Social Commerce in times of ‘social distancing’

56% of consumers spend less time on shopping in physical stores. The question is: where have these consumers gone? The answer: social media (Salesforce, 2021).

If there’s one industry that has had to adapt during the pandemic, it’s the retail market. Closed doors or limited opening hours shifted the pressure to other parts of the organization. Traditional service and social channels now became touchpoints where consumers wanted to make purchases, whilst still expecting the same quality of customer service. This demands a lot from your people, processes and technology. Not to mention, scalability has proven to be one of the biggest challenges. One of the most promising solutions: Social Commerce. What does it take to implement this as a pure retailer or as a D2C producer in the FMCG, using the Salesforce platform? How do you ensure the required scalability? What steps and tools are needed?

In order to create a clear picture, it is important to clarify what exactly ‘social commerce’ entails, what it means to consumers, and how we, VANEIGENS, look at it. For consumers, social commerce means that people can purchase products and services via social media channels whilst interacting with brands. “Selling products and services through social media channels” is therefore the most common definition of Social Commerce. Whilst this is true, we like to also focus on the opportunity that customer care can also be also optimized through these social media channels. Linking social media channels to the existing customer service data can give agents an overview of past interactions in both sales and service, making the right response to a question much more likely.

Integration Social Channels

To set up your social commerce processes, you first need to integrate the desired and most used social media channels of your target group into your CRM system. By selecting a tool that enables inbound and outbound messaging via social media channels, you are able to control all your channels in one single, intelligent application, such as our own AskAmy solution. AskAmy integrates with the most important (social) communication channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messenger, Apple Business Chat, Telegram, Intercom.io and SMS.

Integrating with the Salesforce platform as a central data source will provide you with a 360° view of your customers. With the history of all purchases and interactions available, service agents can personalize their approach and proactively provide support and advice on the customer’s demands. For example, by providing the customer with information about stores and their stock related to specific brands and products. Several retail organizations are already successfully using AskAmy and VANEIGENS’ social commerce optimization, including interesting clients like Omoda, Rituals and Picnic.

Social Sales: From service to revenue

In order to take customer care to a next level, AskAmy also offers the possibility to set up social selling. By integrating with the online store, service employees are able to offer relevant products via AskAmy and the respective social channel. The order and payment of the products is then facilitated via the app. And best of all? All customer data is immediately available and updated in real-time. Want to see a nice example in retail? Then have a look at a demo of the integration at one of our proud clients: Rituals.

Scalable & future proof

Of course, for an optimal customer experience, it is not only important to properly set up social commerce, as the more traditional channels are still the go-to solution for most customers. Think, for example, of telephony, which can be perfectly connected to Salesforce and the Social Commerce setup via CTI (Computer Telephony Integration). CTI ensures that inbound telephony is directly linked to an existing Salesforce customer, which enables that all data is immediately available to offer the customer an optimized experience. By integrating all channels into the Salesforce platform and operating from one central data source, it becomes increasingly simple to add new channels, such as other socials, or new tools such as CTI and clienteling. Establishing a scalable foundation is the essential first step to facilitate a next level customer experience. How is your organization doing in that respect?

In part 2 of ‘Digital Opportunities in Retail’, we will deep-dive into managing traffic to the physical stores, optimizing the in-store experience to enrich a proactive approach, and take the customer experience to the next level.

Would you like to know more about the added value of VANEIGENS regarding Salesforce, customer service and the optimization of social commerce in the field of retail and FMCG? Please contact me at jh@vaneigens.com or make an appointment directly via the website.

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