The role of social networks has now gone beyond family or friends, and extends to various areas, especially business. This evolution gives way to a new means of marketing, online sales. The place of social networks in e-commerce is of paramount importance in view of the number of users constituting potential customers. This article develops the challenges of social media for e-commerce.
What is e-commerce?
The term e-commerce represents the different commercial transactions that are done remotely on
Internet. It is also called e-commerce and online sales.
Exchanges are made through digital media: computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. With the evolution of e-commerce, mail order has now become distance selling and tends more and more towards m-commerce or mobile commerce.
E-commerce represents an opportunity for merchants as it expands the customer base, adds a distribution channel, increases sales time, improves profit margin by reducing fixed costs, develops customer relations, facilitates purchase, etc. Indeed, e-commerce is particularly functional for consumers. They have access to more offers, cheaper prices and with the added bonus of more time to learn about the product.
The role of social networks in e-commerce
To understand the role of social networks in e-commerce is to understand its usefulness.
Create a community of consumers
With social networks, it is possible to create a community. This fact makes it possible to federate and retain customers around the brand. Thus, social media builds brand credibility and consumer trust in it.
Improve customer service
Social networks facilitate the interaction between the brand and the consumer thanks to the immediacy of responses to customer requests, the viral effect of a publication, or the promotion of products with smart features. Social media thus facilitate communication between the seller and the consumer at all times.
Better understand customers
The billions of users feed personal information to social networks themselves. This makes these platforms a relevant source of customer information to create a more personalized, refined and therefore more effective approach.
Convincing consumers to buy
Social networks have a strong influence on the customer’s purchase decision. The content produced on these channels is more relevant and has more visibility thanks to its permanent connection with customers. Moreover, in 2017, investments in digital exceeded those made on television.
The importance of social networks in e-commerce
Thus, social networks represent a lever in their own right to develop an e-commerce activity. As of 2017, 83% of e-merchants choose these platforms for commercial purposes. In March 2017, 8 million businesses had a business account on the Instagram platform. In July, that figure rose to 15 million. And by the end of that same year, 25 million companies had an account on this photo and video sharing platform. These figures reveal the growing interest that e-commerce companies have in social networks. This rapid evolution is explained by the high added value that these platforms represent for their activities.
The success of their online store does not depend only on the quality of the products sold, but also on the increase in traffic to their site. Social media is an excellent vehicle for traffic and a way to compete internationally by communicating with a large audience, as 48% of the world’s population uses social networks, or 3.7 billion people.
In addition, putting social at the center of the strategy allows both access to valuable data about consumers, facilitates the purchasing process by facilitating access to the product, and reaches an increasingly connected target. The figures are decisive: more than 2/3 of French people are registered on at least one of the social platforms and spend nearly 1 hour 30 minutes a day ; 1/4 of Internet users say they consult social networks to find information about a product or service before buying; 62% of Internet users have already shared information about a product on social networks after buying it, and 56% of Internet users say that the publications of relatives influence their act of purchase. The « social media » strategy is thus a real consumer relay.
Which platforms for which purposes?
E-commerce uses social networks for three main objectives: to make its brand known, to disseminate its promotional offers and to promote its customer relationship. However, it is important to note that social networks do not spread the same message. In this case, it is necessary to determine upstream the target, as well as the message you want to convey. We will take example from three social networks for the general public.
It is the most used tool with 33 million active French users per month and 2.45 billion users worldwide. It allows companies to create and relay content (contests very adapted to the viral mode of the Internet), to make surveys and advertisements, to program event animations (live, story, etc.), to communicate with its audience. It thus promotes: the development of brand awareness, the highlighting of products, and the animation of the community.
It is a platform that requires a lot of availability, because it requires great responsiveness. It is mainly used to communicate during events or to provide technical support. It is an interesting platform, with 12 million active French users per month and 145 million users worldwide. Twitter relies on influencer notoriety. In this sense, it is more wise for your brand to create a relationship with a blogger who will test your products at first, and who will then relay the products once he is convinced.
Focuses on the « visual », highlighting product images. This platform is used by 17 million active French people per month, and by 1 billion people worldwide. It is very popular, and even essential in the world of fashion, decoration, gastronomy, tourism, etc. In short, in areas where the visual aspect is essential. Thus, the applications most frequently used by brands are: the posting of catalogs, the distribution of photos taken in situations, and the display of technical descriptions.