By 2025, it is expected that social commerce retail sales in the US will amount to around $80 billion. Social commerce is a no-brainer when it comes to getting your brand in front of more people when you realize that 4.59 billion individuals, or 57% of the worldwide population, already utilize social media.
But how can you ensure that your brand stands out in the midst of the stiffer competition? How can social networking apps help you increase your e-commerce sales? To deliver a superior customer experience, brands must have a thorough awareness of the buying preferences of their target population.
What is Social Commerce?
Social networking sites are used in social commerce, which is the direct sale of goods and services to customers. The entire purchase process is integrated into interactive features made available on different social media sites.
All phases of a sales transaction, from product promotion to customer support, are included in social commerce. Businesses employ imaginative posts to advertise their goods and give consumers more details about them. To attract new clients, they provide knowledgeable counsel and assistance. In order to increase brand recognition and get customer feedback, they also promote comments and discussions on forums and communities.
Shoppers can use social commerce to:
- Discover brands
- Research products
- Interact with customer support
- Purchase items
Social commerce is a more convenient and interactive shopping experience which may explain why it’s becoming increasingly popular. Estimates show that the global value of social commerce will reach about $2.9 trillion by 2026
Social commerce differs from traditional social media marketing strategies where shoppers view a brand’s content and visit their website to start shopping. Instead, social platforms like Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops act as virtual storefronts.
Social commerce is booming because social media usage is. Research shows the typical social media user now spends about 15% of their waking life on social platforms, with 10% of US adults having an addiction to at least one app.
Currently, in the US, Gen Z and millennials are the most likely social network users to have made at least one purchase via a social channel.
Social commerce is a simple way to promote and sell products. For example, while scrolling on Instagram you may see a set of skin care products, tap Shop Now, add it to your shopping cart, and check out within the app.
Social Commerce vs. E-commerce
While they have their similarities, social commerce, and e-commerce are not the same thing. For one, interactions in e-commerce are managed from business websites and other digital platforms such as a unique app. Meanwhile, interactions in social commerce take place only on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. E-commerce also typically entails several steps, making the buyer’s journey longer. With social commerce, a transaction is completed in just three or so steps.
Social Commerce vs. Social Selling
Another term that often gets confused with social commerce is social selling. However, while the main thrust of social commerce is to drive sales, social selling is mainly focused on cultivating relationships with potential customers. It aims to build sales prospecting lists by targeting specific users on social media.
With billions of people actively using social media, it has become a lucrative marketplace for many businesses. Companies that want to remain competitive in an increasingly digital era must incorporate social commerce into their business strategy. When utilized properly, social commerce can heighten brand awareness, increase customer satisfaction, and drive sales. Here are some of the many ways it can boost business growth:
- It widens the market base.
Almost everyone is on social media today. There are now over three billion people using various social media platforms. Many of them have more than four social media accounts. Through social commerce, businesses can tap this vast market, especially the younger millennials and the Gen Zs who are comfortable shopping on social media.
- It enables more targeted campaigns.
Most social media platforms provide businesses with tools and insights to gather and analyze consumer data. They provide a way for brands to target their ads toward specific groups. For instance, ad settings can be tweaked, so ads for baby products appear mostly on the newsfeeds of mothers.
- It streamlines the buying process.
With traditional e-commerce, the buying process involves several steps. Consumers click an ad and get redirected to the business website where they can add products to the cart. They then provide personal information and fill in credit card details to complete the transaction. In contrast, social commerce usually involves just three simple steps—view, click, and buy. Posts or messages can already include CTAs such as “shop now” or “buy,” and payment can be made through in-app credit.
- It makes shopping more interactive.
Unlike buying directly from company websites, social commerce is more interactive. Users can easily ask friends for recommendations on products by tagging them on posts. They can also look at comments from other users to know if a product is worth the buy. Most importantly, they can interact directly with brands and get more personalized services.
Social Commerce Platforms
You can sell products through a variety of social media sites. Here are four of the most popular social commerce platforms.
Facebook is one of the best platforms to start your social commerce site and plan. This platform enables users to shop and buy your products. If you want a platform that enables you to make the most of your campaign, Facebook is a great option. You can upload your products and info into your social commerce site store.
Read Also: How to Start a Social Commerce?
Facebook allows you to create a shop product catalog and customize it for your users. Once you have your product catalog set up, you can sell your products from your page. As soon as customers place an order, you can manage these orders through Facebook. If you want to obtain more orders, you have the option to run advertisements to reach more customers.
Facebook also allows you to keep tabs on your social commerce campaign. You can see how many customers are purchasing products, how your ad campaign is working, and other details.
The visual nature of Instagram makes it an excellent platform for social commerce companies. Users can see your products in action in your photos and videos and then click to quickly purchase them. Instagram Checkout enables you to sell items directly through the app. Users can see the products in your post, enter their information, and place their order within the Instagram app.
The Checkout feature is currently only available to certain businesses. Other companies can use Instagram Shopping, which functions similarly but takes users to your business’s ecommerce site.
You can tag items in your posts and stories using Instagram Checkout or Shopping. Instagram Ads can help you broaden your audience.
Twitter has adapted to enable your business to use social commerce. This platform makes it easy for your followers to purchase your products. When you tweet about a product, you can include a buy button. This means that if someone sees a photo of your product, they can click on the button and buy it immediately. It is all done without the customer ever having to leave Twitter.
Like Facebook, you can run promoted tweets that showcase your products. It’s a great way to help you branch out from your followers and reach new potential leads. Twitter is another excellent social commerce site for your business to use.
Pinterest is one of the most popular ways to get people to buy products. This platform is a photo-based platform, so it makes it easy to integrate photos of your products to sell to leads. When you use Pinterest as a social commerce site, you create buyable pins. These are pins where you post your product and a link to purchase the product. People who see your pin can buy directly from the pin.
Many major retailers utilize Pinterest to sell their products. People are already looking at photos and other pins, so a buyable pin blends in well with the rest. Since it is a photo-heavy platform, you’ll need to ensure that your photos stand out from the rest.
Benefits of Social Commerce
By 2025, social commerce in the US is expected to be valued $79.64 billion. There is a sizable piece of the pie available for retail firms interested in utilizing social commerce solutions. Other than the potential increase in e-commerce sales, embracing social commerce has a lot of other advantages for retail firms.
The top five advantages of social trade are as follows:
1. Reach a larger target audience
4.59 billion people, or 57% of the global population, currently use social media. This figure is projected to reach 5.17 billion by 2024. There’s more opportunity than ever before to reach a global audience through social media.
Plus, increasing numbers of social media users are starting to shop through social platforms. If your target audience lies in the 18-to-34 age group, they’re already scrolling and ready to shop.
In the US, Generation Z and millennials are the most likely social network users to have made at least one purchase via a social channel.
2. Frictionless shopping experience
Functionality like in-app checkout, Buy buttons, and instant messaging tools make buying through social media convenient. Using social commerce helps eliminate unnecessary steps in the purchasing process. With extra steps in the buying process, there’s more chance of customers losing interest and abandoning purchases.
By letting users stay within the app all the way from discovery through to checkout, there’s a lower risk of shoppers dropping off.
For example, instead of redirecting a Facebook user from the app to your website, the platform has a “checkout on Facebook” option. Instead of interrupting their time on the platform, shoppers can browse products and purchase them without leaving social media.
3. Gather data on your audience
Social media platforms are a top source of customer data. This valuable data can inform future marketing campaigns and product development.
Instagram Insights provides demographic data including gender, age group, and geographical location. Using Facebook Audience Insights, marketers can gather even more in-depth data about their target audience. Demographics overview provides age and gender breakdowns, job titles, relationship statuses, and education levels. Brands can also find out about users’ interests and hobbies.
Using this data, retailers can build highly targeted ad campaigns so their products appear in front of their ideal audience. Social commerce gives brands the chance to get products in front of specific and highly targeted audiences that traditional ecommerce sites can’t replicate.
3. Lean into social proof
Eighty-nine percent of online shoppers check reviews before purchasing. People need to trust brands before they press Purchase, so they’ll look at past customer reviews, compare products, and even talk to other customers before making a decision.
Social commerce comes with integrated social proof in the form of user-generated content. Comments, likes, shares, and follows all help potential shoppers trust your brand. When customers keep interacting with and promoting your brand, other social media users are more likely to trust your brand too.
Brands can incentivize users to share content with giveaways, discount codes, or coupons. Branded hashtags that encourage users to share images or videos of them using products are another way to build social proof.
For example, DTC skincare brand Curology regularly shares with customers using its products to build trust with its Instagram audience.
Influencer marketing also helps build trust and generate social proof. When well-known influencers showcase your products, it increases your brand’s credibility. For instance, 89% of YouTube viewers trust the recommendations YouTube creators provide.
Using YouTube Shopping, brands can pin products next to their video so viewers can like, subscribe, and buy.
4. Receive customer feedback
Social media makes it easy to interact directly with customers and get their feedback on your brand and products. Customers love to share their opinions, as it makes them feel like valued individuals. Brands can run polls, ask customers for their opinions in the comments, and chat through messenger tools.
Using this feedback, retailers can tailor their offerings to meet customer expectations. Whether that’s better customer service, more product size options, or a new clothing collection, once retailers have these insights they can take action.
Social commerce takes online shopping and fully integrates it into social media. Consumers can use their favorite social media platforms to find, browse, and purchase products, all without leaving the platform.
Social commerce relies on social media platforms’ native shopping tools like Facebook Shops. They can also use ecommerce integrations with platforms like Shopify.
Social commerce lets brands sell their products directly on social media platforms and offers a more seamless shopping experience. When customers find products they like on social media, all they need to do is click through to checkout without leaving the app. This quicker and more convenient experience lowers the risk of abandoned shopping carts.