The Evolving Role of Social Media in e-Commerce


We tend to see and analyse the relationship of Social Media and e-Commerce as something of recent origin. But the relationship between the two is governed by the age-old principle of business.

“Wherever the people go, business must follow”

With the advent of Social Media people started spending a sizeable portion of their day on these platforms. And with the growing varieties of Social Media platforms, now everybody is connected to one or the other Social Media all the time. Even we get up at night with notification vibration of pings from different Social Medias.

When the customers are on social media how can the businesses stay away from them?

Today Social Media and e-Commerce enjoy a well-defined symbiotic relationship with each other. We clearly see the e-Commerce companies attracting and getting their customers from Social Medias. While behind the curtain, these Social Medias too are earning their bread and butter through the revenue earned by the e-businesses.

A very interesting question arises here – What are the roles played by Social Media in e-Commerce?

Introducing Customers to Products Available

We are living in a time where things are not produced as per the needs or demands. The business houses now manufacture a product and then create its need or demand among the general public. Today there are lots of things in the consumer’s basket that weren’t even known by our counterparts a decade earlier. Majority of these things are born out of profit making motto of businesses rather than their needs or demands by the customers.

Take for example Smartphone. Today we buy smartphones with features we don’t even need. The day you get used to the features of your phone and start feeling content, you’ll see a more latest version being advertised on social media. And then… you are again ready to be the buyer of the new Smartphone.

Search on any search engine some tips, let’s say relieving back-pain caused due to prolonged sitting. Now log in to any of your social media account and you’ll see advertisements of ergonomic chair, seat-cushions, back-cushions and many more such things pouring from nowhere. This is what social media does for e-Commerce. They are looking for prospective customers and introducing the customer to all sorts of products they may buy.

Giving Customers’ Details to e-Commerce Business

Apart from introducing customers to the available product bases, the Social Media also provides customers’ details to the business. Getting customers’ details help businesses to do targeted marketing. Share any detail or your interest on Social Media and you’ll start getting customized product advertisements that suits your interest and wants.

Some social media platforms like facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. give the seller’s option for paid advertisements. These advertisements are shared to the people who fall in the ‘target’ category of that particular seller’s products.

These targeted advertisements are very profitable to the sellers as they promote impulse buying. When a customer has to buy something and he needs to go to the store; he would think before buying. But the advertisements on Social Media encourage people for impulsive buying by showing mouth-watering offers that are for limited period. As the advertisements are direct link to the e-store from where one can order the product in just some clicks, people tend to order instantly without thinking twice. What could be more tempting than getting a product that you need (or believe so) in some clicks delivered to your doorstep?

Increasing Interaction between the Buyers and Sellers

Social Media also increase interaction between the buyers and sellers. All e-Commerce sites are actively using Social Media for their promotion. This gives customers a very good opportunity to give their feedback to their product providers.

Like all other communications, this interaction too is bilateral affair.

Sellers no doubt use this interaction in getting positive feedbacks and user generated contents to attract customers. But this is a very powerful tool for customers too. They can pressurize the e-commerce site to enhance their service or return defective product or anything like this.
An e-Commerce website can ignore negative feedback on their own site but they cannot afford to do the same on a Social Media. Take an issue to the Social Media and the e-business would do anything to make the customers happy again. Social Media can make anything viral and if it’s something negative, it can adversely affect the overall business of that particular e-commerce venture.

Keeping e-businesses in Line with Customer’s’ Choice

Social Media does not only profits e-commerce by providing them customer base. They also have the power to make the customers strong. Although there were and there are organisations to hear customers’ complaint but they are not as effective as Social Medias. The legal procedures of filing complaints and providing proof thereon are a time taking and cumbersome task. But on Social Media everything can be done very fast.

Recently Amazon India, a giant of ecommerce, was compelled to take down a product within 24 hours of its launch due to the Social Media. It entered an ashtray in its product range, the shape of which was demeaning to female body. Someone took it to Social Media and the public got so outrageous that the tray was removed within 24 hours. Nothing else can give such power to the customers.
Creating Direct Personal Contact between Buyers and Sellers

Interacting publicly via posts and comments is much different than one to one chat. With personal chatting Social Medias like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. the e-commerce ventures are able to create close relationship with their customers.

Surveys have proved customers are more likely to contact a seller through messaging than calling on customer care number. So the trend of creating personal contact with customers via chat is at hike. When customers come across certain product while surfing their social media account, they can simply message the provider and get details about the product. An instant reply from the seller builds a trust and buyer is more likely to buy the product after being satisfied with the answer.

Instant and Measurable Results of Different Tactics

From the time of evolution, Businesses do all they can to lure customers. In Social Media, too businesses try different type of tactics such as – Informative content, user generated content, paid advertisements etc. But the interesting fact here is the result of this tactics used on Social Media can give instant and measurable results. These results work as a guide for businesses in creating their future advertisement plans.

Suppose, a business is getting more users response on its informative contents than the user generated content, then it may decide to focus on producing more and more informative contents. If the result is vice-versa the business may focus on requesting its happy customers to write positive review for them.

Likes, Comments, Views, Reach are some of the measuring scales available on Social Medias that businesses use to know their result.

Boosting the SEO Ranking and Increasing Leads

Social Medias like facebook and twitter are very important in deciding SEO ranking of a site. If an e-commerce is mentioned on Social Media, their posts are liked, shared and commented upon more than its competitor then the Search Engine is sure to keep its ranking high.

Suppose a person wishes to buy a t-shirt and he searches for options without going to a particular site. The search engine then will rank the e-commerce site that has been mentioned at Social Media more often than others in relation to t-shirt or t-shirt designs.
A good SEO ranking directly means more traffic and more leads. So the Social Media is a powerful tool that can drive traffic to ecommerce sites and increase their profitability.

The Call of Action

After knowing the complementary relationship with Social Medias can you afford to own a business and stay out of the Social Medias? Do you think only having a Social Media account in the name of your business is enough?

Answer to both of the question is a big NO!

Then what is the right thing to do? Obviously, you need to make a powerful presence on Social Media and keep a regular contact with your audience.

Let’s see what all can you do to make your Social Media presence powerful as well as profitable for your e-venture.

The first thing you need in the process is a well designed Social Media Page for your Business. Your Social Media Page is your online introduction. It is the first impression that can either make the visitors stop and scroll your page or make them go without noticing anything. You may want high quality professionals to do the Social Media Page Designing for you. Visitors on Social Media are always in a hurry so if there’s nothing to attract their eyeballs, your page will go unnoticed despite having paid for advertisements.

Once your well designed page attracts visitors’ attention; it’s your duty to keep them engaged with interesting and informative contents. There should also be someone to revert to the visitors’ queries instantly. And above all your products and services must be at par to the customers’ expectations.




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