Why Social Commerce is important to Online Retailers by @wvrknight #indieretail

What does Social Commerce mean to you?

Does social commerce mean simply having an account on Facebook to increase sales, is it about humanising the process of online commerce or is it about an interaction platform allowing you to share your business with friends and colleagues’? Not everyone sees Social Commerce as the same thing. Have you ever sat in front of a computer looking at Facebook feeling intimidated?

Do you really need to use Social Commerce?

First you need to ask yourself if you really need to use Social Commerce. Are you a business that wants to create an online store and start directly from Social Commerce, or already have a store and are considering setting up a social version? You know your business better than anyone else – do you feel your company would benefit from Social Commerce?

Social commerce is so important for online retailers because it gives you the platform to connect and form a bond with your consumers. In reality, your clients are just a number on an invoice form but with Social Media, you can offer a personalised service, allowing you to converse with that said consumer. Holding weekly Q+A’s is a great way to engage with your audience and find out their views on your brand.

Listening To Your Customers

Usually, an ecommerce store has a one way communication channel however, once established as social commerce, you’ll be able to connect with your customers and vice versa. They can tell you what they like/dislike about your products. Criticism should not be feared as it will only help you to grow your business. Listening to your customers, answering on time and knowing how to act will be crucial in the success of your business.

As an online retailer, Social Commerce can simplify the buying process as you can take your products to where they spend their time; in Social Networks. You need to offer your customers an easy and attractive buying process otherwise they will find an alternative store. With ecommerce being as competitive as it is, it’s so important to keep your customers interested with a practical operation. Remember, people don’t like change, especially if it takes them longer to do something.

Social Shopping is the future of ecommerce. The swanky e-commerce site Fab is no exception, having gone from 1.8M users to an astonishing 4.5M since implementing Open Graph in January along with a 20-40% of traffic coming from Facebook on a daily basis. Social media offers incredible feedback on either goods or services. As a retailer, this must be taken advantage of. Use the good and bad comments to your advantage and make the most of what Social Media offers.

This blog was written by Warren Knight, Social Commerce Expert. To connect with Warren you can follow him on twitter – @wvrknight

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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