How to Leverage Social Commerce as a Sustainable Ecommerce Brand

By Guest: Gorgias • 20 September 2021

Good Things Happen When Two of the Hottest Consumers Converge

Over the past decade, consumers have become more keenly aware of the impact their buying choices have on the environment. For many, it’s a key criteria when making purchasing decisions.

“A good product is no longer enough to win a consumer's favor... Shoppers want more than just quality, often looking for products and brands that align with their personal values.” (Business Insider).

It’s an observation backed up by data. According to Nielsen, more than 80% of consumers, spanning most nationalities, ages, and genders say it is “extremely” or “very” important for companies to implement programs that improve the environment.

Meanwhile, social media is quickly becoming consumers' preferred shopping channel. Like a lot of trends, the pandemic accelerated social commerce (last year, stuck-at-home consumers worldwide placed $474.7 billion worth of sales through social media posts). It’s a trend that’s here to stay, even though many consumers can now choose to shop in real life if they want. Experts predict that social commerce sales will top $90 million in 2021 in the U.S. alone.

For ecommerce brands that care about the environment, social media is the perfect place to demonstrate your sustainability creds and generate sales. But remember, it’s not just about environmental awareness; you need to prove you also care about the shopper by providing top-notch customer care in every purchasing channel, social media included.

Tap into the Sustainability-Minded Community

As a sustainable ecommerce brand, you’ve likely seen how enthusiastically shoppers respond to posts about your eco-friendly manufacturing and packaging. The likes and shares your posts receive are more than endorsements, they’re the key to attracting a community of shoppers who share your values. You can build your brand by harnessing that enthusiasm, and use it to find new customers.

This is a strategy Tentree, an apparel company that has committed to planting 10 trees for every purchase it receives, deploys regularly. For instance, a recent Instagram post asked the brand's 17K+ followers to tag friends and family members who might enjoy the concept of a local plant library. Plenty responded, extending their community and growing the number of people who are exposed to the brand.

Tentree Instagram post "Leaf a Plant, Take a Plant"

Not Just Promos

While Instagram is an important promotional tool for Tentree, for consumers, it represents a vital customer service channel. For instance, one customer responded to a post about a new sweater: “please restock your original bucket hat :( i lost my favourite tentree olive green bucket hat the other day and was so upset to find out it's out of stock on the website. it was soooo hard to find such a nice hat and fit me perfectly!?

Another responded to a post introducing the TreeFleece Golden Spruce Crew, “Weird but every time I click the link from your emails I just get directed to blank pages. The tentree header is there and I can choose a category to check out but nothing ever shows on the pages (on my PC). This has been the case for months.”

For many brands, customer-care inquiries from new product posts are inevitable. Obviously, these questions need addressing ASAP, but sometimes the right answer can come faster from someone other than a customer care rep. A smart helpdesk platform will allow you to route posts based on comment to the right person in the company to respond, or even automatically reply with the right information pulled from your ecommerce platform, ensuring that every post or comment receives a relevant answer.

Centralize Customer Inquiries for Fast Responses

Success in social commerce requires you to respond to posts and comments quickly. A helpdesk platform that centralizes all customer inquiries, regardless of the customer engagement point, will help you cement your community of brand-fans by ensuring you reply quickly and personally to all questions.

Macros, or pre-written messages, can make quick work of responding to questions you get asked frequently, such as, “what’s your carbon footprint” or “can I recycle all of your packaging?” Hundreds, if not thousands, of other eco-conscious users will see your response, amplifying your sustainable message and building brand awareness.

Speaking of packaging, some brands, like noissue and Plaine Products, have made the reusable boxes and containers their packages come in a central pillar of their brand identity. At times, their customers are so delighted with their efforts that they share their unboxing experience on Instagram, as a noissue customer and Instagram user @charmeandcozy did. noissue seized on the opportunity, and asked its 404k followers to raise their hand if they’ve ever up-cycled noissue packaging. 

It can be a challenge to find these endorsements, but a helpdesk platform like Gorgias can help you see when your brand is mentioned so you can respond ASAP or even repost on your own page.


Intent Matters

Some helpdesk platforms offer features that are particularly suited to social commerce shoppers. Gorgias uses intent detection features through machine learning to recognize the intents behind customer messages, and can auto-tag, close or reply to their tickets. It also provides a dashboard, so that you can easily spot trends you can use to inform your social media marketing campaigns.

Types of customer intents include:

  • Product questions (e.g. requests help choosing a product or finding a replacement budget hat)

  • Feedback

  • Shipping/status

  • Refund/request

  • Exchange/request

  • Order/damaged

  • Order/cancel

When combined with macros, your team can respond to any social media post or comment immediately, and in your brand’s voice. What’s more, with Gorgias the customer care rep who responds to the post can follow through with a promise made (e.g. issue a promised refund) without ever leaving the platform, making it easy to surprise and delight customers in just a few clicks.

Your brand can also track intent for the express purpose of creating personalized experiences. Let’s say customer comments that he loves your new upcycled hoodie, you can auto filter that comment into social leads, and have your customer team reply with a code “just for you.”

Sustainability & Customer Care: The Future of All Beloved Brands

Sustainability is an admirable goal for any ecommerce brand, but sustainable loyalty demands responsive customer care. By answering questions, resolving issues and thanking customers with “just for you coupons” on social media, you’ll do a world of good for your customers.

As demand for ethical, sustainable ecommerce grows, the brands who are perfecting the winning combination of an eco-friendly offering paired with top-notch customer support are set for long term success benefitting profit, people and planet.