You scroll through Instagram looking for updates on your friends and what’s happening in the world. You come across an advertisement by an apparel company, showing a model in a sweater you think would make a great fall staple.
The image has a “View Products” button that takes you to a page with details and pricing. Select your size and tap “Buy Now”. The app will complete your order in just a few seconds. You can then go back to scrolling through the rest of your feed without missing a beat.
Social commerce is something you may not have realized, but it was just what you were experiencing.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is an area of ecommerce that allows merchants to sell products directly via social media platforms. Potential customers can interact with brands, browse products, and make purchases.
Social commerce allows customers to shop directly on social media platforms, which is not the case with social media marketing. In some cases, links on social platforms may lead to retailer product pages where customers can complete their purchase.
The social commerce market has seen tremendous growth, despite a steady increase in ecommerce sales from 2003 to 2020, and a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to eMarketer the US social ecommerce market grew by nearly 38% to $26.77 Billion in 2020. It is projected to reach $50 Billion annually by 2023.
Social Commerce vs. Ecommerce
Although they might be considered the same thing, social commerce is not the same as ecommerce.
Ecommerce is simply an online shopping experience that uses a website or branded application. It often relies on an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce, Shopify, Amazon, or Shopify. These websites can be accessed via mobile or desktop devices or you can just make a website with the help of web development services. However, the ecommerce sales funnel in most cases looks the same.
Social media content, digital ads and other marketing strategies can all be used to attract customers to an online store. After they reach the online store, customers must navigate through more steps to complete the purchase process. Each step can lead to potential loss of interest and sales.
92% of active internet users access the internet via mobile devices. Mobile users also have an abandonment rate of almost 86%. Unfortunately, not all ecommerce websites are mobile-friendly.
This is where social commerce comes in.
Social commerce is not about redirecting customers to online stores. Instead, it brings the store to the customer and meets them wherever they may be. Social commerce streamlines the purchasing process by removing unnecessary steps. This allows customers to have a more seamless shopping experience and retailers can make more sales.
Social media platforms have been designed to be mobile-friendly so social commerce can be used to reach many people.
Top Social Commerce Platforms
Instagram and Facebook are the leaders in social commerce functionality, but other social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest are expanding their offerings. Each platform has its own purpose and appeals to a specific audience. This gives each platform a set of strengths that can be used to influence social commerce.
We’ll be taking a look at some of the most popular social commerce platforms, so that you can choose the right one for your company.
Facebook had almost 3.45 billion active users in 2021 — it’s obvious that the 17-year old platform has huge potential to scale globally and reach new audiences.
Facebook shops were launched in 2020 during the pandemic. Facebook Shops are mobile-friendly, free and customizable. You can import a product catalog, or create one.
Facebook features products based on customers’ search history and preferences. This gives them a customized customer experience.
Customers can make purchases on Facebook or link back to your website. You can also communicate with your customer via Facebook Messenger if necessary to answer any questions or offer support.
You can also use your Facebook page for company news, engagement with customers, and the introduction of new products.
It’s clear that Instagram is one of the most promising social-commerce platforms. With 70% of shoppers using it for product discovery, and 1,000,000 active users, it’s obvious that this platform is a great choice.
Instagram is a popular platform for high-gloss brand imagery. It’s known for its captivating photos, stories, and videos. If your customers already engage with your content, why don’t you place your product front and center to convert that engagement into sales?
To set up Instagram shopping, all you need is a Facebook profile that links your Facebook Shop with Instagram. You can then upload a product catalog and start creating product tags for each product. You can then create shoppable posts, and automate purchases from the platform.
Instagram users can also purchase product stickers embedded into their stories. Instead of uploading a shoppable image to your timeline, choose an image and click the sticker icon at the top right corner. Then select the product link you wish to link. Move the sticker to the desired place, adjust its size and color, and then share it to your story. In order to increase your story’s engagement, you can also experiment with other formats such as videos or ecommerce animations and then place your product stickers on top of it.
Fashion brands like Simar Glossy are using influencers marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and sales along with social commerce strategy
TikTok, a newer social commerce platform, is more than just a video-sharing app. TikTok has a lot to offer in the way of social commerce platforms, including shoppable posts and livestream shopping.
Before the launch of TikTok for Business in 2020, the phrase “TikTok convinced me to buy it” was all too familiar. TikTok is a unique tool that can make less-known users and brands start and analyse TikTok challenges, and go viral overnight. It has the potential to bring your business in front of millions of new customers.
According to eMarketer, TikTok has focused a lot of its social commerce capabilities so far on product ads that appear as native videos in users’ For You feeds. To complete their purchase, users can click the “Shop Now” button below each advertisement.
However, brand owners now have the ability to create a shoppable storefront on TikTok via the Shopping tab. TikTok users now have the ability to add the Shopping tab in their business profiles. This allows them to sync their static product catalog and allows customers to purchase directly from the app.
BigCommerce has partnered with TikTok to allow merchants to link their online store to their TikTok profile. This allows you to interact with shoppers and share your products to more people.
Pinterest’s greatest asset is its focus on the content and less on the creator. Pinterest is a better platform than Facebook and Instagram, which place more importance on the influence of users or brands. Instead, merchants can focus on creating great products and less on their personal brand. 77% of weekly Pinners discovered a new brand or product on Pinterest.
In 2010, Pinterest was launched as a way to inspire people in all areas of life. In 2015, Pinterest started offering shoppable pins only to a select few brands. They could add a “Buy” button to their pins. However, this feature was soon made more accessible to all brands.
Merchants can use Pinterest to Business to create Product Pins. These pins display the latest pricing and stock information. It also allows customers to save products to their boards. If the shopper is ready to buy, they can tap on the Product Pin, which will redirect them to the brand’s product page.
It also provides insights and optimization features, including an Ads Manager that assists merchants in creating and measuring successful campaigns. The Ads Manager provides advice on how to find new audiences and retarget existing customers. It also allows merchants to track their results and grow their reach over time.
Benefits of Social Commerce
Here are some key benefits of social commerce that may convince you that it is essential for your business.
1. Social media has a huge number of potential customers.
Statista estimates that there were more than 3.6 billion users of social media worldwide in 2020. This number will rise to 4.4 billion by 2025, according to the company. This is an enormous opportunity to market your products to new people and increase your reach exponentially.
Social shopping has huge potential to attract customers and increase sales, especially considering the high rate of impulse buying among millennials, gen Xers and others. It is important to capitalize on this buying behavior by making it easy for customers to shop directly via their social media platforms.
2. Increased brand awareness and social media presence
Social commerce allows merchants to combine their ecommerce and social media sites. This is a great branding opportunity that allows you to build brand awareness and keep your customers in mind with daily content.
Influencer marketing is a key method to increase brand awareness.
It’s an ecommerce company’s dream to have a celebrity, professional athlete or actress endorse their products. This is not an option for smaller brands with limited budgets.
Influencer marketing has seen a shift in meaning over the years. Customers aren’t looking for big-name celebrities to give advice. Instead, they are seeking authenticity from micro-influencers with similar lifestyles to theirs.
A survey of US social media users in 2021 found that 53% of respondents said posts from influencers were the most influential factor in their buying decisions. Influencer marketing is a great way to build brand awareness.
3. Reach your target audience.
Social commerce is about connecting with your customers wherever they are. Most likely, your customers are already using social media. This is a great opportunity to connect with customers and share your brand voice through creative content.
Many social media platforms have analytics capabilities that enable you to track your users’ buying and social behavior over time. This information allows you to tailor your content and products to your audience.
To reach your target audience you must understand your target audience. TikTok may not be the best choice for your business if your customers are over 30.
Take the time to collect demographic data about your customers. Find out what they like and dislike. You might even be able to talk to them directly to learn more about how you can serve them best. Next, target your audience with the products and messaging that most closely matches their needs.
4. It’s easy and frictionless to buy.
Social commerce makes it easy to eliminate unnecessary steps from the buying process by allowing you to use features such as the buy button or in-app checkout on many platforms. Each additional step in your sales funnel increases the risk of losing interest and causing customers to leave your site.
You can reduce this risk and increase sales by making the buying process seamless.
Instead of redirecting Instagram users from the app and moving them to your website, you can now check out on Instagram. Instead of interrupting your customers’ scrolling, you can make it simple for them to discover your brand while they still enjoy their time on social networks.
5. You can generate social proof.
Ecommerce can be confusing because many customers may not immediately trust your brand. Many shoppers may not be convinced until they read customer reviews and compare products, or speak with other customers who have used your product or service.
Social commerce has built-in social proof. Brands can build a positive feedback loop by encouraging customers to share, like, follow, and comment on user-generated content. Your brand will be more trusted if more customers interact with your products and share your content.
Customers can be rewarded with coupons, discounts, or giveaways to encourage them to share your content. This is a tangible way to create social proof. You can also create a hashtag for customers to use to share photos and videos of your products and interact with your brand’s audience.
These things are now commonplace thanks to social media, but they were not possible a few decades ago.
Social media is a great place to market and sell product service even if you can effectively use social media to sell your online courses.
Social commerce is now the new frontier, but it will be mainstream soon. Although expensive campaigns were once reserved for large, multinational brands, they are now much more accessible to small and medium-sized brands to try social commerce and use it to grow their business.
You should also consider QR codes, as they are popular in mobile marketing and may be a useful addition to online and offline marketing strategies. You generate QR codes by choosing the best dynamic QR code generator available in the market.
The most successful businesses have a strong Omnichannel marketing strategy. This strategy combines all channels to provide a consistent and engaging customer experience. Social commerce is an important way to do this.
These tangible examples will help you get started on implementing a social commerce strategy that meets your audience at their level and delivers an unforgettable customer experience.