To understand how these social networks and their audiences have become a major issue in e-commerce, Maddyness interviewed Louis Marty, founder and CEO of Merci Handy, Antoine d’Arifat, CEO and co-founder of Magnifaïk, and Emilie Benoit-Vernay, Head of Shopify to Southern Europe.
Relational commerce, the spearhead of Social Commerce
At a time when social networks did not yet exist, customer service (telephone or face-to-face) was the best gateway to dialogue with a brand. Today it is possible to exchange freely and at any time with brands, from social networks.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok (among others) are now an integral part of the brand’s strategy: brands share their stories, their doubts, their difficulties, their joys, they publish challenges, quizzes or advice. Brands are personified there. This proximity allows the creation of a community, which constitutes the first phase of Social Commerce.
“Consumers need authenticity”says Emilie Benoit-Vernay, Head of Southern Europe at Shopify. “Now we move from transactional commerce to relational commerce. The cost of acquiring customers has increased. It has become necessary to establish a fluid experience to be in contact with your customer and build their loyalty to capitalize on a community. In the context of the emergence of the creators’ economy, our tools, such as the integration with Youtube Shopping, allow us to help them create a community and, above all, live from it”.
In fact, Social Commerce consists of selling directly from social networks. Sales are usually made through the tools available on these networks, accessible not only to those who already follow the brand, but also to those who wish to consult.
“To succeed in Social Commerce, the brand must be and remain authentic, true to itself” recalls Louis Marty, founder and CEO of Merci Handy. “You have to build a community on values that are the foundation of your company. And it’s important not to focus on the number of followers. For example, at Merci Handy, we have an interaction every 4 seconds on our social networks. But the number of followers is a vanity metric: it’s great to be cool at night and on Linkedin, but if there’s no conversion, it’s no use.
But how to lay the first stones of this community? Your creation can include free content, recurring posts, advice and, above all, highlighting your commitments. The customer must recognize himself in the values conveyed by the brand, and in the quality of the products offered. This is, for example, the strategy that has been implemented within Magnifaïk, co-founded by Antoine d’Arifat and Cristina Córdula.
In fact, Cristina Córdula is a recognized personality in the area of beauty, having become popular with the general public on the program “As Rainhas do Shopping”. Its brand of high quality products, therefore, benefited from the aura of the professional and its already existing community: “Cristina has talked about our brand on social media, and its popularity has generated real business. This allowed us to do between 5 and 10 times more revenue. But I am sure of one thing: public loyalty depends above all on the quality of the products. And we apply this principle: it is better to launch fewer products, but with better quality”.
Social Commerce, the new eldorado of BtoC brands
Social Commerce finds its success on the soil of a promising market, that of social networks. In fact, at the beginning of 2022, 4.62 billion users were active on the networks. However, these users spent an average of 2h27 per day on these same platforms. But you still need to attract users to company networks. “Today, launching an e-commerce is extremely simple. And it takes little time. 🇧🇷 says Antoine d’Arifat, CEO and co-founder of Magnifaïk🇧🇷 “However, without leverage, without traction, you’re going to start too small. If you don’t have a community and you don’t have a way to promote yourself, you’re going to progress very slowly.”
Once the community is formed, how to set up this Social Commerce? Thus, simple technological solutions allow implementing a Social Commerce solution. “From a technical point of view, Social Commerce consists of carrying out a transaction while remaining in a social environment”specifies Louis Marty. “Preferably, the customer should not leave the platforms. For the consumer, this does not matter: he wants a fluid and fast experience. So we have to ask ourselves how he finds his product and can buy it in an ecosystem where communities talk about it, where there are many opinions. 🇧🇷
Thus, some solutions offer native features. However, putting together a large professional catalog on social media is complex. External apps like Facebook Shops or Pinterest for Shopify are specifically designed to meet these needs. In fact, these tools allow you to display a complete catalog in real time on social networks. The user can buy directly from the brand’s e-shop. The brand itself can tag its products, and add links that can be consulted directly by its community. On the other hand, customers will be able to find products more easily. Advice and recommendations among community members are also facilitated.
Social networks are therefore at the heart of the customer journey: Social Commerce makes it possible to optimize this journey, reducing friction in the purchase process and therefore the loss of customers. For this, the purchase must be quick, practical and as easy as creating a post: the consumer today has no time to waste.
But, precisely, the user who is on social networks is in a favorable position for the purchase: he obtains information, consults pages or products and has time to dedicate himself to the brand. So enjoy: “With a great customer experience, it doesn’t matter if you switch from a social network to a Shopify website as long as the customer is happy,” concludes Louis Marty.