In recent years, social media has become popular worldwide, and its popularity has influenced several industries in due course. With more than 2 billion users, social media has emerged as the decisive influencing platform for consumers of all industries. In the e-commerce context, social media’s impact has guided user intention for purchases. Social media interactions and commitments have positively affected businesses in the last decade, especially in moulding purchase intention in e-commerce.
In fact, an article by ValueWalk quoted that companies generate about $2.4 million every minute through diverse e-commerce channels, wherein most of the revenue is linked to social media, especially popular sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Ecommerce stores can grow with the indirect influence of social media, especially on branding and consumer spending.
Facebook had reported 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2013. 70 million people used Pinterest, and Twitter included 200 million active users in the same year. Four years hence, the number has increased drastically, also delivering a profound impact on e-commerce. Facebook has 1.94 billion monthly active users while Twitter’s monthly active user base has swelled to 255 million in 2017.
A user might become aware of new brands or promotions through their Facebook feeds and then make up their minds to make the purchase later. Social media campaigns, according to Epsilon data indicate shopping habits and trends that facilitate customer engagement than other marketing channels.
Influence of Social Media on Consumer Shopping
- Free Marketing Tool: Since social media works as a free marketing tool for customer engagement worldwide, it is incredibly effective owing to its reach. Although other media channels still have their specific role in modern advertising, social media channels incur lower costs in the long run and are also the most efficient, if done right.
- Two-way communication: Additionally, social media marketing is purely two-way communication between the business and the consumer. Other channels do not give the same freedom of interactivity that allows for instantaneous input from users.
- Personalised Ads: Every input also comes from diverse quarters, as each user is different from the other in terms of location, demography and even interest. This fact paves the way for personalised advertisements based on local demographics. Companies can even A/B tests their highly personalised messages for specific audiences.
- Multiplier Effect: Does any other channel benefit from the multiplier effect more than the social media channels? None of the channels presents this possibility wherein within a matter of seconds, users can send messages to thousands of people via the web. To get the same reach, businesses might have to spend millions of dollars, but a low-cost yet effective and timely social media campaign can go viral overnight. The success and reach achieved by a viral campaign can be replicated only by a few corporate advertisements in the traditional print media world.
Should your E-Store Embrace Social Media?
Most shoppers spend a lot of time surfing the Web, especially on the mobile nowadays. The huge number of hours that users spend on social media on an average drives businesses to invest in popular social media platforms.
Social media can help your business connect with millions of potential customers worldwide. Website traffic has received a boost owing to social media channels, and business sales have improved considerably with specific marketing campaigns.
This AddShoppers infographic touches upon the impact of social media on e-commerce succinctly.
Social Media’s Effect on Sales
It is not often that sales show huge impact owing to social media campaigns. As per Black Friday sales of 2013 revealed through a Mashable report, only 1% e-commerce site visits originated from social media, and just a fraction of those visits led to sales. Since then the share of social media in e-commerce sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday has swelled multiple folds.
Patrick from Elite Strategies claims that sites like Facebook and Pinterest will not have a direct impact on sales, but are efficient enough in building brand awareness. These channels provide the ability to companies to interact with consumers. Additionally, users and prospects can also voice their opinions better on the platform, even a bad experience irrespective of any situation. A business owner can listen to their customers and also issue prompt responses.
Impact of social media on shipping and order fulfilment
Social media also impacts warehousing and order fulfilment. Ecommerce stores can grow with help from social media campaigns that consist of contest prizes, directly connected to fulfilment services. You can see 500 e-commerce stores plan to grow in 2017. Viral campaigns also require faster and higher volume of product shipping than initially planned.
When small-business owners look for shipping companies to handle businesses, they nearly opt for business-focused social networking sites including LinkedIn for their feedback.
The Connection between Social Media and Word of Mouth
Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising report revealed that 84 percent of consumers believed that word of mouth was the most effective form of advertising as it prompts purchases. Social media channels connect family and friends who use word of mouth and feedback to buy goods and services. Companies leverage the same channel to increase the buzz around their brand.
Hence although social media marketing might not translate to sales directly, they are perfect tools for building brand recognition, influencing purchasing decisions of consumers around the globe in due course.