Online shopping is no longer just limited to e-commerce websites, it’s taking over social media too.
As consumers spend more time engaging with social media, businesses are using social media platforms to drive up their sales. This year alone, social commerce sales are expected to increase by 35.8%, making this an area your e-commerce business needs to be focusing on.
With social media becoming such a popular place for people to shop, it makes sense that businesses should be focusing more time and effort on creating a powerful social commerce strategy.
Follow our guide to help your e-commerce business make the most of social commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is when you sell products directly through a social media platform. Instead of just finding brands or products on social media, social commerce allows users to complete the entire sale without moving on to another website.
Social commerce is all about streamlining the buying process, and closely connecting marketing with online shopping. It’s an area that is steadily increasing in popularity, and it’s starting to leave a major impact on the online shopping industry as a whole.
More and more social media platforms are adopting social commerce and enhancing their social commerce capabilities. Social commerce is currently an $89.4 billion market right now, and this is only growing at a rapid rate. Soon, social commerce will likely form a major part of any online retailer’s operations.
Social Commerce vs. eCommerce
Ecommerce is a more broad term, and it refers to any kind of buying or selling that takes place online. Social commerce is a form of eCommerce, and it’s a model that further refines and optimizes the buying journey for social media users.
This is mainly achieved through streamlining the checkout process for mobile users. Most eCommerce traffic comes from mobile phones. Mobile users also have a much higher cart abandonment rate than desktop users. Shoppers with smaller screens need to have a simplified checkout process, which is something that social commerce can provide.
The social commerce shopping experience is way faster and easier than traditional eCommerce. Users can scroll through Instagram, find a product they like, and buy it right there and then. No need to leave the app. This type of social shopping is a highly effective way to increase sales and avoid abandoned transactions.
The Different Social Commerce Platforms (And How to Use Them)
When creating your social commerce strategy, there are six main platforms to consider. We’ll explore them and their social commerce abilities below.
Facebook is the leading social commerce platform thanks to its easily accessible Facebook Shops tool. Anyone with a business profile can set up a Facebook Shop for free, which is connected to your eCommerce product range. You can either do this automatically through your eCommerce platform, or you can upload it through a spreadsheet.
Facebook’s social commerce solution allows buyers and sellers to easily communicate via Messenger. This can be a great way for your brand to connect and engage with its audience.
Facebook is also a good platform for shoppers to organically find products that match their interests. Organic discovery works well through the mobile app, and users can complete their transaction from discovery to purchase all within the same app.
Instagram Shopping allows eCommerce store owners to sell their products directly on the platform. Your Instagram Shop is just like your usual online storefront. All you will need is a business/creator account and an online store to set this up. Once your Instagram Shop is live, shoppers can browse and buy your products without leaving Instagram.
Your Instagram Shop can be easily customized with different themes, collections, and curated products. This could include things like bestsellers, seasonal trends, and new arrivals.
With your Instagram Shop, you could either send shoppers to your eCommerce website, or they could use Instagram checkout to purchase products directly. When shoppers make a purchase through Instagram Checkout, a small fee is charged. Otherwise, setting up an Instagram Shop is completely free.
When setting up your Instagram Shop, you can set up product pages just like you would on your online store. These product listings include things like your product description, prices, and product information.
Instagram Shopping Features
Here are some of the features and different ways to use Instagram Shopping:
- Shoppable Posts: You can integrate your store with Instagram product tags. Tag products in your posts just like you would tag people, and when users tap the product tag, they will be sent to the relevant product page.
- Shoppable Stories: Just like shoppable posts, you can also use product tags in your stories to send more traffic to your store.
- Shoppable Ads: Product tags can also be used in Instagram ads if you want to get your products out to a wider audience. You can set this up in the Ads Manager, or boost shoppable posts.
- Live Shopping: This can be a great way to launch new products and promote sales of a specific product in real-time. You can incorporate your product tags into your live stream, where users are sent to your store from your broadcast.
- Shopping Tab: The Instagram Shopping Tab is an excellent way to get your products and brand out to new customers. Users can discover relevant products and brands through this tab, where yours could be included to boost your visibility to new customers.
Pinterest has become a popular platform for selling online. In fact, 89% of Pinterest users are on the platform to find purchase inspiration.
Pinterest is not necessarily a social commerce platform in the sense that you can’t complete transactions directly on pins. Instead, users are redirected to a landing page based on the product where they can complete their transactions.
Pinterest social commerce is done through the use of Shoppable Pins. These pins are directly linked to your eCommerce products, and users can just tap on your product image and be directed to a product purchase page.
The visual appeal of Pinterest makes it a great place for brands to show off their products online and attract new customers. Pinterest also has a link to Etsy, which can make it easier to use the social media platform to boost your Etsy store sales.
Follow this guide for a more complete understanding of how to use Pinterest for eCommerce.
This is still a new social commerce pilot that is currently only available for Shopify merchants in the US and UK. The feature does have plans for expansion though, with the goal of making TikTok a hub for social media eCommerce.
Being one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, TikTok is definitely a place to look towards for social media marketing. With its new social commerce feature, the potential to reach a large new audience of customers is huge.
Follow this guide for a more complete understanding of how to use TikTok for eCommerce.
Brands on Snapchat with a public profile can set up a store and display a variety of products. The Snapchat shopping experience is smooth, and if your audience uses this platform, it could be a great place to sell your products.
Snapscan has also recently launched a clever new Screenshop feature. This allows users to scan their friends’ clothing on the app, or scan photos that they upload, and then shop for similar items on the platform.
The future of Snapchat’s social commerce is also looking exciting. With the rise and development of augmented reality, this social media platform could soon be using AR for a very exciting shopping experience.
Twitter Shopping has just been launched as a pilot to let US users shop from their profiles. Twitter is starting to test out eCommerce on the platform, which could be a major breakthrough for this social media giant.
Twitter shopping is done through a new “Shop” module where brands and retailers can showcase their products on their Twitter profiles. Users can tap products, and this will open the business’s website inside the Twitter app. Shopping will only be available for those with a Professional Profile.
The feature is still in its testing phase, but it looks like it will offer some exciting new prospects for Twitter.
Watch this space!
How to Boost Your Social Commerce Strategy: 10 Tips
Selling products through social media is an excellent way for brands to reach a wider customer audience, and make more sales through an easier shopping experience. Here are some important things to keep in mind in order to maximize your social commerce strategy.
1. Know Your Customers
The only way to implement a successful social commerce operation is to have a deep understanding of your customers. Know your customer demographics, their online behavior, and what triggers them to make a purchase.
By understanding your audience, you will be able to do things like focus on the most appropriate social media channel, target product ads to the right audience, and optimize your listings to match your buyer’s intent.
2. Focus On the Right Social Media Channel
Knowing which social media channels your consumers spend the most time on is important. There’s no use putting all of your effort towards TikTok social commerce if your consumers are shopping on Pinterest.
You can use Google Analytics to understand which social media channels send the most traffic to your online store. These are probably the channels that you want to focus on.
3. Focus On Customer Service
Don’t forget about the ‘social’ part of social commerce. Customers today expect to engage with brands through social media. Your social media channels should be used to offer a customer service experience as well as a shopping experience.
Unlike your online store, you can use your social media channels to respond to comments and questions, talk to customers, and build a community. Consumers want to see this engagement on your social platforms, which can be a big deciding factor for whether they make a purchase or not.
4. Leverage User-Generated Content
Social proof is a major factor in eCommerce marketing. One of the best ways to leverage social proof is to encourage and share user-generated content (UGC). Potential customers will see other customers talking about your brand on your social channels, which helps to build trust and influence a purchase.
User-generated content is important for social media marketing, but when you’re utilizing social shopping it becomes even more important. UGC highlights the customer experience, it shows your products in the real world, and it adds trust to the customer journey.
Whenever someone mentions your brand positively on social media, share this in your stories. You can also take advantage of influencer marketing or brand ambassadors to generate UGC for you.
Another excellent strategy for increasing your UGC on social media is to run a giveaway. You can ask contestants to perform a certain action (like upload a photo with your product) for a chance to win. This can get you loads of social proof to help boost your sales. With a social contest app like Wishpond, running a contest is easy.
5. Post Great Social Media Content
While the strength of your e-commerce store comes down to your products, your social commerce success is based on the strength of your social media content. Basically, you need to post great content if you want to attract and maintain an audience of consumers.
To do this, you’ll need to post high-quality images and videos on your channels that add value to your followers. Offer interesting insights into your products, helpful tips, and entertaining content. Your aim is to build an engaged following who are interested in your brand throughout their buying experience.
6. Use Influencers
Successful social commerce combines marketing with shopping. A great marketing strategy to get you more visibility, and more sales, is to make use of influencers. Influencer marketing is huge, and the right influencer can help you to reach a much bigger audience.
For an influencer marketing strategy that works, you’ll need to work with the right influencer. This needs to be someone that appeals to your target customers and has a good level of engagement.
When you find the right influencer, develop a strategy around which products they will promote through paid posts. Their audience will see your product, tap on it, and be directed straight to your social commerce store.
7. Always Optimize Your Shopping Experiences
Social commerce is an area that’s rapidly developing, with new platforms emerging and offering new features all the time. Your customers’ behavior is also always evolving, and it’s important that you keep up with this.
Just because certain shopping experiences and platforms have worked in the past, it doesn’t mean they will continue to be the best option for your brand. Make use of all of the data that you have available, and use this to optimize your social commerce strategy.
Understand what channels are performing best, how your customers’ behavior might be shifting, and what pain points consumers have. Always optimize and update your social commerce operation to match this.
8. Encourage Reviews
Positive reviews are crucial for encouraging sales. In fact, 93% of online shoppers base their buying decision on reviews. The more positive reviews you get, the better. Share these reviews on your social channels, and make them clear to any potential customers.
You can gather reviews by sending out an automated email politely asking customers to leave a review. You could even use your contest as an incentive to generate more reviews.
9. Listen to Your Audience
Social media gives you a direct view of what your customers are saying about your brand. Businesses should use social commerce to listen strategically to their audience, monitor comments, and keep up with industry trends.
Social listening is an important aspect of social commerce. When you get this right, it can make a big difference to the way your audience perceives your brand. Of course, this will help you ramp up your sales.
10. Keep Your Prices Strategic
While social media is an excellent place to sell all kinds of products, high-end products generally don’t perform as well as products priced to move quickly. The buying journey is faster and more efficient, but this also means consumers spend less time doing product research. This means expensive splurges are not as common on social media.
Products under $70 tend to perform best on social media. Anything more expensive, and the ‘risk’ of buying these products become too high.
Social commerce could well be the future of online shopping. It’s a rapidly advancing area that offers a lot of potential for optimizing the buying journey and enhancing the consumer experience online. If your online store isn’t making the most of social media, then it’s certainly time to start.
- 5 Must-Have Features and Tools for Successful Social Commerce
- 8 Actionable Tips to Use Social Media for eCommerce Sales
- Ecommerce Social Media Marketing: Building Trust and Engagement
- How to Use TikTok for eCommerce Marketing
- Using Pinterest for eCommerce
- How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021
- The Best Time to Post On TikTok in 2022 Revealed
- How to Go Live On TikTok – Complete Guide to TikTok Live