Real-time content helps brands stay relevant to end-users, says Trell’s Bimal Kartheek
The explosive growth of social media is a reflection of its endless opportunities for business growth, sales, and building customer loyalty across multiple platforms. Around 54.58 percent of Indians had access to social media platforms in 2021, according to a Statista report. Brands have been working closely with social platforms to constantly communicate with their consumers in a bid to increase engagement and drive them towards their products.
But this trade has its tricks too, and Bimal Kartheek Rebba, CEO and Co-founder ofconducted a masterclass titled ‘Immersive, Interactive, Innovative: Taking Social Commerce to the Next Level’, where he explained how the social commerce ecosystem works, stakeholders involved in the process, and how brands can make the most of the opportunities.
Here are some highlights from the masterclass.
Trends in social commerce
While most Indians shop online today, two out of three Indians are still offline shoppers. “One of the predominant reasons that come to mind is the lack of trust when it comes to finding the right products, and also that most consumers do not understand the product description in the language it is presented to them,” said Bimal.
Another factor, he said, was the extremely low brand stickiness when it comes to purchasing products, which meant that if consumers are able to understand the value proposition of a newer brand better, they are okay with switching to that particular brand. “Therefore, it is very important to understand that it does not stop at the trust, but towards how effectively brands can communicate with end-users,” he added.
Bimal further noted that consumers tend to be price-oriented when purchasing new products online, which is another reason why there are so few online shoppers in the Indian ecosystem even though a majority of them have access to online stores.
He went on to say that there are approximately 177 million online shoppers in India today, but the country’s overall potential target audience projects 825 million internet users, 448 million social media users, 500 million video population, and 536 million regional consumers. Bimal added that social commerce has the ability to tackle common challenges like revenue stagnation, low customer retention, high acquisition and distribution costs, and lack of channel diversification.
How social commerce works
Social commerce is a three-way integration that involves three different stakeholders – brands, influencers, and individuals – coming together and exchanging information with each other. Most engagement vectors, explained Bimal, were either content-driven, experience-driven, or network-driven, which made it important for brands to have a good social presence.
Categories like personal care, beauty and wellness experienced a 95 percent growth in volume in Q4 2020 owing to the increasing adoption of social commerce in Tier-III cities and beyond. Bimal also observed that despite a slowdown of growth to 19 percent in Tier-I cities in the same quarter, e-commerce experienced a growth of 87 percent and 151 percent in Tier-II and Tier-III cities respectively.
Explaining how the usage of influencer marketing and regional languages has helped brands, Bimal said that while they are useful in spreading awareness, they also help brands in reducing marketing costs substantially, which currently use about 35 to 40 percent of their total marketing costs on social commerce.
How brands can take advantage
Talking about how brands can drive high purchase intent with social shopping and influencer-led commerce, Bimal noted that trust and credibility are key factors to drive online purchase, which is delivered by relatable Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).
Brands usually face the challenge of deciding whether they want to be an omnichannel or online-first brand while starting off. To this, Bimal added that most brands decided to make their digital presence their key strategies over the past two years to protect themselves from similar situations in the future.
He also observed that the entry barrier to start online brands is fairly low today, which has made the digital space very competitive. “You have to stay relevant to the end-user even in the case of stiff competition, and that’s where social commerce platforms like Trell work with brands closely where they give access to creators to start creating real-time content,” he said.
Influencers and content creators play a significant role in spreading such real-time content to users, and Bimal said that platforms like Trell help brands with scalable dashboards where they can quickly get access to influencer marketplace, try to select and reach out to them, create content on a real-time basis, and get the content to the end-user.
Speaking about the key trends that will shape social commerce in the future, Bimal said that levers like social shopping, live shopping, augmented reality and virtual reality, Metaverse, in-app purchases and gamification will grab headlines and help brands effectively communicate with end-users.
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