This blog post was written by social media intern Ali Flowers. Ali is a Senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studies Public Relations. Ali enjoys good food, good friends, and spending time with her family.
With the boom in social media marketing over the past few years, it was only a matter of time before e-commerce made its way into your social outlets. And who else would be the first to do it if not Facebook? And when I say that e-commerce is moving into the realm of social media, I’m not talking about ads with a link that takes you to a product page. I literally mean you can now shop on Facebook.
How Does Social Media Shopping Work?
Shopping on Facebook is done largely thanks to the development of chatbots. I realize that the name ‘chatbot’ sounds a little sci-fi and kind of far-fetched, but try not to get hung up on the name. Chatbots provide an automated way for retailers to communicate with consumers. These bots are computer programs, or conversational agents if you will, that can immediately answer product questions and lead to faster conversions. Say goodbye to the FAQ page: now every customer can ask personalized questions, avoid waiting on email responses, and get customer service without going into a brick and mortar location. It will make online shopping that much faster and more convenient.
How Does Facebook Use Social Media Shopping?
Let’s say you’re scrolling through your Facebook Newsfeed. You see a product, you’re intrigued, and you might consider making a purchase. Rather than you having to look up the product online, consult your friends, or ask around for product details, there will now be a chat window available. The window can open in your Facebook application or in the separate messenger app. You can ask the chatbot any questions you might have, and then (here it is folks) you can actually make a purchase in the chat window. You never have to go to the retailer’s website, click a link, or even open a different window.
What’s the Catch for E-commerce Businesses?
We’re realists here, so we’ll be honest: with more opportunity comes more responsibility. Yes, your business can now utilize an amazing new facet in social media, but new developments like this make the playing field that much more specialized. Social marketing has transformed from a marketing afterthought to a vital component for sales and your overall profit. It has also evolved from something that was largely free for early adopters to a “pay-to-play” models, where businesses need to invest marketing dollars if they want their target audience to see them. Simply put, your Facebook advertising is now worth a lot more, and you’ve got a lot more to lose. Social media marketing is evolving quickly, and you need to have a specialist running your various social media platforms. As far as Facebook e-commerce goes, it would be wise to have an experienced social media marketing team solidified before moving forward.
Why Should You Care?
If you’re an e-commerce retailer or social media manager running Facebook ads, doing remarketing on Facebook, your social efforts just got that much more valuable with the introduction of in-app shopping. Previously, even if you were placing ads on Facebook, people still had to visit another page to make a purchase, find product details, or even just to ask a simple question. Not anymore. You can now go from impression to conversion in minutes. E-commerce sales are now poised to happen at a rate unseen before now. Tracking your social media marketing efforts should also get easier, since you will know exactly where your sales are coming from. Attribution modeling? No need– your paid social ad and sales transaction will happen in the same window, on the same page, in the same app.
So what are you waiting for? Talk to your social media manager: it’s time to start using Facebook for e-commerce.