Social commerce pushes consultants to meet consumers wherever they are online
Health and beauty products company Arbonne International LLC’s head of digital has his hands full this year.
Samir Khandhar’s chief digital experience officer title at the Irvine company doesn’t just mean plugging away at web design and coding.
“Really, what that means is that I lead design, facilitate, manage and enhance our connected experience ecosystem,” he explained. “So, across all of our touchpoints with our consultants and our customers, how do we extend and deepen the relationship with our customers while also making our consultants more successful in their goals?”
That means working on e-commerce, mobile tools, Arbonne’s loyalty program, personalization and also gleaning data for consumer insights, amid a multiyear digital transformation that began this year under newly appointed CEO Tyler Whitehead.
“Digital, not just for Arbonne, but really across industry with all brands, presents the biggest economic, behavioral and technical shift in our lifetime. And, social commerce is really where we want to double down. It’s the evolution of e-commerce,” said Khandhar, whose company was profiled in the Aug. 16 print edition of the Business Journal.
Arbonne’s new app on iOS and Android, dubbed ContentKit, paired with the company’s revamped website, is an aim to help the company’s roster of 500,000 independent consultants selling its products tell “authentic stories,” as Khandhar described it. The goal is “to reach deeper into their networks on social and digital platforms.”
New tools, such as the Recommended Cart and Personal Shopper, allow for a consultant to curate products specific to a consumer or shop for their customer.
“We’re really able to elevate the consultant and empower them to be that one-stop shop,” Khandhar said of the new technology.
Social commerce also means working within the social media ecosystem, requiring consultants to know where their customers are getting inspiration to spend.
“Our success is going to be based on our ability to meet the customer where they are versus force them into our [commerce] ecosystem,” Khandhar said.
It’ll mean getting creative and perhaps starting on Instagram, for example, and then behind the scenes have a swipe-up functionality that would redirect to a Recommended Cart on the Arbonne site.
While the company has a livestream tool, consultants also heavily use Facebook Live and Instagram Live in the U.S. and that continues to increase.
“[Consultants] are using it. I think COVID isn’t the reason for it, but it is a catalyst to make it accelerate and the human connection hasn’t changed,” he said.
Digital to IRL
As Arbonne’s digital chief, Khandhar isn’t just thinking about the online world, particularly for a business that was built on in real life human connections.
Virtual events, not just because of COVID, are increasingly popular.
“We’ve been able to successfully transition our global and regional events from an in-person experience to a virtual platform and with events that we host, we just get better and better, and we use those learnings to inform the next one,” Khandhar said.
What is being noted on the digital events front is the dynamic is changing, not just for Arbonne but those who seek to remain competitive in the space. In other words, virtual events are not just an opportunity for the host to speak at the viewership. Rather, they require engagement and participation from both parties.
“We go from facilitating an event on virtual to now enhancing it, making it more personal and dynamic and move from one to many, which is the host-to-audience relationship, to a dynamic community with multi-way engagement where we can bring the audience into the event. That’s what we’re more focused on,” Khandhar said of the evolution.