4 Tips for Social Holiday Consumer Engagement

With the holidays approaching rapidly, many Ecommerce sites are preparing their strategies in hopes of realizing increased sales and site visits. Social media can obviously be a very useful tool in terms of boosting engagement with the brand, but when leveraged effectively can also help with more specific tasks like promoting holiday specials, running contests themed around the holidays and so much more that represents value for your ecommerce brand. Here at Social Annex we have done some of the thinking on your behalf, and we came up with this nifty list of reminders for your holiday season social strategy.

1. Make your customers lives easier

relieved

Holiday shopping often becomes a hassle and consumers will take notice and advantage of a brand’s efforts to make the process seamless. The value of cultivating this relationship will provide brand affinity and long-term benefits. Q+A forums, AMA’s, offer advice/help, shopping tips and tricks, etc. Are all appropriate to implement and promote during the holidays.Social Annex offers various forms of social commerce that can allow your customers to engage with your brand in a way that makes their entire shopping process more informed and generally easier.

2. Start early

earlybird

Get a head start on the competition with some sort of “early bird” incentive for shopping. There are a considerable number of people who want to get their holiday shopping done in a hurry. They are perfect candidates for early engagement opportunities and sales during the Holiday season. For example if you offer some kind of contest, deal etc. that offers higher percentages off than what will be offered during the holiday, it could be very effective. These kinds of specials also have potential to spread via social media, bringing more and more early bird shoppers in to capitalize and make purchases.

3.Make customers feel good about giving

little-grinch-gif

Offer incentives, contest or deals themed around “giving” etc. You should consider the holiday season not just a sales boosting opportunity but a relationship and brand building one as well. One example would be donating a certain percentage of sales during a given time period to a certain charity. Another would be offering a giving initiative around likes, email subscriptions or another conversion metric. It’s important to be sincere and try to attach to a cause that your brand can be associated with beyond just the holiday season.

4. Keep an open mind in holiday communications

tumblr_lwrtqrMD7l1qegw8v

Your market is probably diverse and celebrates different holidays. Be conscious of this with your communications and keep it “Holiday-themed” when possible. Also, best practice is to modify your messaging depending on the platform and demo you are targeting. For example if your consumer base is 40% Jewish, it may not make sense to run a a “Christmas Giving” contest on Facebook. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many ecommerce brands fail to correctly identify their demographic and inform strategy based on that data.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Best Practices: The Top 3 Accounts to Use With Social Login

 Social Login has become a frequently used tool of many e commerce sites in the past year or so. This hasn’t happened without very good reason. This tool makes the entire user experience easier and has very tangible results in the form of decreased shopping cart abandonment and higher retention rates.

But if you are currently using or even contemplating using social logins, there remains a very important question. Which ones do you use?

The answer to that question depends on a few key factors including your site demographics, your brand, and your specific goals for using social logins. However, there are some general guidelines and best practices for social logins that can be applied across the board. Here at Social Annex we have your back. Here are the top 3 accounts to use with social logins.

Facebook_logo-2

1.Facebook 

Hands down, Facebook is the most highly recommended and widely utilized social platform used with social logins. The standout reason for using Facebook is the data collection. It offers way more access to information about your consumers than any other platform, and in addition, has the highest likelihood of being used by social login shoppers. Users that log in with Facebook also have the highest average order value. Also, 60% percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. It’s pretty much a no-brainer with this one.

google-logo

2. Google
Coming in at a very close number 2 we have the only other comparable internet giant, Google. Users average the second highest average order value while using Google. In addition, Google can access everything from Google plus to YouTube to Gmail, one of the most widely used email services on the planet. The there is a pretty good chance that a user is either already logged in on Facebook or Google, if not both.

amzn-amazon-stock-logo

3.Amazon
Amazon’s social login offers access to the largest e-commerce consumer base on the internet. The advantage of using an Amazon login is that it connects you with a vast network of shoppers and not just users. 200 million shoppers to be exact. These users may be slightly more comfortable using Amazon, especially while shopping. Retention rates are sure to increase while implementing amazon as one of your available social login accounts.

Keep in mind that this list serves simply as a guideline. Here at Social Annex, we suggest that you use 4 social login options on your site, and these are considered our top 3 recommendations. We also offer social login connections for Yahoo, Linkedin, Paypal, and more. If you would like to learn more about social logins click here.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Why Your Site Should Have an Instagram Curated Gallery

 

Instagram is widely considered the fastest growing and most frequently used social media network out, especially within the millennial demographic. As is the case with most growing social media platforms,many brands are still trying to figure out the most effective ways to utilize Instagram. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), most companies are having a hard time figuring out how to integrate this platform into their social mix in a way that doesn’t seem forced. Instagram is a very organic experience that is used by people who don’t really want to be exposed to anything that remotely resembles advertising. So, how do you leverage it in a way that makes sense for your business?

Picture1

One of the best ways to capitalize on this platform, and create some sort of tangible result in the form of ROI is the use of Instagram Curated Galleries. This tool can accomplish various marketing goals simultaneously and will be soon be considered a must have for many ecommerce websites. One obvious and major benefit is the ability to provide additional engagement opportunities between a brand and it’s most loyal consumers in a visually appealing manner. In an era where visual content is a dominating trend, the added value of consumers seeing your product used or worn in real life can not be understated. Impressions, mentions, and engagements all receive a spike in numbers as a result of this tool. The results are not all about engagement however. There are benefits in terms of ROI and retention as well. A user is more likely purchase let’s say, a pair of jeans, if they can see someone wearing them in a picture posted directly on the product page. This tool answers the “what will it look like” question that far too many online shoppers ask before eventually abandoning a product. Instagram Curated Galleries also create a way more user friendly experience that builds trust between a brand and its consumers over time.

Essentially, by using Curated Galleries an eCommerce site has the ability to take advantage of the blatant consumerism that dominates Instagram, and specify it to their own brand and product. Think of it as an extension of the consumers social media experience within their natural flow of interacting with your website. It is an enhancement to that experience to say the least.

You can check out an example of a live Curated Gallery here.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

3 Social Tools That Will Decrease Shopping Cart Abandonment

 

Shopping Cart Abandonment. It’s an issue that can plague any e-commerce site in the worst of ways. The simple notion that every day, e-tailers lose out on millions of dollars that were a few clicks away can be a hard pill to swallow. The likelihood is that if you’re selling something online, you are constantly looking for a solution to the problem and a way to retrieve sales that are lost as a result of it.

1.Social Login- Social Logins offers an easy way for customers to log-in to any e-commerce website using an existing social media account. This seamless transition makes the entire shopping and checkout experience significantly less difficult for the user. It also gives the company additional opportunities for data gathering that can be used to inform future marketing efforts. There are also options that allow the user to pay by logging from an existing account as well (usually Paypal or Amazon) .Social Logins aren’t simply just a great idea. Their effectiveness shows up in the form of numbers. 60% of users have said that they prefer social logins over traditional ones. Moreover, social logins increase retention and conversion rates 15-20%. You can check out more information on Social Logins here.

2.Reviews and Ratings- This function allows consumers to explore the past experiences and opinions of users who have purchased the product they are looking at. It provides a solution to shopping cart abandonment by making it more likely for the consumer to complete an informed purchase due to reading a good review. It instantaneously gives them more information and access to the product that would have otherwise not been available

3.Social Q+A- This is a feature that similar to ratings and reviews, affords the consumer some extend engagement with a product before they commit to the purchase. This tool has been proven to extend the period of time a user is on the site, as well as increasing the likelihood of a purchase by giving them the ability to get direct answers to product-related questions. This provides an alternative to simply closing or forgetting about a checkout/product page that the user may have had some questions about.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

4 ways to Increase Product Discovery through Social Context

If your brand is well known and loved by your customers, then you have the toughest part out of the way, but how can you retain those valuable fans and double down? Use actionable context and customer attributes to help shoppers discover the products that are the most relevant to them.

There are many sources from which context about your shoppers are readily available. The tricky part is parsing this data to pick out only the most relevant and actionable attributes, then normalizing and automating its use. There are four contextual sources below that are sure to surprise and delight your customers, helping them discover more of the products that relevant to them.

Facebook Open Graph
Encourage shoppers to connect their profiles to their preferred social network with a Social Login or by entering contests. High quality and diverse information can easily be  pulled from APIs like Facebook Open Graph. Normalize and sync this data into your CRM to provide different site experiences based on anything from gender and relationship status to favorite books and popular hobbies.

Geography
Location can be grabbed from shipping information, social networks or account creation forms. Pick out major cities and target locations with the largest number of your customers, or segment by region. Are your East Coast shoppers in the midst of a Polar Vortex? If so, maybe they will be interested in some survival supplies, very warm clothes, or maybe some board games. Create a relevant live feed for your customers with Popular Products in their area. Get creative with your campaigns beyond seasonal promotions.

Community Engagement
Segment customers who have uploaded photos, entered contests, or referred friends in the past. Treating these customers differently can help you increase onsite engagement by growing your community from the inside out. Thank them for their advocacy by granting them early access to campaigns or additional contest entries.

Friends from Social APIs
If a customer has linked or created their account to a social network, then display the activity of their friends to call their attention to products that are more relevant to them. Showcase reviews from friends, what products they have liked or shared, and items they have purchased.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Making a good First Impression with User Generated Content

We all know that first impressions matter, whether it’s a conference, a new client dinner or a first date. Does your site make a good first impression? Make your site the one that catches your customers’ eyes by calling upon and showcasing your existing community of fans. This can give your site an immediate impression of activity, like seeing a restaurant full of happy patrons.

Ask shoppers to rep your brand
Give shoppers a reason to share their content with you. Provide discounts for uploads that are upvoted by peers, host photo contests or reward customers who review and send a picture of themselves with purchased products. Once your biggest fans have helped populate your shopping experience with their content, new shoppers will join in as well. These are still considered user generated content and a great way to boost engagement across all shoppers.

Put your brand advocates front and center
80% of your social engagement will be done by 20% of your customers. Double down on the activity of that minority by showing your appreciation and showcasing their content prominently. Dedicated fans that feel they are appreciated will not only continue to provide high quality on brand content, but will also bring in new customers through word of mouth.

Create multiple ways to play
Not everyone loves taking selfies or thinks of themselves as a fashionista, but you still want these people to contribute and feel that they are a part of your brand’s online community. In addition to focusing on the selfie trend, also put an emphasis on the fact that all shoppers can vote on user photos, leave ratings and reviews, and provide input on new products.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Groupon’s doing it, you could too: 5 use cases for Flash Sales

The idea of a Groupon-style Flash Sale may turn many brand conscious marketers off, but a well orchestrated Flash Sale can be perfectly onbrand as it provides significant objective benefits. Consider the use cases below for Flash Sales and see how something like it can function as a flexible, powerful tool.

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

3 Perks of Peer Referrals

Paid advertising, pagerank, and peer referrals arguably have the largest impact on site and in store traffic. However, unlike other methods, traffic from peer referrals come with three attributes that make them more valuable than the rest. These act as an online word of mouth phenomenon, quickly driving high quality traffic on site.

peerreferrals

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

What sets your shopping experience apart?

How do you differentiate your online shopping experience? Do you compete on pricing, does your brand hold a special place in the hearts of your shoppers, is your product unique, or is it the best of breed?

Nothing’s impact on your business may ever trump your product, brand name, or customer service, but a unique shopping experience can come close. Here being different is just a start, being interesting, engaging, and helpful are what makes an impact.

1. Interesting
First time visitors often need a hook to stick around, and while being a price leader has a huge impact on conversion rates, sometimes it’s not enough. It reduces the value of each new shopper which is too bad because bargain hunters already have a higher likelihood of moving to a competitor the second they find a better deal.

New shoppers who don’t bounce immediately can be encouraged to continue their journey on your site with just a little bit of acknowledgement and a reward, even if the reward is purely symbolic rather than a discount. A badge or a link to an exclusive site category can give shoppers who are interested a reason to explore a little bit longer, maybe join your customer loyalty program, and eventually convert. Now that’s interesting!

badges

2. Engaging
Purchase history is meaningless to a customer, it provides no incentive for them to return more often or stay loyal to your brand. However, as a business, your customers with a meaningful purchase history are more valuable to your company, and they should be invested in accordingly. Public leaderboards keep longtime customers engaged with your brand and give them something they would lose by switching to a new competitor – status.

Reward new and established shoppers with discounts, exclusive offers, free shipping or personal invites to events.

gameleaderboard

3. Helpful
Nothing will outshine good ol’ fashion customer service. Calling a number and immediately connecting with a human is priceless. Getting customers to this stage is the hard part. High context product recommendations can help get them there.

In addition to past purchases and onsite behavior data from social network APIs like Facebook Open Graph can help you attach actionable and unique information to customer profiles. Knowing what region someone is from, relationship status, age, gender and more enables marketers to pick out relevant categories and serve truly helpful product recommendations.

product recommendation

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

5 Ways to Increase Review Volume Onsite

70% of Americans say they look at reviews before they move on to make a purchase. Product ratings and reviews are becoming more and more important as shoppers start to trust these opinions more than advertisements. Conversions can increase up to 50% when product reviews jump from 1 to 10 reviews. In a study on Yelp reviews, an increase in a star, led to 5-9% more overall revenue. Follow these steps to increase your review volume.

1. Make leaving reviews easy
Add a ratings and reviews feature on every product page and include visible call to actions for reviews for every product. With social login, signing in to leave a review is as easy as one click. Also add guest features for customers who prefer to leave anonymous reviews.

2. Ask for reviews at the right time
Ask for reviews in post-purchase emails which generally have a higher open and click-thru rate. Be sure to give customers adequate time to experience your product or service and they will be more likely to leave a review. These emails could just be a simple thank you to customers for their purchase and an ask for feedback from their experience.

3. Syndicate reviews from other sources
Product reviews can be written in multiple places and with syndication, you can pull these reviews to bolster the review volume on your site. If you are a brand, helping retailers populate their review pages will help your product sell against competitors.

4. Give samples in return for reviews
Send out product samples for new or promotional items to your Top Influencers in return for reviews. This accelerates the process of collecting reviews and enables you to launch new products with reviews ready.

5. Incentivize reviews as part of a loyalty program
If you have a loyalty program, make sure that leaving reviews is a rewarded action. Customers are more likely to leave a review when incentivized to do so.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS