A social media e-commerce presence is crucial to increase customer satisfaction level especially along the after sells step. Developing appropriate e-services on social media can reorient to a long term relationship with customers. The more you know the consumer needs, the better you can target your after sales strategy! There is a chance to improve a better online experience for customers!
In the new irregular market environment, customer experience considered as a source of competitive advantage.With the expansion of the internet and the increase of the e-commerce consumer consumption level, it reconsiders the problematic issues of the role of social media in after purchase cycle. Actually, there were 258.9 million digital buyers in the United States in 2018 with an ecommerce spending per customer around $1,800 according to Statista (2019). And approximately 80% of internet users expected to make at least of one purchase online in 2019. According to Nasdaq (2017), 95% of shopping will facilitated by e-commerce by the year 2040. E-commerce becomes one of the main powerful key strategic ITC competitive advantages of the American economy.
More than 21.55 percent of the World’s population buys online.And in 2021, the number is expected to rise to over 2.14 billion according to statista (2019). A lot of potential and perspectives for e-commerce companies!Doing business online and purchasing goods become common practices everywhere. The slogan of “buy anywhere, ship anywhere” is a global and unified practice that many customers and providers are adopting to facilitate exchange and create a competitive market place.But, it seems that more than eighty percent of customers according to Hubspot advanced that the stopped doing business with a company due to their poor customer experience. Changing visitors to customers seems difficult. An appropriate after-sales strategy attracts nowadays the attention of many e-commerce companies.
The problem that some of them are not well satisfied! The purchase cycle especially the after-sales services leave customers’ unsatisfied. What is still lucking! A better understanding of the customer and the e-commerce companies along the after-purchase step is important. Specifically, social media experience considered as an important factor to understand customer’s perception, expectations and satisfaction.
In general,e-commerce more associated with customer servicing. According to KPMG, thirty percent of online consumers have posted product feedback online. And thirty Percent of consumers say they prefer to buy from a website they’ve bought from previously”.it considered as a new forms of communication which increase the virtual purchasing experience.
In general, a competitive online business depends from some key elements: a user friendly website, personalization, product and brand range, clarity of product information and characteristics, prices and promotion, shipping discounts and advantages, on-time delivery and flexible delay, product meeting expectations, customer support features and customer retention that can improve the customer experience online according to Dholakia, R. R., and M. Zhao. (2010) .
In parallel, the expansion of social media also as Facebook, twitter and Instagram affected customer purchasing habits, products and services promotion and maintain its loyalty towards companies.For example, companies that use Twitter as customer service channel see a 19% increase in customer satisfaction according to WebpageFX (2018). The diversity of applications useful in internet facilitates customer-buyer communication channels, increase the exchange of idea and request responsiveness.
Social media is crucial to improve e-commerce companies’ reputation, enhance trust and increase the level of loyalty of customers. According to Hubspot eighty-one percent of consumers trust the advice of family and friends over businesses. Actually, social media channels become one of the useful ways to resolve customer problems. According to the CRM Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey (2015), 14% of respondents generate 5% of their sales through social media.
Actually, online discussions are adopted commonly by customers and engender a high level of satisfaction. It seems that 73%, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone according to E consultancy (2015). The extend of social influence channels through forums discussions, user-generated contents options, etc affects customers decision-making process. Maintaining customers and clients’ trust loyalty and reduce risks is important.
Maintaining online customer’s habits is important! Your experience can influence others purchasing decisions! Once you have a good experience with a product, you can return and also recommend it to others!
Along the purchases phases, the after–sale services considered as one of the most important which can provide customers with appropriate services. Prioritize user experience before others! If visitors have a bad experience, how you deal with that! For example,70% of complaining customers responded that they will do business with a company again if there are available solutions to resolve the complaint in their favor according to the Status Labs (2018). And over two-thirds or 72% of businesses say improving customer experience considered as a top of priority according to Forrester (2018). Thus, achieving performance is depending on an urgent update and recognition of main daily needs that customers are facing in front of e-commerce services.
The quality of services is mainly affecting clients and customer’s decision to maintain its relation with a firm. Almost 33% of Americans advancing that poor quality of services can affect their decision to switch to others companies according to the study of American Express (2017). For example, there are 89% of shoppers who claim that they have stopped buying from online stores. Because they have experienced poor customer service according to the analysis of Status Labs (2020).
Additionally, maintaining a client’s fidelity and solvability gain more attention nowadays.Many reclaim that just after one negative experience, 51% of customers will never do business with the company again according to the New Voice Media (2016). According to Temkin Group (2017) after having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would be open to recommending it to a friend.
Also,the factor of time and delay towards customer satisfaction request is an important element. More than 66% of adults consider that valuing their time is an important element that a company can do to provide them with enjoyable experience online according to Forrester (2018). And 58% of people reported shopping online because of the ability to shop 24/7 according to the Entrepreneur(2017).
The after-sale services offer more opportunities for companies to discuss with customers who need help. According to Nelsen, 49% of consumers interested to shop online if they had “a money-back guarantee for products not matching what was ordered”. Customers prefer to return the undesired item to the seller and exchange with another one without paying any additional costs.
Moreover, the availability of social media services is also as an advantage. Almost 59% of Americans think social media customers services responses have made it easier to get their issues resolved and questions answered in Lyfe marketing (2018). A certain level of reactivity is important to produce information according to a customer’s needs with a prompt level of responses to comments. Companies can assess also main comments, reviews, recommendations and feedbacks about specific products available on e-commerce sites.
Maintaining a customer’s relationship by targeting customers through an efficient social media marketing campaign by including for example product recommendations in your campaign or you offer more flexible hours for online reply! In counterpart, negative comments and posts from clients can damage company’s notorieties. According Sleeknote, Exit-Intent Campaigns Convert Between 2-4 Percent of Abandoning Visitors.
Rikke Berg Thomson (2020) wrote:
“You should also create campaigns that target specific visitor segments that haven’t bought from you before. The more personalized your campaigns are, the more likely they’ll become a customer or at least, an email leads”.
Social media also promote brands and reduce a customer’s hesitation, frustration and reluctance towards specific products. Customers are permanently bombarded with promotional material which makes them more aware to finalize the purchase step.
- How social media affects the customer relationship still not well understood.
As well known, social produced more benefits to the consumer than to the company. The fundamental idea is to understand how social media uses benefit companies and customers relationships. Many studies, reports and survey outlined the importance of social media to gather and increase trusty relationship between companies and customers. It improves also the level of customer satisfaction in front of brand counterfeiting and abuse. And that an appropriate social media type can engender a positive purchase experience and facilitate sells.
According to the survey of Xiachao Wang and al (2011), analyzing the relationship between social media and customer relationship in the e-commerce environment and explain that it depends mainly from information strategy, feel and serve, trust and loyalty.
Additionally, the Mark Monitor Online Shopping Barometer survey (2018) explains that the main reasons that reflect the benefits of choosing to shop online are mainly: convenience (58%), ease of searching for what you need (51%), choice (47%) and finding good deals (43%). And that trust, in terms of security and confidence, shifted upwards, from 30% in 2017 to 40% in 2018. It seems that American more interested to the online market place with an average around 35% compared to the global average which is equal to 37%. But the brand website average is still low with only 17%. Many consumers advanced that the potential for brand abuse and counterfeiting increases recently due to website not user friendly, the high level of counterfeit and risks for online fraud.
Another characteristic to embrace e-commerce companies to growth is by promoting group discussion and communities exchange online. According to Xiao, Z., J. J. Wang, and Q. Liu. (2018), it advances that over 50% of responds don’t like to take part in products communities’ discussions. Only 5% of respondents likely to recommend the product service or company since they become a follower on social media and take part in product communities’ discussions.
Additionally, 43% of respondents think that the quality of the customer services will increase if a company has some social media applications and embrace it to business. Companies use a lot of forms of social media which compromise their strategy. They should select the social media types and the used form should not too much.
Many market places need to put in place an appropriate mechanism to deal with counterfeit sales, mitigate risk and work closely with brands. According to the Mark Monitor Online Shopping Barometer survey (2018), consumers seem less confident towards online marketplaces with a rating of confidence around only 33%. In controversy, they are more confident for an online marketplace with an average around 88% advancing that the marketplaces are safer.
It seems many consumers bought a fake product online and they lost money.Customers advanced that when they discovered the item in question was a fake. 32% sent the products back. And 27% warmed family and friends about the brand. 26% stopped spending on the brand. 22% have bad perception concerning the brand worsened. And 20% posted a negative review on an independent site.
Only 17% wrote a negative social media post about the brand and 16% complained to the genuine brand. Luck of confidence, trust, hesitation and negative perception are dominating consumer behavior along the after sale step. In counterpart, social relationship impacts consumer behavior. If 26% of consumer stopped spending on the brand and 32% sent the product back, it can damage the companies’ profits and perspectives.
What is wrong! Why only 17% wrote a negative social media post, what about chats online, forum discussion, after sales online services on social media, marketing promotion and discounts, facilities and advantages, technical assistances services and consumer help options! Any alternatives solutions to recover the same products with adequate characteristics! What about disillusion, how consumers can optimize their sales without idealization! And how companies can buy their brands with more honesty!
American companies need to maintain their level of trusted and confident channels for online marketplaces, the US average concerning link in social media post is equal to 42% more high than the global average equal to 38%. Mainly, the sponsored social media post is equal to 37% compared to a global average around 33%. Their ability and willingness to use it as a shopping channel is liked by friends and family, due to available marketing promotion option as the use of video to show the products, a strong use of imagery or for example the product is endorsed by a celebrity.
Otherwise, Xiachao Wang and al (2011) justified that around 20% of customers either strongly agrees that e-commerce companies well known in social media are credible. By analyzing the customer relationship, it advances that only 4% of respondents agree that they are pleased to use social media to establish a professional relationship with a company. Only 3% of respondents agree they have been persuading to buy a product. And only 17% of respondents strongly disagree that they use social media to builds interesting contacts with e-commerce companies.
Moreover, counterfeits mainly came from 11% of sponsored social media advert. And 9% only came from a link in a social post in a specific feed. And 10% from a link in a social media post in the genuine brand’s feed. Confidence towards fake goods seems not reasonable. The importance of online brand protection and the role of the brand in keeping its customers safe are crucial. According to the Mark Monitor Online Shopping Barometer(2018), 33% of American bought products by mistakes. A profit mistakes oriented strategy adopted by some companies is not well perceived by Americans. Many of them don’t like to buy a counterfeit. It seems that the main reasons for shying away of buying these counterfeit frauds are mainly the quality as having the product break and causing disappointment, or funding criminals, causing harm and causing embarrassment, etc.
Additionally, a positive online experience leads to high customer satisfaction. According to Yulia Vakulenko, Poja Shams, Daniel Hellström and Klas Hjort (2019), indicates that consumers who report a better online experiences, have a good online experience. They advanced that the operations were easy to perform. Also the returns policies were clear and felt safe during the online purchase process. They explain more in details that they provided with the necessary information and that the online experience matched their individual needs and expectations. They add that they felt comfortable and the online retailer is trustworthy and that the e-company is in control of the process.
- What next?
A well-managed customer relationship is important for e-commerce company’s strategies. E-commerce companies are not able to develop a value chain for a consumer by complementing their online sells with a social media post-sells services. According to statista (2019), 2.72 % of E-Commerce Website Visits Converted into Purchases in 2019. Most of those firms need to find their specific segments and adopt consequently a well-developed customer relationship management strategy to attract customers. According to Ma and al (2009), the customer relationship management is a crucial component of e-commerce.
According to Land and Al (2002) to enhance a customer acquisition and increase customer satisfaction, it is important to develop a customer centric business model based on an efficient customer relationship management including sales, marketing, services, etc. Resolving customer problems begins with the development of an efficient and well-managed customer relationship which solidify customer relationships of company.
Along the years, the expansion of social media sites, applications and networks changed customer’s habits and behaviors in online purchasing. In counterpart, companies also changed their strategies to promote their products. Mainly, companies need to invest more on social media to increase popularity, credibility and profits.
A trusty relationship on social media can affect a customer’s intention to buy products.Many consumers are victim to online counterfeiter’s threat. They are aware from online fraud and purchasing counterfeit goods. It seems that many are well informed on how to evaluate the legitimacy of sites and perceive it level of user friendly. The problem is their negative attitude towards social media as a trusted channel of shopping. They are not also well accepting its online social media after sales advantages which are not well managed.
Offering more online and products community’s discussion also well perceived as a step to resolve some misinformation. Increasing the number of followers and fan on social media is a step to facilitate exchange and promote sales. But, to invite them through online community discussion, forum and back-end tools as online chats, request response options,. And to provide information consistent for advertisers. You can join a loyalty club for example or share your last good experience of purchase with others!
Moreover, the rapid expansion of number of people using internet and its commercial applications are reorienting some needs as crucial to maintain firm’s client relationship. The increase of e-commerce site and the duplication of services need more recognition from digital firms. Choose the more appropriate social media tool!
Previously, Paul Chaney wrote:
“Merchants can still utilize the channel, but have to think differently about their approach. The experience needs to remain social, interactive and contextual. They should balance promotional posts with those that educate, inform and entertain, and put the needs and interests of customers above their own”.
“Start with a Strategy…. Unfortunately, strategy is often usurped by tactics; leaving such outcomes uncertain….merchants may not be aware of social media’s impact on their business”.
According to the Ovum’s the future of E-commerce: the road to 2026 Business owners ought to adjust their Ecommerce marketing strategies to this new reality.
In the context of rude competition, customer experiences are considered as a source of competitive advantage to maintain clients for a long term. Managing customer experience allows a certain level of customer services satisfaction.The decision kept by many customers whether they purchase they buy from a specific e-commerce site expressed on social influence. A better understanding of customer experience offers a new set of options on social media to satisfy their needs.
Written by Dr Jihene Malek
Jihene Malek is a doctor in Economics. She was a university assistant, trainer and previous Chief Economist. She is a digital writer.