Marketing Automation Buyer's Guide

Three Steps to Maximize Social Sales for the Holidays

Three Steps to Maximize Social Sales for the Holidays

Three Steps to Maximize Social Sales for the Holidays

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Seriesa collection of contributed articles written by our enterprise tech thought leader community—Nicola Kinsella, the SVP of global marketing at Fluent Commerce, outlines three steps retailers can use to maximize their social sales during the holiday season.

Against a rather gloomy economic backdrop, retailers hope that holiday cheer will inspire consumers to open their pocketbooks this year and fill their physical and virtual carts with a record number of presents. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. holiday spending could reach record levels during November and December and grow between 3 percent and 4 percent, potentially topping $966.6 billion.

Deloitte expects e-commerce to play a significant role in boosting online sales by up to nearly 13 percent. When polled by the marketing research firm Statista, more than 58 percent of shoppers said TikTok inspires their shopping, and more than 70 percent will click the “buy” button if they stumble across the right product in their feeds or stories.

Social selling can only reach its full potential when integrated into an overall retail strategy. As with any retail sales channel, it demands careful planning and consideration to ensure any advertising spend yields fruit. Here are three tips to help retailers make the most out of their social selling strategy.

Ensure Cohesive Inventory Management

Social selling is the latest sales channel to join a retail portfolio of marketplaces, websites, apps, and physical stores. As with any new channel, social selling can also open the door to greater complexity, especially regarding inventory availability and order fulfillment. During the holidays, hurried and stressed-out consumers won’t waste time on products that aren’t available. And there’s little or no patience for retailers who don’t have products in stock to fulfill orders in a timely fashion.

Overselling and canceled orders can frustrate customers who will go elsewhere for their products. There’s also the logistical headache of providing refunds and then returning the stock. In this peak holiday shopping period, retailers must keep track of inventory across all sales channels, including social media, to mitigate order cancellation rates and avoid overselling high-demand products.

Real-time inventory can help retailers track all their stock across all their locations, providing an accurate and reliable view of what’s in stock, what’s being processed, or what’s ready for pickup or shipment. Additionally, distributed order management platforms can help retailers react quickly to real-time stock demands and tune safety stock levels to avoid overselling and underselling. They also allow a delivery date to be provided as early and accurately as possible in the customer buying cycle to prevent them from being surprised about late deliveries.

Back-Up Social Ads with Available Stock

It’s easy to understand why some retail brands boost their social advertising during the holidays. But marketing dollars can be quickly wasted when advertising unavailable products or using the wrong location in the advertising. Customers become frustrated when they click on social ads that lead to an ‘out of stock’ message. This nasty scenario can damage a retailer’s Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).

For social ad campaigns to be successful, retailers need inventory-aware advertising that provides near real-time data to reduce wasted ad spend and increase conversions. A real-time view of inventory across all channels makes it easier to set alerts to close an online ad if a company runs out of stock. It can also keep inventory data in sync across all warehouses, stores, and systems. Modern Inventory data processing and distributed order management systems enable retailers to show customers what’s really ‘in stock’ across all digital channels, keeping shoppers happy and optimizing social ad campaigns.

Align and Scale All Customer Service Channels

Every brand advertising or social media campaign should drive greater awareness and interest in a brand or product. The more comfortable customers become with a specific brand, the more likely they are to seek additional information before purchasing. Their positive experiences can drive additional referral traffic to other customer-facing channels, such as online chatbots or call centers. That means customer service channels must be prepared to handle more queries to prevent leaving consumers waiting on any channel.

By not over- or under-stocking, retailers can maximize their social spending, improve conversions, and delight customers with a positive brand experience, which keeps them returning for more all year long.

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