There's no debate about the dominance of social media in our lives, shaping behaviour and influences and opening connections worldwide. With social media dominance always on the rise, it has become a marketplace where customers and marketers interact with each other.
Commerce has become a huge part of social media, now metamorphosing into a concept called social commerce. Social commerce is an important subset of e-commerce, as businesses now sell directly to customers via social media platforms.
The concept is becoming an important business model in Africa; small and medium-sized enterprises are already the most significant users, while big e-commerce platforms have also started to adopt it. According to Research and Markets, the social commerce industry in Africa is expected to grow by 38.9% annually to reach $69m this year.
According to a 2019 survey, Facebook and Instagram are used by Africans for online shopping more than e-commerce marketplaces.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is the concept of direct selling to customers via social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Unlike social media marketing, where businesses use social media for marketing and redirecting customers to their central marketplace or website, with social commerce, they sell directly to customers on social media.
Benefits of using social commerce
There are a lot of benefits of incorporating social commerce into your business;
For personalising the shopping experience for customers
With social commerce, businesses get to access customers' touchpoints easily. This improves the relationship between businesses and their customers.
Diversification of the marketplace
Social commerce offers businesses the opportunity to market and sell their products on several platforms. It isn't just about getting customers to a particular marketplace or website before they can complete their buyers' journey. With social commerce, businesses can meet customers where they are likely to spend most of their digital time and sell to them.
Increased revenue and sales
Social commerce gives businesses access to more customers, increasing sales and revenues.
Drives authentic engagement
Engagement is easy to get on social media, where people are eager to share experiences with brands. When done right, social commerce can increase businesses' shares, likes, comments, and follows. Personalising shopping experiences for customers generates trust and loyalty for brands, and when customers have this trust, they can easily share recommendations with others.
Access to data
Social commerce features provide direct access to customers; businesses can legally obtain customers' information from social profiles, comments etc. which can become valuable data. Data is key to understanding customer behaviour which businesses can use to improve their offerings.
Incorporating social commerce
Incorporating social commerce into your business involves several steps;
Before developing a social commerce strategy, businesses must research the platform their customers use the most. Business to Business (B2B) would likely find their customers on LinkedIn more than on Twitter, while Business to Customer (B2C) companies can leverage the massive audience on Facebook in Africa.
Customer Data is the most important in the social commerce strategy. With data, businesses can create a personalised shopping experience for customers to drive trust and loyalty.
Engage the audience
It isn't easy to acquire customers on social media without engaging the audience. Engaging an audience on social media via surveys, discounts, shoutouts etc., will encourage users to check out your products and buy from you.
Features and functionalities
Businesses can use several features and functionalities to make buying through social media easy for users.
These buttons move a user into the buying process via social media.
Social media platforms allow businesses to embed their products on their profiles, social media posts and ads. For example, Instagram and Facebook have dedicated features for shopping on its platform.
Social media platforms now have features that allow customers to save products they want to buy later.
Social media platforms- Facebook and Instagram- have storefront features businesses can use to let you showcase their products on social media.
Businesses can set up chat boxes on their social media platforms to respond to queries about products.
Businesses must streamline payments to make purchasing easier for customers.
Fincra provides businesses with tools to efficiently collect payments from customers worldwide. With Receive Money on Fincra, businesses can receive payments in their local currencies from anywhere globally via cards, bank transfers, mobile money or Checkout.
For Fincra, the movement of value is as important as anything for businesses, and we have products and features to make payment seamless and reliable for businesses across Africa.
Fincra also has Make Payments, allowing businesses to make payments to either an account or a Fincra Wallet. We also issue Virtual Accounts for quick payment collection from customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, Nigeria, the United States and other African countries in USD, GBP, EUR and NGN.