Social commerce is the fusion of social media and e-commerce that's transforming how we discover, discuss, and buy products. Learn how to leverage this trend to get to the next-level retail game!
November 27, 2023
Social Commerce is the practice of using social media to promote and sell products or services, often enabling features like product discovery, user reviews, social sharing, and even direct purchasing within the social platform itself.
Social commerce aims to capitalize on the interactive nature of social media by engaging users and encouraging them to contribute to the shopping experience, either through recommendations, reviews, or sharing.
The concept goes beyond just advertising products on social media.
It seeks to integrate the entire shopping experience, including the initial discovery phase, social interaction, and the final transaction, into a seamless process that occurs within the social media ecosystem.
According to predictions, social commerce is projected to increase at an astonishing rate of 26% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate).
By 2025, it's expected to reach a whopping $1.2 trillion, which equates to 16.7% of the overall $7 trillion e-commerce sales (Accenture Research, Social Commerce, 2021).
4.59 billion people - that's more than half the global population - are now using social media!
Studies indicate that the average social media user spends around 15% of their day on social networks, with 10% of American grown-ups exhibiting an addiction to at least one app.
Moreover, did you know that four-fifths of shoppers look into items on Instagram and Facebook? Plus, almost half of Pinterest visitors prioritize shopping.
Social networks are becoming more and more important in our lives, and this is not going to decrease anytime soon.
Social commerce allows brands to offer a shopping experience that fully responds to these new uses.
There's so much valuable customer info to be found on social media, giving you the perfect chance to fine-tune and focus your ads.
For instance, you can show those plaid-preferring horse riders your horse-patterned bathrobes, and those cool-daddy types your baby-sized shades.
Social commerce is an awesome way to put those special, ready-to-buy items in front of the very people who love them, something that can't be done with traditional eCommerce and marketing.
Social commerce helps eliminate unnecessary steps in the purchasing process.
The more steps it takes to buy something, the more likely people are to lose interest and just give up.
Every mouse click could be a potential customer who decides to back out. When customers have to go from your ad to your website, to put the item into a shopping cart, to complete their payment info, there's plenty of chances for them to lose interest and quit.
A shortened sales funnel means a better chance of conversion!
Social Commerce makes the consumer experience smoother, eliminating any friction that could prevent them from finding what they want and buying it. It's like a smooth journey from discovery to purchase!
With features like in-app checkout, buy buttons, and instant messaging, you don't need to leave the app to purchase what you're after - it's all there ready for you.
Social media's one of the best places to get customer info.
So Social Commerce allows companies to collect valuable data about customer behavior, interests and preferences, which can be used to personalize marketing strategies and improve the customer experience.
Instagram Insights has awesome demographic info like gender, age range, and where your followers are from.
With Facebook Audience Insights, marketers can get even more information about their target audience. Demographics overview featuring age, gender, job titles, relationship statuses, and education levels are all included. Brands can also get a glimpse of what users are into - their interests, hobbies, and whatnot.
With the aid of this data, retailers can craft ad campaigns that are tailor-made for their target demographic so their wares will be seen by the precise people they want to reach.
Social commerce offers brands the opportunity to showcase their products to audiences that standard ecommerce sites just can't reach.
Social commerce capabilities provide you with a direct link to your customers' social media accounts. Smart sellers can utilize this data to compare voice of customer research to real-life examples.
Social media makes connecting with customers and getting their opinion on your business and products super easy!
People love to express their views and opinions, it makes them feel special and valued. Brands can set up polls, ask customers to share their thoughts in the comments, or chat through messenger tools.
Retailers can use this feedback and change their services to fit their customers' needs.
It's a great chance for you to build your brand when you show up regularly in your followers' updates feed. Not only will it get them more involved with your business, but it'll also let them use social media as an easy way to get in touch with you and get closer.
Word-of-mouth on social media, such as sharing and reposting, can help you to gain more followers. This can lead to a higher user base and more involvement with your brand.
The goal isn't just to sell and market your goods and services, it's also about building good relationships with people to gain their trust and loyalty.
This leads to customers who are satisfied and will likely stick with your business, buying from you again and again.
Right now, social apps with integrated social shopping features are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.
Did you know that more than seven out of ten global Facebook users make purchases through the platform (eMarketer, 2022)? That's a whopping 59.4 million people you can potentially reach just by setting up a shop on Facebook.
Author's note: Since this article was written, Meta has closed Facebook's live shopping feature in October 2022.
But if you've got a Facebook Business account, you can set up your very own Facebook shop! It's totally customizable and you can either upload your product catalog or start one from the ground up.
When people visit your brand's Facebook page, they can see all the products you offer - including sizes, colors, and specs.
Plus, they can ask you questions right through Facebook Messenger. And when they're ready to buy, they can use Facebook Checkout - no need to leave the platform.
With Shopify integration, brands don't have to worry about manually syncing their products to Facebook. This makes it easy to get the same look and feel of their Shopify store on their Facebook shop. No more importation process headaches!
It's predicted that TikTok will have 48.8 million users in the US by 2025, surpassing Instagram's 48.2 million, despite the latter having a 6-year head start.
TikTok users aren't just there for entertainment. Apparently, around 39% of users have stumbled upon products or brands they were previously unaware of on the app. Almost half of them have even gone as far as to buy something they saw there.
As shown by the increasingly popular hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.
Tiktok has deployed Tiktok Shop in the UK (2021) and the USA (November 2022).
The social network now offers brands the possibility of integrating their catalogs on the platform, while enabling purchase links to be added directly to videos and Live Shopping stream, as Instagram Shopping used to offer.
A feature soon available in the EU?
Instagram says that half of its users are on the app to explore new brands, products, and services. Not to mention, almost half of all users hop on Instagram to shop every week (Instagram, 2021).
Instagram Shops let users get their hands on products that they can see in images and videos on the app.
Just like Facebook, Business accounts can create their own virtual store where they can show off their products. Brands can make collections of products, each of which gets its own page with the details such as pricing, description and photos/videos of the item.
Author's note: Since this article was written, Meta has removed the shopping tab from Instagram in January 2023.
Pinterest is a great place to search and find images.
People use it to create mood boards, pin places to travel, and, most importantly, discover new products. It's the perfect mix of a search engine and a social media platform.
With more than 400 million people searching for ideas and products each month on Pinterest, it's a great way for merchants to reach out to new potential customers.
97% of searches are unbranded (Pinterest, 2020), so you can get in front of people who don't even know your product exists yet. Uploading product listings from your online store to Pinterest is a great way to do this.
People on social media are there to have fun - not to buy expensive stuff.
So, if you want to make the sale, go for the low-cost items. No one's gonna buy a $700 dress on a whim, especially if their first experience with your brand was through an Instagram ad.
The danger of buying something without seeing it first means people are a lot less likely to go wild and spend a lot on an item.
Social commerce can be a great way to sell a variety of items, from clothing to pet toys. However, luxury products don't tend to do as well when it comes to this type of selling model.
A quick and professional response to a customer query can be the difference between a successful sale and an abandoned shopping cart.
By using the appropriate tools, you can automate your customer service, ensuring that customers get the support they need all the time, even when your team isn't online.
To make sure your social commerce experience is top-notch, you need to keep that "social" component in mind.
Don't just post your catalog and leave it like that. Be sure to answer questions, provide valuable and authentic content, be genuine, etc. It's essential to keep up with these things if you want to make sure your social commerce experience is up to par.
Setting up social monitoring across all platforms can be a great way to catch feedback or industry news outside of your own bubble, too.
If you want to stay up-to-date with what's happening outside of your own social networks, then setting up social monitoring on all the platforms is a must. It's also a great way to track any feedback or industry news.
A Power Reviews survey revealed that 95% of buyers read online reviews before buying something. So it's essential to build a good rep online and that means gathering social proof.
If you have a product that people love, get them to help share the good news.
This could be as simple as a follow-up email about a product after delivery, or something more inventive like a competition for existing customers to share their experience. Either way, it's a must-do.
Once you've got some nice reviews, there's plenty of ways to share 'em on your socials. From user-generated content to hosting a Live video with satisfied customers, or just creating a carousel of happy comments- it doesn't need to seem like you're showing off.
When you take care of the customer journey from start to finish on social media, you create a positive cycle that really helps you out.
Your content on social media draws new people into your funnel, and when you include social commerce, they have the chance to buy and leave reviews all in one spot. As your engagement continues to grow, the algorithms for social media will think your content is even more interesting to potential buyers.
Asos use shoppable pins on Pinterest to reach out to their customers.
Their listings are tailored to the brand name and product type, giving them the best chances to get discovered by the people who use the Shop tab for product exploration.
In 2018, the famous Jordan brand teamed up with Snapchat to boost their new product shoes to that year's NBA All-Star game.
Zimba was one of the first to give Facebook Shops a try to see if it would increase sales.
It turned out to be a great success! Not only did they get a whopping 1,200 more orders, but customers who shopped on Facebook Shops had a 6.7% higher average order value than those who bought from Zimba's website.
Social commerce is something we should all consider adding to our marketing strategy. This can help us spread the word about our brand and connect with our potential customers. Plus, it's important to make sure we're up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies so we can give our customers the best experience possible. All that to say, if you get social commerce, there's no limit to how successful you can be!