The performance of an e-commerce website should not be based on technical aspects alone. It should also be driven by a global ecosystem, which the website is designed for from the outset. As rich sources of data and input, social networks have a role to play. They provide a solution that meets user expectations while helping to secure the profitability of your project.
Social media is a goldmine of social, commercial and behavioural data for all segments of your current and potential customers. It offers a means of identifying opportunities, analysing behaviours and predicting expectations for your future website. You can use social media to enrich your benchmark and anticipate needs and features. A large number of followers in Spain, for example, can represent a business opportunity in this market, allowing you to plan for the integration of a store locator or a multilingual version for subsequent iterations.
Take the time to get to know your audiences, in order to identify social personae and their journeys. What is the aim in the scoping stage? To develop and refine your e-commerce objectives. This makes it possible to more accurately identify the opportunities offered by the various social networks and their activations, such as visibility, loyalty, after-sales, additional sales and visits. For each objective, there are relevant actions and social media solutions.
This approach does not apply only to B2C e-commerce websites: according to the 2018 survey 'Impact des réseaux sociaux sur l'acte d'achat en B2B' (Impact of social networks on B2B purchasing) performed by Intuiti and La Poste Solutions Business, 55% of professionals surveyed have been influenced by a social network post1 for a B2B purchase. While this figure may seem surprising at first sight, it makes sense given that 56% of professionals surveyed use social networks as monitoring tools. With this in mind, social, networks are a significant means of influence prior to contact/purchase, and inbound marketing should be done to amplify content strategies.
When designing the future e-commerce website, several questions arise, to which social media can provide answers:
Having a functional website is good, but having qualified traffic is even better! Work put into your customer journeys comes into play once again here: whatever the level of maturity of the customer, or persona typology, the aim is to activate the relevant social media tool to meet the following:
Social networks offer additional showcases for your website, but you should not try to be present everywhere. There are appropriate networks and relevant strategies for each brand. For a B2B company, LinkedIn is often an effective tool for prospecting: the 2018 survey conducted by Intuiti and La Poste Solutions Business highlights that 57% of professionals surveyed say that they accept contact requests from suppliers and service providers, and 74% consider that communication on social networks is less "commercial" than via other channels. Social networks can be used to give a new tone to your brand communications, while providing other information that promotes engagement with and visibility for your brand. Making the most of the various publication formats specific to each network is also essential to serve your various objectives.
Another very popular tool in recent times has been influencer marketing, which still has a good few years ahead of it. According to a survey performed by Keyrus in 2019, 25% of people in 2 France have already discovered a new product via an influencer; a trend which holds even more true in young segments, since 50% of 18 to 24-year-olds say they have discovered a product through an influencer. Micro-influencers or a superstar? Once again, it is essential to make sure your strategy is in phase with the target audience.
At this stage, your efforts should be focussed on your buyer personae. Taking the time to identify and understand them will enable you to adopt the correct behaviours. You will then need to provide content that addresses their obstacles to conversion, such as demonstrations, sharing of opinions, testimonials and promotional codes. Quality content promotes conversion. However, in order to ensure you provide the right answers for the right people, media purchasing is essential. The media platforms of social networks, particularly in the Facebook group (Facebook and Instagram), offer very accurate targeting criteria. According to a study of consumers' relationships with social networks carried out by Wavestone, 30% of consumers have made a purchase after clicking on an 3 online ad, and 41% of them bought another product or service sold on the website. These advertising campaigns on social networks complement your Adwords campaigns. While the latter provide a solution when searching for potential customers, social media campaigns will help attract consumers throughout their journey. An Oxatis study conducted in 2018 reveals that 55% of e-commerce websites use 4 Facebook Ads (twice as many as in 2017) and 82% of them were profitable in 2018.
Finally, the diversification of sales outlets continues and is part of this approach. Major social networks are turning to social selling: Marketplace for Facebook, Shopping for Instagram, Shop the Look for Pinterest, and a partnership with Amazon for Snapchat... More rapid and simpler solutions, which can be envisaged to deploy a much wider sales ecosystem.
All of the activations mentioned above will enable you to gather information and enhance your knowledge of your current and potential customers. However, bear in mind that your current customers are your best potential customers. It is therefore essential to nurture your relationship with existing customers. Thanks to social networks, it is easy to communicate with them: you must be able to respond to their questions and opinions, all the more given that this represents a goldmine of information that you ignore at your peril.
After-sales service is a key part of this. According to the research firm Access Development, 79% of consumers will change brands within a week following a negative experience. It is therefore essential to be clear and responsive. Once again, social networks can offer a solution: for example, SFR responds to its customers' need for instant interaction with its dedicated Twitter account: @SFR_SAV.
As we have seen, social networks can influence all of the stages of building and running your e-commerce website. However, with all of the functions offered by social media, it is important to gauge the relevance of each one and establish a clear and sustainable strategy. Whatever you do, the test-and-learn approach is a must in order to keep on offering the best possible experience for your customers, while building a lasting relationship with them!
Margaux Imberton-Coquard, Senior e-marketing Consultant