like the above issues, this too happens quite frequently.
There are a couple of reasons why. First, as discussed above, it can simply be an issue of not adequately mirroring promotions and inventory across your online platforms. We say ‘simply’ because this is easily remedied by keeping a close eye on your social commerce promotions, your inventory levels, and ensuring that left hand is talking to right.
Second, many brands are ill-equipped for the fast-paced nature of social commerce. Browsing and buying on social media can happen incredibly quickly — especially where promotions are concerned. One huge rush of demand can see every one of your products flying off the shelves.
It is essential to closely monitor all social promotions, especially during busy periods of the year like the holiday season. Taking it a step further, you may choose not to promote products that often sell out quickly during busy periods. If demand is already very high, you run the risk of depleting your inventory before you have time to update your socials.
Remember, you can always pause or outright cancel promotions on social media if required. It is far better to pause or remove a promotion than it is to refund masses of orders for out-of-stock products.
Stay flexible and agile with your social commerce platforms and ensure your Shopify store and social media sites are all aligned with one another.
5. Tag all products
One of the first things you should do when starting up your eCommerce store is to upload your product catalog to your social media. This allows customers to see what items are available for purchase through your Shopify.
Uploading your product catalog also allows you to tag your products in any promotional materials you upload to your socials. Customers like to be able to see a video of someone wearing trainers on their TikTok, click the tag, and be taken to the product information page.
Inconsistent product tagging can severely hamper customer experience and lead to a loss in revenue. If some products are tagged but others aren’t, customers are far more likely to take their business elsewhere.
It is also important to update your product catalog frequently with any new items added to your stock. Bringing all of these best practices together, it’s exceedingly frustrating for customers to see an ad on social media, only to find out that those products aren’t available for purchase either via social checkout or your Shopify store as the catalog has not been updated.
Make a habit of consistently tagging all of your products on social and you will set yourself apart from most other social commerce brands.
Find out how SimplicityDX can help
SimplicityDX makes social commerce work. Its SimplicityDX Edge Experience Platform enables brands to optimize social commerce experiences by simplifying the buying process between journeys started at the edge and the brand’s eCommerce e-site. Founded by a team of industry veterans in May 2021 and privately funded, SimplicityDX operates in the U.S. and U.K. markets.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help grow your eCommerce sales with best practice social commerce.
Read more about our insights on social commerce.