Here’s the reality: we’re no longer following a linear journey to a purchase. We rarely sit down at our computer to thoroughly research all our options. We buy from multiple devices and from brands we inherently trust, even when we’re not able to pinpoint specific reasons why we trust them. This is where it gets tricky for eCommerce brands; they must work extra hard to earn that trust.
We’ll walk you through two online shopping trends with the potential to improve the brand’s bottom line in this evolving era of ecommerce: social shopping and full journey personalization.
Selling On Social
The fact that desktop brings more traffic to online shops and converts better than mobile isn’t all that new. As consumers, we’re fine with researching potential purchases on mobile, but still prefer a bigger screen when spending our money. This is where social media has the potential to fill the gap. Consider these facts:
- Average session duration for traffic referred to ecommerce sites from Instagram is 192 seconds
- Websites with more Pinterest traffic enjoy higher average order values
- Average order value for traffic that came from social media is $102.88
The chunk of time spent on social media has been increasing over the years and now sits at 30%—over 2 hours per day. Combine this with the above shopping behaviors and you have a fertile ground to increase sales by tapping into Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest’s rapidly evolving shopping features. While the buyable pins on Pinterest launched way back in 2015, they are to selected retailers in US. This is where Shopping on Instagram takes the lead. The shop-the-feed feature for businesses launched in the US in October 2017 and has since expanded into more countries, available to anyone with an approved Facebook Shop. At its core, it enables brands to skip the ‘link-in-bio’ workaround for products mentioned in their posts.
Now, brands can link to any product in their shop directly on the Instagram post, along with a description and an option to buy, allowing them to provide a seamless shopping experience for the customer. For Lulus, a women’s clothing store, implementing shopping on Instagram brought over 1,200 orders and over 100,000 sessions, and the feature is currently free.
Who does it well
Goal-setting planners and accessories shop Cultivate What Matters, created a unique brand experience within their Instagram account. Their bright color palette draws users’ eyes, even in a ‘busy’ feed. Each post takes you behind the scenes into both their company operations and customers’ experiences, while also guiding users through the process of setting goals. And those feeling inspired and ready to embrace goal-setting can purchase products right from the posts—a feature that doesn’t feel pushy, but helpful.
How you can take action
Choose the platform your audience uses daily
Dive into analytics for each of your social accounts to understand your audiences’ demographic and behavioral makeup. More importantly, begin understanding how your visitors browse your online shop based on the social channel that directed them to your site. This will unearth which channels deliver higher conversion rates and order .
There are several tools and techniques to start with this.
Make the most out of Google Analytics by:
- Setting up goal conversions. This will help you attribute the impact of each channel towards goals like email subscriptions and completed purchases. The function is available in the Admin section under Goals > New Goal.
- Analyzing traffic and behavior per platform. Under Acquisition > Channels, you can click on Social and analyze sessions based on bounce rate, average session duration, goal conversion rates, and even revenue generated per platform.
- Building a custom dashboard under Customization > Dashboards. You can add widgets like sessions, ecommerce conversion rates, specific goal conversion rates, and more.
The next step is to dig into the analytics of each platform you maintain an account. On Facebook, use the Audience Insights tool to build an audience you want to target and analyze traits, like demographics, income, job titles, and interests. On Pinterest, dive into the People you reach > Interests section and find boards and brands that your audience engages with. In Twitter Analytics, you’ll find interests, occupation, and buying style as the most valuable insights.
Finally, you can take advantage of paid tools like Agorapulse, SproutSocial, or Simply Measured to generate advanced reports on engagement across channels, benchmarking, keyword monitoring, campaign reporting, and overall impact social channels have on your bottom line.
Implement a shopping feature, but don’t forget to tell a story
You decide to build a native shopping feature to your platform of choice and promote your products endlessly. More touchpoints mean more sales, right? Not so much. Few go on social media to buy stuff, so inherently, they don’t want to feel they’re being sold to. Build a narrative around the passion and sprinkle your products into it.
Arm The Animals an apparel company that raises awareness and funds for animal rescues, combines influencer marketing, shoppable posts and hilarious jokes to pull users into their story and share their message.
Personalizing Experiences, Not Just Touchpoints
With online shopping, personalization is about making the purchase journey an opportunity for consumers to connect with a brand to the point where the company understands their habits and pain points. Almost 40% of online consumers have abandoned a retailer’s website because there were too many options. Thanks to Netflix and Hulu, visitors have gotten used to websites analyzing their activity and taking the guesswork out of product searches by providing relevant suggestions. The art of personalizing our visitors’ experiences comes from on their purchase history, products currently in their shopping cart, geographic location, search queries, and most often—a combination of these.
So what can you personalize if you don’t have Amazon’s resources? Here are a few :
- Product recommendations: best sellers, similar items to those viewed, related items to those added to cart, or items others have bought together. You can go beyond this and create a custom set of recommendations on a regular basis, just like Stylit used to do:
- Social proof notifications: A real-time number of in stock items against customers who have it in their cart or number of items bought in the last 24 hours. Booking.com is a master of this:
- Emails: cart abandonment emails and recommendations based on previous purchases. Kate Spade combined both in the same email, along with offering a 15% discount:
Website experience: customized pop-ups and inline content beyond just products based on current and previous sessions and purchases. Fashion brand Look does this perfectly on multiple fronts. I buy from them every few months, something they’re monitoring, even when I’m not logged in to their website. Upon opening the homepage, I see several personalizations: they’ve defaulted it to my country and currency, show offers for women, and list items I viewed the last time I was on the website:
When subscribing to their newsletter, customers can select a gender and receive emails perfectly tailored to their preferences. They also never fail to gently remind me that I haven’t bought anything in a couple of months, and studies that win-back campaigns not only drive a high open rate, but also help recover significant lost revenue.
How to take action
Identify your goals. Define what you want to achieve with personalization and your way to measure your performance against that goal. You might be looking to:
- Increase the average order value
- Boost the number of pages your customers view during their purchase
- Drive more email newsletter signups if you found them to be the best-converting channel
Before you kick off your personalization efforts, make sure you have a clear picture of what you’ll measure to ensure a positive return on your investment. Use Google Analytics to track sessions from earlier touchpoints to both completed goals and drop-offs so that you can optimize your customer journey as you go.
Determine the data you have against the data you need. Are you collecting the information you require to personalize various touchpoints for your visitors? Identify the tools you need to track the information, as well as those that will help you personalize different . These typically cover a range of touchpoints, from personalizing the website shopping experience to uniquely triggered emails with customized content. Evergage, Demandware, Recart and RightMessage are just a few of many available.
The art of acting on these trends isn’t about jumping into something you’ll just give up on couple months down the line. They serve our online behaviors and move as we do, which results in customers who continue to buy from the brand they trust—and shout their experience from the rooftops.