Given the ever increasing focus on social media and eCommerce, more and more businesses are considering whether or not social media is an appropriate channel for their business. Whilst Facebook is well established as a social network, eCommerce in Nigeria is still at an early stage of adoption as a sales channel for businesses.
According to Gartner, global revenues associated with social media will grow by more than 43% this year to a huge $16.9 billion. What fraction of that is from Nigeria ?
Nigerian e-Commerce sites like Konga and Jumia are already setting the pace of using Facebook as a platform for facilitating and executing sales. But while some companies are investing resource and money trying to acquire new customers through social media, many are missing the opportunity to use that information to retain existing, loyal customers and give them a good experience via social media that they will recommend to their friends.
From my perspective, there are some barriers to translating social media interaction into sales.
1. Mobile Optimised Site. Having a mobile website is no longer optional but a requirement considering the mobile penetration in the country which raises another question of whether an average Nigerian would make purchase via their mobile phone. Thats a research question for me to answer in another post.
2. Creative Marketing. In the fast emerging world of digital,mobile and social media marketing, experimentation is always an ongoing task in order to optimize results. When a business uses its Facebook page to advertise a new product or service, it should not only look to build sales transactions, but should look at consumer reaction through comments posted on its wall in response to its advertising campaign and make appropriate responses to those comments, whether positive or negative. A loyal supporter is not necessarily a profitable customer. #twitterfollowers or facebookfans
The key here is relevance. As well as ease of use and accessibility, the power of social media and eCommerce commerce lies in the ability to drive targeted deals and promotions to consumers who are most likely to purchase. Customer service agents can know straight away whether a product is relevant to a customer based on their previous interaction and purchase history.
However, for many companies, social media efforts are still evolving, and processes are often fragmented. The result is that, instead of optimising communication with customers via social media, companies are missing valuable opportunities to target the right consumer at the right time, with an offer which is particularly relevant to them.
e-Commerce has the potential to grow massively in the country. If e-commerce is to have any chance of succeeding, businesses need to adopt a new strategy: one that integrates social media operations with customer service.