Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Srini Venugopal
I would like to define this topic from a business or organization’s perspective. How they may leverage social networks given where consumer buyers hang out and those same consumer buyers now in their business buyer “avatar” interact and transact with businesses.
We know from recent research that the expectation of the business buyer is changing – driven by their experiences as a consumer buyer. The average consumer buyer today is used to purchasing conveniences whether that is personalized buying preferences, delivery options, or payment methods all in a few short clicks. Ever more so, it is these factors that dictate where a consumer buys from. Now consider that the same consumer buyer is expecting a lot more from a business ecommerce site. Businesses that adapt this paradigm quickly and can deliver in that wavelength will stay ahead of their competitors and continue to maintain loyalty of their faithful and repeat buyers.
Let’s consider a few areas that digital commerce and social media intersect.
Place – meet your buyers where they hang out
Traditional marketing campaigns and newsletters must become social – be targeted through Twitter and FB. If your business does not have a twitter or FB presence then that needs to change right away. Social media helps shape opinions in a positive or negative way in real time. Take for example; an airline is now so active on social media. Since a consumer can easily share a positive or negative experience with the click of a button on social media and the airline is equally quick to jump with a response in real time before a situation gets out of hand. Buying decisions or boycotts happen very quickly because a customer had a bad buying or customer service experience. Deep links from marketing campaigns on social media to your commerce pages makes it easy for a buyer to complete the transaction and share their good experience with their network.
Time – meet your buyers at a time convenient to them
Responsive design and immersive design apps have now made it possible for your buyers to make a purchasing decision anytime and continue their purchasing process from work to home or to a third place at a time convenient to them. Now that your buyers are on 24×7, your business just became 24×7! For example, Alaskaair now allows me to book a journey on my iPhone thru an immersive app, and/or thru a browser on my phone.
Shaping opinions and perceptions
Consumer buyers like to share their experiences, are proud to show off their purchases, and business buyers can shape opinions and perceptions of your business on social media. Businesses need to consider how to gather feedback from their buyers at logical points in their purchasing funnel thru traditional means like surveys on the social networks and also gather opinions thru social chatter. The feedback will allow a business to respond in real time by changing their commerce experience and hence increase that synergy between their buyers and the organizations.
While a feature rich digital experience is essential, the chemistry with social media is the catalyst for business growth and buyer satisfaction.
About the Author:
Srini Venugopal, Direct eCommerce Product Management, Epicor
Srini is a leader in bringing cutting edge digital commerce programs to organizations seeking profitable and efficient growth. He is experienced in moving firms to the cloud by unlocking their on-prem product potential, realigning sales / operational systems to bring products & services to the customer at their chosen time and place. Global experience in digital commerce both B2B and B2C trends mixed with depth in product pricing, licensing, financials and business operations. You can find him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @_srinivenugopal