Have you heard of Discovery Commerce?
If you have, then you are on the ball. If not, then simply get on it. Because in the online world, Discovery Commerce is taking clear form and coming to life in a big way.
Think of a time you visited a store that attracted you. You strolled through it, browsing shelves without any pre-designed intention to buy until a perfect product caught your eye and you bought it. You found something unexpected and wonderful that compelled you to shop. That was your ‘discovery’.
Discovery commerce is translating that same experience in the online space.
‘Search’ is not equal to ‘Shopping’
When customers ‘search’ for a specific product either on a store or on a browser, they get relevant results. They then evaluate those results based on their requirements and the reviews they read, the research they do and finally buy what fits their needs the best. This is a typical online transaction and its aim is to guide the buyer towards a product that they buy.
Online stores build strategies around product, content, images, and digital marketing to attract and charm customers into buying that product from them.
Yet, shopping is not always a straightforward utilitarian act. What if customers are just ‘window shopping’? Or browsing for retail therapy? Or any of the psychologically satisfying aspects of visiting markets or stores without a defined purpose or specific product in mind?
Physical stores have long known the importance of creating attractive environments and beautiful shop windows that entice shoppers to discover their products.
Now online stores are using various methods to hook in buyers who aren’t looking for a specific product, but are open to being pleasantly surprised. These customers are open to exploring an online catalog or receiving suggestions as they visit websites or marketplaces without a defined purpose.
Discovery can be for essential products as well as for new or non-essential products. In the case of essential products like grocery options for instance, the discovery of a product can be offered in a straightforward manner, comparing prices, performance or such factors.
The new or non-essential product discovery should have some extra impetus for buying like an irresistible bargain or an ‘ideal’ product.
It is possible for similar products to be essential or non-essential for different customers.
So how can online merchants take advantage of discovery commerce?
Make your products discoverable everywhere, especially on social channels
Social commerce is significant and is growing fast. In the last two years, social media sites have been the biggest feeders into online stores.
More internet users have watched a video made by a brand; and similarly more are likely to discover brands through social media comments or recommendations.
This is the time to take advantage of social media selling as a referral channel to feed into your own website.
Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are popular platforms for their rich visual content and the added features that help shoppers discover new products, research and purchase a wide variety of products online. This is especially true for lifestyle retail companies whether B2B or B2C; including those selling apparel, beauty, home decor, food, luxury items, and such.
Snapchat and Twitter are also used as channels for discovery by shoppers though with a different focus.
The emergence of social sharing is inspiring people to share, like and buy items that they see on the site. In addition to showcasing new products, these social channels are also interesting because they bring together people who have shared their interests and supply information about what is on-trend and what is not.
Use Facebook to drive product discovery
Of all listed, Facebook is still the social channel that drives the maximum referral to online stores. Shopmatic offers a simple link to enable Facebook Business Extension and start selling your website products directly on Facebook through their platform. This direct checkout and engagement on your Facebook page is also a good way to measure how successful your strategy for product discovery has been.
Facebook also has a News Feed ad format called Collection, that showcases a video, image or slideshow with four related images below it. When someone taps on a collection ad, it instantly expands into a full-screen canvas experience to display more relevant content. This can be used to showcase more products, catalogue or in-depth product information similar to a website or brochure.
Provide efficient follow up customer service and sales
The initial image of a ‘discovered’ product is a fantastic lead-in to generate awareness, interest and desire in your product.
To take this further down the funnel and to close the sale, you must provide quick and efficient customer service. For instance, offer shoppers the chance to buy your pre-launch, newly launched or limited edition products.
Boost your product discovery across social channels
Make it easier for users to discover your products by including more product attributes in your product description. This allows shoppers to choose the filters that they want when searching and make it easy and accurate for them to discover your product. Ensure you spell key words right and use a platform that is optimised for SEO .
Remember to stay consistent over all channels. Take advantage of Shopmatic’s integrated inventory management system that allows products to be listed across social selling channels and marketplaces in a few clicks.
Illustrate a complete look rather than individual products
Say you sell cushions. Put up images of your cushions as a part of a thematically decorated living room rather than just the cushions themselves. After all, discovery commerce is about bringing the joy of unexpected shopping to a person who is just browsing.
Include videos if you can.
There are clear advantages of discovery commerce
Your brand gets noticed
If customers are visiting marketplaces or social selling sites like Facebook, they browse using filters or categories. This is when your product shows up and gets discovered by them, bringing attention to your online store in turn. It is the most common way for smaller brands to get noticed.
Your store can reach more potential customers
When you are still building an audience for your own website, showing up on searches in social marketplaces through product discovery brings a much wider audience to your online store. This gives you a chance to offer the rest of your online catalogue and capture leads for further potential sales.
You can cross sell and analyse your products
Shoppers on social channels and other marketplaces get product recommendations through suggestions of best-sellers, trending products, related products, frequently purchased by other consumers, etc. This helps you understand which are your most popular products and will also give you the chance to cross-sell more such products that might otherwise go unnoticed.
You can encourage sharing of your product to build credibility
At the heart of social selling is sharing. Encouraging engagement through chat, share, like, or by addressing questions raised by shoppers and posting comments yourself improves your visibility and the chance to be discovered by others. Platforms like Shopmatic allow you to engage easily across platforms from your dashboard itself.
Discovery commerce is bringing spontaneity and novelty back in shopping even in the digital space.
“I love shopping. There is a little bit of magic found in buying something new. It is instant gratification, a quick fix.”
― Rebecca Bloom, Girl Anatomy: A Novel