Table of Contents
With social commerce having an intake in the 10s of billions, it is currently one of the leading commercial revenue streams in the market.
In this blog post we will discuss why social commerce is important, what social commerce is, highlight some of its benefits and provide tips for companies to better execute this practice.
The usage and appeal of social media platforms is ever-growing. Now more than ever, these platforms not only update people on current affairs and allow them to connect with family and friends, but also offer avenues for shopping.
Many companies have caught onto the shifts in consumer behaviour and have been launching their own social media accounts.
In light of the recent events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in online social interaction instead of traditional face-to-face communication. Restrictions and lack of access to in-store retailers have created incentive to pursue online commerce. Because of this, more companies see social media as a great priority for marketing.
Social media is a platform that is constantly adapting and innovating itself. As such, companies must be able to seize opportunities for brand growth in the market if they hope to stay ahead of the competition. And it is already happening - companies spend time diligently researching consumer behaviour in their marketing of products to prospective buyers on social media.
The ever-growing popularity of social media suggests that many users would find great convenience in seeing their favourite brands advertise on there. Social media vastly increases shopping opportunities for consumers due its frequent usage. Companies that are able to effectively market on these platforms can boost their revenue streams by creating more avenues for consumer purchases.
Social commerce involves specifically using social media platforms to buy and sell products.
A key distinction must be understood when discussing social commerce. This is concerning the misconception of eCommerce and social commerce being interchangeable.
eCommerce is simply the process of buying and selling using the internet in general. This involves any online platform used for this purpose, for example, Amazon, eBay or your own eCommerce website.
On the other hand, social commerce is eCommerce exclusively conducted on social media platforms. The distinction between the two is important. For brands wishing to heighten their online sales, both should be considered. For some it will be the traditional eCommerce that will win, for others - social commerce, but most frequently – a mix of both.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have proven to be very successful for online shops.
Instagram provides users with a limitless archive of photos from various accounts to sift through. This makes it an ideal platform for consumers to discover many different products. For example, with Instagram Shopping businesses can tag their products in posts (photos and videos) and consequentially users can see the price and other details about the product without leaving the app. They can then purchase the products directly from the app or from your linked website – depending on your settings.
Facebook also has similar functionalities but offers 2 major eCommerce features – Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Page Shop. Facebook Marketplace is a platform where many sellers are listing their items and consumers visit Facebook Marketplace similarly as they would visit Amazon or eBay to find a product. Facebook Shop is a shop of an individual company on their Facebook Page. They can list product there as well as post about the products in their page. Consumers can visit their Facebook page to buy products, or they can discover products in their feed if they are following this particular brand or if they stumble upon it otherwise. Both features offer direct checkout on the app (limited access by country and company ) or linking to your eCommerce website.
If you are contemplating starting your own UK based eCommerce business be sure to take a look at Getshop Today - Facebook and Instagram marketplaces are well integrated into this platform, making it easy to publish your products from your eCommerce website into your social media marketplaces.
There are other social media platforms that can be experimented with. Younger generations can currently be found on TikTok. Pinterest can be great for selling aesthetically pleasing products or products for women. Businesses can also benefit from shopping-focused live-streaming on Pinterest TV. Similar shoppable live-streaming features are now available on Twitter and YouTube. Snapchat has also recently introduced new social commerce features that may be interesting for brands with high engagement rates on this particular platform.
Social commerce has allowed many companies to expand and develop how they engage with consumers. Social media encourages open communication – and consumers value this highly. Companies aim to de-corporatise themselves to build brand trust, and social commerce is an effective way to do so. We will highlight some benefits that brands receive by choosing to participate in social commerce.
This practise eliminates barriers between consumers simply browsing and consumers completing purchases. With social commerce, one simply sees, clicks and buys. The journey of the consumer is shortened by using social media shops. This convenience has a strong appeal, as people are finding ways to alleviate the sometimes arduous task of online shopping. Social commerce bridges the gap seamlessly between the consumer’s product discovery phase and the purchasing process. Consumers are always bombarded with ads, therefore eliminating distractions between browsing and the checkout is highly beneficial.
Companies also gain access to an enormous revenue pool. Social media users between ages 18 – 34 are responsible for the greatest share of social media shop purchases by age group. Statista reports that just under 50% of US internet users in this range made online purchase in 2021. The number of users doing online purchases on social media is increasing every year, therefore it is evident that this trend will accelerate in the coming years too. Brands should take initiative to target these groups and to boost brand exposure and consequentially - sales. In the age of social media, it is imperative that brands adapt to the online social landscape.
Brands should prioritise products that are low-cost yet popular on the market. An effective way to encourage consumer purchases is to avoid high-costing goods. Consumers browsing on social media are doing so to catch-up with family and friends – they aren’t seeking to make expensive purchases. Hence, brands should carefully research goods that are lower than the average market price yet in good demand. Consumers are likely to buy products that fit within their budgets, especially approaching commercial holidays such as Christmas. Brands can aid in reducing the ‘friction’ in consumer shopping experiences by targeting products that fulfil these conditions.
Influencers are another avenue brands should seek to maximise their social commerce. Reach and a diverse consumer pool can be achieved by partnering with users with massive followings. This creates a deeper connection between consumers and brands as it creates a clear alignment. For instance, partnering with an influencer who supports environmental sustainability illustrates integrity for the brand. People love to see brands they support share their interests and concerns. Partnering with influencers is an effective way to maximise this image.
Social commerce is a landscape ripe with opportunities for brands to improve exposure and boost sales. A better engagement can be formed through using social media platforms to market to target audiences. Because of the exponential increase in online shopping purchases by consumers, it is imperative that brands capitalise on this. Heading into 2022 and beyond, the prospect of social commerce as the standard in industry shopping is very well becoming a reality.