Community-Led Collaborative Commerce: What Is It and How Does It Work?
If you’ve been paying attention to the latest trends in ecommerce, you may have heard the term “community-led commerce” being tossed around. But what is community-led commerce, why is it important, and how can it benefit your business? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Community-Led Commerce?
In short, community-led commerce is a type of ecommerce that focuses on building communities and fostering relationships between businesses and their customers. Rather than relying on traditional marketing tactics to drive sales, community-led commerce businesses focus on building and nurturing a trusted community of customers who feel connected to the brand.
How Does It Work?
There are a few key ways that businesses can foster an engaging community-led commerce experience for their customers. First, they need to focus on creating quality content that will actually be helpful and valuable to their target audience. This content could take the form of blog posts, social media posts, informative videos, or even just well-written product descriptions.
In addition to creating quality content, businesses also need to make sure they’re using the right channels to reach their target audience. For example, if your target customer is a busy mom, you’re not going to reach her by advertising on TikTok. Similarly, if your target customer is a college student, he’s probably not going to be reading your company’s latest LinkedIn article. Knowing where your target customer spends time online is half the battle when it comes to community-led commerce.
“87% agree community is critical to the company’s mission and 79% believe community has had a positive impact on their organization’s objectives.”
Finally, businesses need to engage with their customer communities — not just sell to them. This means responding to their comments and questions in a timely manner, running social media giveaways and contests, and generally just making an effort to connect with customers on a personal level while meeting their needs.
The Benefits of Collaborative Commerce for Businesses and Consumers
If you’re still not convinced that collaborative, community-led commerce is worth your time and effort, consider these benefits:
1. Improved customer retention rates;
2. Higher customer lifetime values;
3. Increased brand awareness and reach;
4. More opportunities for organic word-of-mouth marketing; and
5. Improved SEO rankings, thanks to increased engagement and social signals.
Not too shabby, right? If you’re looking for a way to set your business apart from the competition, community-led commerce just might be the answer.
Why We Need to Adopt This New Way of Doing Business
Consumers love to share online and through social media: whether they are sharing their latest successes, their favorite clothes, or memories with friends and loved ones, their power lies in the ability to share instantaneously, around the world, with like-minded people. They can tell companies why they like or dislike their products, and their voices can be amplified exponentially. Engaging with these consumer communities can help companies develop better products and create more positive experiences. Community-led commerce is not just a nice-to-have in our market today: it’s simply good business.
As an ecommerce strategy, community-led commerce focuses on building relationships between businesses and their customers. By creating quality content, using the right channels, and engaging with customers regularly, businesses can enjoy improved customer retention rates, higher customer lifetime values, increased brand awareness and reach, and more opportunities for organic word-of-mouth marketing.
By investing time and resources into genuinely engaging with consumer communities, you can generate a net positive effect on both your business and those who engage with it. As they say, a rising tide lifts all ships!
If you’re looking for a way to set your business apart from the competition, community-led commerce just might be the solution you’re looking for.
How to get started with Collaborative Commerce
Community-led brand growth is becoming increasingly popular because it’s an efficient way to earn engagement and loyalty from consumers. If you want to participate in this type of growth, here are three quick ways to get your strategy off the ground:
Identify your main communication channel: It’s important to have your own community space where you can directly connect with your consumers. This will allow you to test and learn quickly and effectively, without having to go through a third-party platform that could act as a barrier between you and your community.
Produce online content on a regular basis: Community engagement is an ongoing initiative that requires a consistent output of content from your brand. Whether it is most appropriate to create blog posts, video “stories” or “reels”, or send out feedback surveys and giveaways, it is important to identify the content that resonates the most with your audience, and ensure that they are regularly engaged by that content. By providing a consistent schedule that the community can expect, you will always be giving them topics to discuss, like, and share.
Respond and engage to your community: Because collaborative commerce requires each party of the relationship to be talking with one another, it is important to listen to what your community is saying and respond in a timely and genuine manner. Consumers are taking time out of their day to engage with you–-and it is more important than ever to create a positive experience with every interaction. Even if their feedback is critical or negative, an empathetic, genuine response from your brand can turn that interaction into a positive one for the customer. Every touch point counts!
Examples of brands that successfully work with their consumer communities
Rapha — The global cycling apparel company focuses on a seamless, unparalleled customer experience as a competitive differentiator.
TBô — The world’s first Community-Led brand puts customer feedback at the core of their menswear product development and innovation.
Sephora — The French personal care and beauty brand features an online community hub of more than 5 million members.
Do you have a community for your brand? What brands do you know have strong consumer communities? We’d love to hear about them! Share your success story with us in the comments below.