CX ‘key to unlocking $605bn social commerce market’

mobile (2)Social commerce might be on the crest of a wave, with one forecast predicting the market will be worth $605bn (£444bn) by 2027, but many brands are set to miss out due to major failings in their customer engagement strategies.

That is according to a new conducted by Forrester Consulting for CX platform Emplifi, which quizzed 220 ecommerce leaders at top global brands.

It reveals that less than a third (30%) of them are prioritising CX, failing to cultivate and nurture customer relationships throughout the social purchase journey, and putting their long-term social commerce growth at risk.

The data underscores how, even as brands are beginning to prioritise social commerce and experience immediate returns, many still have a long way to go in terms of successfully managing the full social purchase journey. Without proper attention to CX, ecommerce leaders risk falling behind in an overly competitive market, the report claims.

More than 80% of the social commerce leaders surveyed confirmed they are investing in two or more social shops, with more than a third currently using four or more social shop platforms.

Not only are social commerce leaders adopting social shops at a swift pace, 86% expect – or have already achieved – a return on their social commerce investment within 12 months.

However, while half of the brands surveyed for the report have realised measurable revenue gains or expect incremental cross-channel revenue, the data shows the most successful social commerce efforts go beyond the immediate purchase to focus on the full customer experience.

Scaling up customer care and service is also critical to social commerce and CX. While the report highlights revenue as the ultimate outcome, over 40% of responses indicate that customer care, service and assistance are critical for social commerce and to improve overall CX.

Bot technology that provides basic communication and engagement is heavily used by the brands surveyed, but eight out of ten respondents report they are looking to invest further in more sophisticated conversational AI capabilities in order to conduct advanced transactions using virtual bots.

Finally, of the brands surveyed, 70% plan to invest in personalised and group/friend video shopping capabilities, as well as one-to-many influencer events over video.

Emplifi chief executive Mark Zablan said: “Consumer demand has forced businesses to pivot online, and we have seen a significant uptick in the number of B2C businesses embracing social commerce.

“We believe the study confirms much of our internal findings: B2C brands are racing to embrace social media as the means to conduct business from discovery to engagement, and now to shopping, service, and customer care. Social commerce is the new conduit to great CX.

“However, most are becoming increasingly aware of the need to bridge the gap between building brand presence among a growing audience, and then converting that audience into loyal, engaged long term customers.

“The most effective, and efficient, way to do this, and accelerate social commerce efforts, is to utilise best-in-class CX tools with integrated social capabilities. By sharpening their toolset, especially when it comes to customer care and holistic social commerce reporting, brands will get the competitive edge they need in this rapidly growing market.”

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