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Knowing how to market your products in-store and on your website are two entirely different skills. Though all brands benefit from using social listening to understand consumers better, e-commerce brands have unique needs that are served particularly well.

What sets e-commerce apart?

A number of factors change the game between in-store and online purchasing. What e-commerce offers consumers is variety, and the opportunity to seek out the best deal with just a few clicks. One disadvantage is the inability to see and touch a product before purchasing. This distinction is one reason social media monitoring is so critical for e-commerce brands.

According to Mintel, 69% of consumers seek outside opinions before making a purchase (online or off), and 57% of that group look to social media for those opinions. If consumers on social are the last line of defense between consumers and your brand, don’t you want to know what they’re saying?

There are a few reasons you should:

  • Customers who’ve had a negative experience can sway consumers away from your brand, whether justified or not
  • Consumers who’ve purchased a competitor’s product and liked it could sway consumers to the product they use
  • And of course, customers who’ve had a great experience should be courted as potential brand advocates

Not to mention, those who’ve shopped your site before could have any number of insights that could help you improve the experience for other consumers – if you’re paying attention.

Social listening gives you the lay of the land

So where do you start? Forbes contributor Brent Gleeson outlines three steps for setting up an e-commerce site: consumer behavior research, product research, product ideation, and verifying the trend. Whether you’re just starting, or trying to up your e-commerce game, social listening can help you on each of these fronts – and a few more.

Social monitoring lets you uncover all that consumers are talking about on social. Run a search with your brand name in the mix, and you’ll see every conversation where your brand is mentioned, for better or worse. This is where you can find out what’s working well, and what needs fixing.

But there’s so much more you can learn. Substitute other brand names for yours to see how consumers are talking about your competitors. What insights can you take from those discussions to make your own brand better?

Now look at what else consumers who like your brand, or your competitors, are talking about. Where is the crossover? What demographic lines are being blurred? Don’t you want to reach out to the audiences you didn’t expect to find? Of course you do!

Consumer sentiment analysis helps you engage

Social monitoring gives you the feedback you need to make changes around consumer issues – everything from how easy (or not) your checkout process is, to which products consumers recommend or steer others away from.

It’s always okay to reach out directly to consumers having a problem, but to engage for the sake of raising brand awareness you need to be a little more subtle. This is where you’ll focus on what consumers in your audience are talking about overall. What are they passionate about? What other emotions are driving them to share?

When you find common interests among them you can create micro-segments to message individually about the things they care about most. This has greater impact than broad promotional messaging.

As you analyze sentiment, you want to be sure to factor in emojis. too. These tiny graphics pack an emotional wallop, and could reveal your most influential customers. When consumers reach out looking for peer opinions, they’re who you hope will answer.

E-Commerce relies on consumer feedback

Your e-commerce site will live or die based on consumer feedback, so you need to seek it out everywhere you can, and apply it.  You’ll be surprised what consumers can help you accomplish when you show them you’re listening – anything from promoting your site on your behalf, to helping you create new products.

Consumers have a lot of choices now, and they know it. Listen well, respond, and there’s a good chance they’ll always choose you.

Want to see a demo of our social listening platform in action? Let us know!

Image from Robbert Noordzij