How to use social as part of your broader ecommerce strategy was the recent topic of an article Pattern wrote for the Australian Retailers Association website.
Below I've created a version of that article to remind our wider retail and brand audience of three most important factors to ensure that your social media presence complements your wider digital ecommerce strategy.
Social media has been around for years. And when it comes to how to run it alongside your digital strategy, you may already have heard it all. The dos and don’ts, the best practices, influencers, content is king, and so on. There are thousands of videos and blogs on how to use social media to achieve your business goals, which only adds to the confusion.
So, what should you do? Let’s look at three of the most important factors in getting social media marketing to work harmoniously with your wider digital ecommerce strategy.
Let’s start with the most misunderstood point of social—where it belongs in the customer journey. Social media has traditionally been great at driving awareness and engagement for brands, but what about how to use social at other points in the customer journey?
Think about how you consume social media, it’s usually when you’re trying to find some joy and distract yourself for a moment. And at that moment, your mind is open. You’re in ‘exploration’ mode, and you’re open to being dazzled or informed about something fun and entertaining. After this exposure, you think it over and generally search for what you’re looking for on Google or another search engine; this is where search ads come in.
Search ads generally target customers with purchase ‘intent’ rather than those in the ‘exploration’ phase. When you’re searching for something, for example, a specific product, you are more likely to take action.
We like to use a team sport analogy to help our clients visualise this. Using Football (Soccer) as an example, search ads are the goal scorers up the front, while social would be the midfield players.
They can win the ball over (inform and engage customers) then pass it on to the goal scorers up the field to drive revenue (converting customers to sales). The takeaway point is, historically social and search work more effectively and efficiently to meet, address, and nurture customers along the full journey if used in conjunction with each other. However, this journey has been evolving. Today we see social bringing the ball up and scoring the goal themselves.
This has caused social platforms to respond with ad formats explicitly designed around purchase intent, such as Facebook’s collection ad, which showcases your product via a selected combination of videos and images.
Social’s contribution to last-click attribution has also been growing; therefore, retailers and brands need to be aware of social media’s ability to span the customer journey when a robust and bespoke attribution model is used.
What about organic social? Many brands look at organic social such as their Facebook pages or Instagram profiles as a requirement or simply customer service, but this is like buying a Ferrari and only using it to pick up the groceries. It’s merely under-utilised.
Organic social is where your most engaged and loyal followers live, which, in turn, can be used to drive revenue from these customers. Therefore, use it to post the latest sales and promotions while rewarding your best customers with exclusives. You have the opportunity to grow the channel as a result, not to mention the opportunity to grow your revenue.
Additionally, this can help to maximise the customer and brand insights provided by social channels. Many savvy businesses utilise Facebook’s audience insight tools to understand customer sentiment, audience insights, brand health and how their customers have changed over time, all for free.
These social insights can also inform other parts of the business, including sales, merchandising and other aspects of your omnichannel strategy.
Finally, when you are ready to run activity on social, create a testing roadmap to run alongside your regular activity.
Marketing managers may have concerns that testing will cost them results or impact the brand. However, most social platform APIs have systems set up to ensure consistent delivery; and will actually perform better when you feed the algorithm with additional variants to cycle through.
Keep the testing simple, enable controls (i.e., keep other variables fixed), and have a good business rationale for your tests. You could learn more from a simple social media campaign than from a big-budget consumer research project.
Recognising the power of social is your first step toward a healthy digital strategy. By ensuring the channels work harmoniously together through cross-channel targeting, robust measurement, leveraging their strengths and regular testing, you are well on your way toward a stronger digital ecommerce strategy.
If you would like to discuss how to use social as part of your digital strategy - or need support with your paid or organic social presence - please don't hesitate to contact us.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.