Social media is booming in Southeast Asia, resulting in an influx of social commerce businesses looking to expand and support their users. Read more to find why and how!
Social media is arguably one of the most important milestones since the advent of the Internet.
It has changed the way we interact with people and brands, allowing instant communication from anywhere in the world. And Southeast Asia is no stranger to social media though. It ranks second in terms of active social media users by region with a staggering user base of over 480 million
Southeast Asia is a large emerging market for social commerce brands with a population of over 620 million people. With only 150 million digital consumers, the relatively untapped geography is brimming with potential for e-commerce. Two-thirds of the digital-friendly cohort already make purchases online.
Businesses looking to capture the e-commerce market share in SEA should harness social media to their advantage. From seeking answers to giving feedback, social media is now becoming the top way for users to interact with brands they consume.
Let’s dive into it and know more.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is an e-commerce method with which businesses can sell their products and services to their consumers directly through social media platforms. Many online e-commerce stores also offer social commerce as a way for users to buy through the store’s social media handles.
In Southeast Asia, social commerce boomed during the pandemic as most offline and online stores set up their business profiles on social media.
Fun fact: Social commerce made up about 44% of the Southeast Asia e-commerce market in 2020.
So why is it important?
Social commerce is important for e-commerce businesses because it allows users to easily access, browse, buy, and pay, all from one place – the social network. Customers don’t need to necessarily download the store’s app or visit their website to buy anything. Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram quicken the buyer journey and help you convert more customers.
Why social commerce and customer support is crucial for your business in Southeast Asia
The unparalleled convenience of quick communication through social media has fuelled the social boom in Southeast Asia. It also caters to the instant gratification that people crave through the never-ending feed of content they can consume.
This is the value proposition offered by social media that keeps people hooked on it for hours on end. According to a report, over 62% of the Southeast Asian population is active on social media.
With their extensive reach and penetration in Asia, social media is an ideal channel for effective social commerce and customer support. A report by Econsultancy found that consumers find customer support to be one of the most helpful social media features.
The value lies in connecting with brands instantly and getting speedy resolutions to any issues they might run into.
Social media customer care addresses the need to receive customers’ feedback, answering questions, providing walkthroughs, and facilitating refunds instantly.
Your social media handles are perfect to showcase products and services. It is natural for people to comment and react to such content and expect relevant responses from the brands.
This is where the instant messaging feature works wonders for customer support. In fact, 80% of millennials like to utilise social media for online client care instead of needing to call the support team. You can establish a private, one-to-one personalised communication channel with customers and answer their questions organically.
Suggested Reading: The Rise of Conversational Commerce
Top social media platforms in Southeast Asia for social commerce and support
Identifying the most popular social media platforms in the region can help you tailor your social media customer care efforts more effectively.
Below are the top social platforms used in Asia that are excellent channels for online selling and customer service.
Instagram’s user count has grown to over 1 billion and still counting, making it one of the best social media channels for e-commerce business.
This is because it offers various features like images, videos, stories, IG lives, sponsored ads, etc., making it a terrific means for brands to showcase their products, services, values, and brand voice.
It is paving the way as one of the most used social media platforms in the region, especially in Malaysia. The media-sharing based platform enjoys a high rate of penetration in the region. This along with its Instagram Messaging API makes it ideal for social commerce and to offer customer support.
Suggested reading: Instagram API: The Ultimate Guide
Facebook is the most popular social media site globally, hosting the largest number of active users.
It supports a variety of different media formats such as short and medium-length videos, which are integral to digital consumption in Southeast Asia.
62% of Southeast Asian respondents find social media, short videos, and messaging are their top online channels for discovery. This makes it the ideal platform for brands looking to build a presence on social media. Moreover, Facebook and Instagram seamlessly integrate together to offer you a larger combined reach.
For example, you can integrate both these top channels with conversational AI to not only sell your products and services but also to offer quick and real-time customer support with an Instagram or/and Facebook chatbot.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world and ranks third among the most prefered communication channel among Southeast Asian youth. Though not a social media platform like Instagram and Facebook, businesses of any size use WhatsApp to expand their reach and offer social commerce.
With a user-friendly interface and messaging feature, WhatsApp is one of the best platforms for your social commerce business in Southeast Asia to sell and render support under one roof.
You can instantly share text messages, photos, videos, voice notes and even payments in certain markets. The app allows brands to set up a dedicated verified WhatsApp business account that is particularly designed for customer care.
Larger businesses need to opt for a WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp Business also supports catalogues and product showcases to enhance your customer’s shopping experience.
An AI-powered WhatsApp chatbot can instantly answer any queries your customers may have while browsing your product catalogue on the chat app.
Suggested Reading: WhatsApp Chatbot for eCommerce with 11 Use-Cases
How does social media boost social commerce and support?
Consumers in Southeast Asia are very invested in social media, consistently ranking among the top active users across platforms. Implementing customer service solutions such as AI-powered live chat to your social media handle has many benefits.
AI chatbots are different from keyword bots. How? Well, for one:
- They understand the context and the intent. AI-enabled chatbots know what the user means even when they don’t necessarily reply with specific keywords that determine the bot’s response. With advanced NLP algorithms, an AI chatbot can decode natural conversational language and respond to queries accordingly.
- They know when human intervention is needed. AI chatbots can gauge support queries to know when to transfer a ticket to a live human agent to ensure queries are quickly resolved.
Now, let’s take a look at why social media should be your top channel to offer customer service
Social media allows brands to interact with their customers directly through instant messaging. This unhindered, instant connection between you and the user helps you understand your users better while also providing a more personalised customer support experience.
For example, an AI chatbot can safely collect and store customer information in a secured database. Now, whenever a customer starts a new conversation or continues the previous one, the chatbot can pull customer history (like purchase history, previous conversations, etc.) to come up with personalised and directed responses.
Your social commerce store can be a great way to understand your ideal personas in Southeast Asia. Customer support on social media can help you identify bottlenecks in their workflows that customers commonly run into issues with. You can leverage insights from these to improve working efficiency which will result in fewer customer support tickets over time.
For instance, an AI customer support chatbot can provide you insights on commonly asked questions, the peak time for query inflow, issues that take more bandwidth and handling time, etc.
Quick resolution of tickets
Customers love when they can engage with their favourite brands in real-time and get quick resolution of issues.
AI-powered live chat tools on social media platforms can help you provide dedicated, personalised support to their issues. This relieves your support team of any unnecessary load.
Social commerce in Asia and customer support can be integrated seamlessly with a chatbot. Now, when your customers shop through your social page and want to raise a complaint, they don’t need to switch to another platform!
Your AI chatbot can be your 24×7 available customer support representative that can resolve most of their queries effortlessly! Expectedly, this results in happier customers and looks great on your CSAT sheet. This can happen when your users can just receive customer support on the same social commerce platform!
Fun fact: Kanmo Group, a retail company in Indonesia, deployed an AI chatbot across many of its brands and was able to resolve tickets simultaneously. With a unified console to monitor every activity, Kanmo Group saw a 42% jump in agent productivity and a 40% increase in first response times!
Trust and loyalty
Consumers identify with your business more when they are able to connect and seek support right when they need it. This builds a culture of trust and promotes loyalty to your brand.
You can even apply to get your business profile verified on your social handles. With a new shining badge, your customers would trust you more and wouldn’t hesitate to contact you.
Higher conversion rates
When a customer buys from you, they are also paying for the support that they might need before the purchase.
For instance, a conversational AI chatbot can quickly fix any roadblocks stopping your customers from converting. This results in higher conversion rates, fewer abandoned carts and more returning loyal customers.
Good to note: Social media runs on proactivity – from its users or/and businesses. Messages on social media have higher open and response rates. You can leverage this to re-engage with your customers with proactive messaging. Naturally, you will be able to convert more users with higher re-engagement.
Suggested Reading: E-commerce Gains From Customer Support Automation
Social media is one of the most powerful platforms for customer support today. It allows brands to engage with their customers instantly while keeping the spotlight on them and helping them feel valued.
Businesses can use social media to personally connect with their users to build trust and brand loyalty.
Rising social commerce in Southeast Asia has emphasised the need to leverage these social media platforms as customer support channels.
There’s no debate about the fact that social media is here to stay. Brands can make the most of these platforms by connecting with their customers using AI-powered support chatbots.
Social media has ushered in the next-gen customer support with minimal wait times, higher satisfaction rates and better insights for quality assessment and training.
With Verloop.io conversational AI, you can deploy a smart NLP-enabled chatbot across all your social platforms and manage support tickets from one unified console.