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How Social Media Shopping is Increasing Customer Engagement

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Brooke Lynch

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Mobile shopping is at an all-time high, and new technology has allowed customers the ability to diversify their shopping experience. With individuals making more purchases on their smartphones, apps like Instagram have started to replace the local mall. Social platforms are making it easier than ever to make purchases; they provide customers with a marketplace-like experience, giving them an abundance of beautifully displayed products, accessible at any moment.

With all its success on Instagram, Facebook is bringing the shopping feature to more of its platforms. WhatsApp, a mobile messaging-service, introduced a shopping feature in October, after stating the global pandemic has increased the need for efficient customer service and sales. Facebook furthered its reasoning by referencing research showing customers prefer messaging businesses for help and are more likely to continue with a purchase after the conversation.

The company has continued to supplement the feature to make it even more prominent on the app, adding a shopping button on top of chats and, most recently, a cart feature that lets customers order multiple items in one conversation. The service, which began as a way to conversationally make purchases, is now settling in to be a more traditional shopping platform.

The app has seen some initial success in the space; over 175 million people have used the platform to reach out to a business since its release. This progress shows us that customers are willing to use nontraditional tools to make purchases, and they may enjoy a more informal approach when connecting with your brand. 


Social Shoppers

With more people turning to social media to find new products, we can understand why Facebook is rolling out shopping services on all of its platforms. Instagram has quickly evolved into an online shopping mecca. Its 1 Billion monthly users can now benefit from the convenience of making purchases while scrolling their favorite accounts. 

Businesses are even being created after finding success on social platforms. Since the pandemic began individuals are using Instagram for their quarantine-businesses, building charcuterie board delivery services and selling tie-dye designs. Customers are seeing businesses being built from the ground up, and engagement is high. One-third of the most viewed Instagram stories are from businesses. 

From this, we can see that shoppers are interacting with brands more frequently and in a very personal way; social channels are helping to form new relationships that may not have been established through a more traditional customer experience. 


eCommerce Impact 

With both an increase in shopping on social platforms and an influx of new business engagement, we’re starting to see a different side of eCommerce. Small businesses are thriving and there is a newfound sense of community. Customers are freer to ask questions and connect with brands through this more social approach. 

Social media platforms encourage personality and authenticity and followers are becoming more inclined to reach out to your business. With this information, we can continue to gain a better understanding of our multidimensional customers.

The rise of shopping on WhatsApp and Instagram gives us insight into the customer’s desire beyond initial convenience factors; they’re looking for a personalized and engaging experience. Businesses need to take this into account when considering their future customer service strategies.   


Resource Planning

With this growth, companies also need to consider the long-term customer service impact of social media purchases. Brands must start allocating resources to these growing platforms to manage the increase in consumer demand. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen unprecedented increases in call volume that left industries overwhelmed. By adapting customer service resources now, we can avoid our previous mistakes.

As individuals increasingly make purchases on social networks, they will expect to receive customer service within these same channels. They, moreover, will expect that service to match the quality they would find in a “traditional” channel like phone or email. Companies need to be prepared for this shift, ensuring they can deliver a frictionless, memorable experience wherever and whenever the customer chooses to connect.