Technological innovations and advancements are opening new doors of opportunities for businesses. Social media is evolving rapidly from connecting people with friends, family, and brands to buying products from them.
Social media commerce or social commerce is the fastest-growing trend in the online business industry. Working on the principle of making the shopping experience more frictionless and agile for the consumer, social commerce is expected to dominate the online business industry soon.
Utilizing social commerce to bridge the gap between consumers and brands, 8-10 US businesses are expected to use social commerce for more sales by the end of 2023. Moreover, 71% of small businesses also aim to opt for social commerce as a selling point.
(Data source Statista)
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is selling products and services to customers through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram without having to leave the venue. It is also referred to as social ecommerce or social media commerce.
Social commerce is different from social media marketing as social commerce is doing the job of social media marketing. Social media marketing means promoting the product on social media and managing the process with social media management tools like Adublisher.
On the other hand, social commerce promotes the products online, creates brand awareness, and sells the product instantly. For example, if you are looking at a product online, you like it, and want to buy it, you can click on the product tag or other form of CTA attached to buy the said product without leaving the platform.
Killing two birds with one stone, promoting products, and indulging consumers in making the sales, period! It is the holy grail of social media management, as social commerce is a practical and direct approach to creating a loyal consumer base.
What is the difference between social commerce and ecommerce?
It is essential to help people understand that social commerce and ecommerce are not the same things and one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work with both.
Ecommerce is a broad spectrum for buying and selling products and services online. It is a versatile field encompassing various storefronts and marketing channels to generate sales. It is not wrong to say that social commerce is an adaptive form of ecommerce used across social media platforms as social ecommerce platforms.
Social commerce is a more direct approach to selling products to a targeted group of people over social media for rapid sales and growth.
What are the most used platforms (social ecommerce platforms) used for social commerce?
The trendsetter and father of social media platforms, Facebook, introduced the social shopping feature. Instagram and Pinterest soon followed this trend. The largest and most popular video-sharing platforms, Youtube and TickTock, have also jumped into the field with the success of video ads.
Here are the three top social media platforms used for social commerce.
Facebook is the leading platform in social commerce, with 63.5 million users purchasing. These numbers are expected to reach 69 million by 2025. Facebook shop feature makes online sales easy, with research showing that 71% of Facebook users have used the platform at least once to make a purchase.
(Data Source Statista)
Instagram is the most preferred platform for finding new products and researching brands. 83% of shoppers use Instagram to find their next new purchase. 47 million people will use Instagram to buy new products by 2025.
(Data Source NeilShaffer)
Pinterest is the most popular platform among women, and as they are the leading gender making purchases, it’s only logical to invest in Pinterest. According to Pinterest, 40% of the pinners say they love to shop, and that can be seen by the fact that Pinterest shopping carts are 30% bigger than other platforms. This shows that pinners spend twice as much monthly as social media users. Pinterest has approximately 16 million shoppers.
(Data Source Pinterest)
What are the benefits of using social commerce?
I can write a whole blog on the benefits of social commerce, but to summarize them, here are a few,
- Reach a wider audience as social media has almost 5 billion active monthly users.
- Create brand awareness and develop a trusting relationship with consumers by interacting with them on social media.
- Bridge the gap between brands and customers to generate rapid progressive results and ROIs.
- Setting up social commerce storefronts is easier and more cost-effective than ecommerce and CMS platforms.
- Great tool for generating social proof without spending on influencers and excessive marketing channels.
- Utilizing the social proof in your ecommerce businesses (if you have any) to assert authority and credibility of your products and services.
- Get better insights from social media using social media management tools for data-driven planning and productive workflow.
Tips to make the most of social commerce
Now that we have discovered what social commerce is and what makes it different from ecommerce and social media marketing, and why it’s helpful to your business, it’s time to explore and share with you the new trends and tips that can be used to maximize the results from social commerce.
Bring innovation to the shopping process
Since social commerce is the product of technological advancements, it’s wise to incorporate several other innovative approaches in your shopping process for a more agile workflow.
Modern businesses’ success heavily depends on creating a personalized and smooth shopping experience for the consumer. Different technologies and techniques like AR and VR are used to upgrade the shopping process.
Pinterest introduced AR technology to help users make more informed decisions about their products, especially furniture items. Suppose you are looking for a sofa for your living space and find one matching your quality requirements. The first question that comes to mind is how it will look in my living room and whether it will fit in the designated space.
With AR, you can see how the sofa will look in your living room, and once you are satisfied, you can go on with the purchase. Other social media platforms also invest in AR and VR technology because AR products have 200% more engagement.
61% of consumers prefer retailers offering AR experience showing the importance of incorporating AR in your social commerce storefront for better sales.
Another rising trend in shopping is using voice commands, as $19.4 billion in sales will be generated with voice commands.
Voice technology is the most popular among Gen-Z and millennials, and since they make up the largest group of online buyers, the smart thing to do is incorporate voice commands in your social commerce.
The goal of using technology is to make the shopping process as easy and fun for the consumer as possible.
Streamline customer support
Social media is the means for people to connect and the brands they are buying from. Since social media has become the primary source for people to interact with each other, they try to contact the brands in the same vein.
80% of consumers use social media to contact and engage with brands, highlighting the importance of streamlining your customer support across social media platforms.
To ease the process, social media management tools offer many options, including a social media scheduler to schedule posts in advance, freeing up time to focus on timely customer support.
A timely response goes a long way in building trust with your customers, paving the way for future sales, and generating word of mouth, the strongest motivator in the business. Astute businesses use chatbots to make the entire process more convenient and productive.
Chatbots are the future of customer support, and a combination of post scheduler and AI-powered chatbots will make your life easy, keeping the customer at the forefront of the business model.
Leverage Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is more potent and effective than celebrity endorsements. It is the biggest driver of sales and conversions in social commerce, as 72% of Gen-Z and millennials follow influencers on social media.
Instagram is the leading platform for influencers, evident from the fact that the term Instagram Influencer is more popular than social media influencers. 61% of consumers trust recommendations from influencers while making a purchase.
(Data Source TheSocialShepherd)
When going for influencer marketing, opt for micro-influencers instead of macro, they are more cost-effective, and people consider their opinion more trustworthy and legit compared to the biased, believed recommendations from macro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is a cost-effective way of generating more sales and keeping a neutral, humane, and positive image of your brand.
Use social proof and User-Generated-Content (UGC)
Social proof is the closest thing to word of mouth in social commerce, and we all know the importance of word-of-mouth marketing in generating sales. Focus on user-generated content and promote generic posts about your products.
When you make a sale, ask the consumer to make a video of them reviewing the products and post it on their social media handle; promote content like that on your social media platforms using social media management tools by scheduling posts at the peak time for maximum exposure.
Exploit hashtag campaigns to generate a lot of UGC and multiply your sales exponentially in no time.
Live shopping for a more interactive experience
The live shopping feature is a powerful tool for generating sales for small businesses. Incorporating shopping and product tags in the live stream allows consumers to purchase based on impulsive decision-making.
Businesses go live and review their products, show how they work, how you will look at them, and the benefits, share with their audience what people who use their products feel about them, answer their questions, and convince them to purchase.
This is a great way to communicate with your customers directly and create a trusting and long-lasting relationship by answering their questions, creating brand awareness and sales simultaneously.
Promote your products with post scheduler
Customers come across hundreds and thousands of posts and stories on their feeds whenever they log in to their accounts. It’s crucial for the success of the social commerce strategy to publish constant promotional posts about their products.
Social media users are picky regarding the posts they see on their feeds, so posting all of the benefits on a single post might make it less attractive; go for multiple posts shining a light on benefits rather than features.
Create a bulk of posts about your product creating awareness, and adding social proof for credibility and convincing the viewer; schedule these posts with a social media scheduler offered by social media management tools like Adublisher.
Open Up your calendar for more concerning matters like creating an attractive and alluring storefront. Use this time to keep a constant theme aligned with your brand image for a professional lookout.
Make the checkout process easy
Cart abandonment is the biggest issue associated with ecommerce minimizing the conversions to a mere 10% at max. Mainly because most of the online traffic comes from mobile phones. If your store or checkout process is challenging, you can lose a client.
Checkouts are a shopper’s journey’s make or break point on your visual presence. Social commerce minimizes most of the problems associated with ecommerce checkouts, but some measures must be taken for maximum agility.
(Image Source Dribble)
The best way is to allow checkout on the same platform instead of guiding you to your website. Moreover, social media platforms like Facebook are making native checkout mandatory to use the shop features.
Adopt the Omnichannel approach
Social commerce is rapidly growing, and people are making purchases using social media platforms. Consequently social commerce market share to a whopping $1.7 trillion, but you can’t ignore the importance of having a website.
If you have a website, you can merge your social media storefront with your website and upload your product catalogs. 67% of online buyers still consider buying from a website, incorporating your website with your social presence and making the transition easy for the customer.
Maximize your chances of making more sales by using an SEO-optimized website and an active and engaging social media presence. CMS platforms like Shopify allow integration of both storefronts making the management process easy for businesses.
Harness the power of analytical data
Social media management tools and built-in stores offer analytical insights to businesses about which posts and products work better. Find out the ideal customer persona with these insights.
Once you have found your ideal customer, you can analyze their shopping behavior. Utilize their likes, and dislikes from the social media account they give access to while checking out. These insights help with keyword research and curating content that resonates with them.
Social commerce is the present and the future of online businesses. The rapid increase of consumers opting for online stores, especially during and after the pandemic, has encouraged companies to opt for more innovative options.
Social commerce is a cost-effective, easy-to-setup, and direct way of making sales. Creating brand awareness for a long-lasting effect and a loyal consumer base. Bring innovation to your business with AR and VR technology, voice command enabling, chatbots, and social media management tools to streamline shopping.