Evaluating social commerce options for your brand
In order to identify the best strategies and tactics, it can be helpful to start with a simple assessment focused on six key questions:
What are the business goals of this effort, and how will performance be measured?
Selecting a platform should begin with a review of your goals and measures. Different platforms will be able to "move the needle" in different ways and to different degrees.
What channels are you trying to address, and what is their relative importance?
Many products and services sell through a variety of channels. "Own" stores, online retailers, supermarkets, and department stores are just a few of the options. The set of channels you use should play an important role in determining the social commerce approaches you deploy.
Companies that sell goods primarily or exclusively online were among the first movers in social commerce, both because many of the tools were designed for online stores and because tracking the impact of social commerce on sales is easier when digital actions can be tied directly to specific purchases. Offline retailers and brands sold primarily in brick and mortar stores have generally been slower movers in social commerce, but that is changing. A great example is Procter and Gamble, which was among the first CPGs to incorporate social influence into its websites and other marketing experiences. Additionally, the company has experimented with intriguing new retail formats like Facebook stores in order to determine their potential impact.
What are the bottlenecks in your customer flow?
The concept of a buying funnel -- the progression of consumers from awareness to purchase has driven marketing decisions for decades. Chances are the other elements of your marketing mix are already aligned to the greatest communications needs. If so, then the challenge of selecting the best social commerce tools is a relatively simple one. The needs of businesses change over time and the range of appropriate social commerce tools may change or expand over that time. For example, if your biggest problem was awareness and your first social tactics focus on that area, increases in awareness may shift your greatest marketing need to increasing conversion rates. A second social commerce tool -- like a review and ratings platform -- might then make a great deal of sense.
What aspects of the product or service are most important to prospects?
Understanding the attributes that matter most to consumers is a critical step in making the right social commerce decisions. Ensure that the social commerce platform you choose has the "legs" to communicate the most important product information and attributes. Some tools like ratings offer the advantages of ease and universality, while others -- like video reviews and social shopping -- provide much richer platforms, but with perhaps less reach.