Social buying is not about offering customers the same buying experience they receive through traditional e-commerce. It is about redefining it for a new medium, clearly owning the customer experience, and managing social as one would any potentially profitable sales channel rather than as an add-on.
Designed correctly, social media as a sales channel takes retail one step closer to seamless, more like a link in an experience chain.
With Accenture research showing only 48 percent of shoppers describe the act of completing a purchase on mobile devices and tablets as easy, we have some road to travel.
Our vision for successful social buying means consumers no longer have to search for products they need online. Rather, products are pushed to them through social media at the right moment—the moment of inspiration, where an impulse becomes a purchase.
The savvy social seller is a master of digital analytics, pushing just the right product or service at just the right time based on data gleaned from recent purchases, stated preferences, affiliations and the like.
Conversion rates are still begging for a savior at many companies, namely because they treat social selling as an add-on rather than a channel in its own right. There are no clear lines of ownership across the customer journey. In 2015, between $3 and $4 trillion was lost due to abandoned online shopping carts, an amount more than two times greater than the total revenue generated by e-commerce platforms.
The era of the über-consumer is upon us. Customization and personalization rule the day, from product design to delivery.
Eight new technologies are fueling the mad dash by retailers to meet consumer's heightened demands:
Internet of Things (IoT)
Autonomous vehicles / drones
Artificial intelligence (AI) / machine learning
Augmented reality (AR) / virtual reality (VR)
Most of these technologies are 2 to 10 years out to full readiness. Thus, the level of the change in the next 10 years will surpass all that has happened in the past 40.
To learn more about how your company can get into the retail digital swim, check out the report Accenture produced for the World Economic Forum on Digital Transformation in the Retail industry.
Three key steps can help enable companies who want the profits social buying can bring:
Social media presence must be understood as a new digital storefront and supported throughout the organization, from marketing and sales to finance.
Every brand is a publisher and should leverage bloggers and influencers to provide engaging content that is not only relevant and shareable, but also actionable as a path to purchase.
Companies must manage social media as a dedicated, integrated channel. They should use social buying to streamline the online shopping process and shorten the sales funnel, decreasing lost sales due to cart abandonment.