The main reason for that is that the customers want to (and tend to) buy in the most convenient way possible – and that is where they spend most of their time online anyway. In other words, customers like to go shopping on social platforms.
That’s not just a bold statement without a backup – according to research by Linnworks, this group represents 80% of all surveyed customers.
Read on to find out about:
● What is social commerce?
● Why is it important?
● Why is it worth making it part of your selling strategy?
● Benefits of social commerce
● Social commerce platforms worth using
What is social commerce?
For ecommerce brands, social commerce is about using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to reach customers, engage and allow them to browse products without leaving a platform. Some social platforms even make it possible for customers to buy these products within the app.
Social commerce is a possibility for customers to go shopping almost instantly while checking up on friends and family or just having fun at the same time.
The importance of social commerce
Implementing social commerce in the overall selling strategy for ecommerce brands is essential for far more reasons than the one mentioned above in the introduction.
First of all, it’s one of four main sales channels, and therefore can become a part of your sales channel strategy, along with:
It’s important to choose proper sales channels based on who the customers using those channels are, and where, when and how they want to buy. Taking a multichannel approach, where omnichannel is at the retailer’s core and expands out to other channels, is a thing to consider here.
Second of all, social commerce is an opportunity for brands to be where their current and potential customers are, engage and educate them with content and finally, make the buying process as effortless as possible.
Let’s take a look at some numbers:
- 82% of the consumers like social commerce for its convenience (Linnworks).
- In 2020 – in the United States alone–social commerce sales were estimated at nearly 27 billion dollars. The projection for 2025 is 79.6 billion dollars (Statista).
- 70% of online customers go to Instagram to discover products (Facebook).
- 71% of customers prefer making purchases on social channels rather than going out to the retail store (Linnworks).
Why implement social commerce as a part of the selling strategy? Creating any selling strategy begins with answering two simple questions:
- Who are my customers?
- Where do they spend most of their time online? Sure, that’s not all that it takes, but it’s the beginning.
Your customers spend their time on at least one social media platform every day. Each platform attracts different audiences, and if you know who your customers are, you can use this knowledge to figure out which platforms they use.
This way, you can get in front of the right audience where they already spend their time, one of the main reasons why social commerce is so effective and why it’s worth at least to consider implementing it in a selling strategy.
If you have doubts about whether you will find your customers on a particular social media platform, you can use additional resources to figure out where your audiences spend their time by demographics. For example, you can check the data from Pew Research Center for 2021 or this blog post by SproutSocial.
The chances are, looking at this data will only ensure that you can take advantage of social commerce to improve sales. But while increasing sales is important, there are more benefits to taking advantage of social commerce as a sales strategy.
Benefits of social commerce
- Sales increase
- Getting in front of the right audience when they want and where they want
- Exposure to huge audiences that increases brand awareness
- It makes the buying process as effortless as possible
- Possibility to test your idea before investing money in an expensive website or store
- Way of getting to know customers better
- Shortens the customer journey
- Part of omnichannel approach that extends out to multichannel that widens your customer base
Now, it’s time to look at the best social commerce platforms to use and some of the commerce features they offer. These are also places where you might find your customers.
Examples of social commerce platforms and their features
Thanks to Facebook Shops, you can design a digital store within Facebook and start selling products directly on Facebook and Instagram or on your website. What’s important is that customers can contact you via Facebook Messenger to ask questions related to your products or any other.
You can tag your products on images and videos and use storytelling to encourage Instagram customers to discover your products and eventually buy them. In addition, Instagram users can browse and make purchases without leaving the application.
Ecommerce brands can use Product Pins to help customers discover their products. However, that’s not everything. Pinterest plans to add more commerce features as they did with a Shopping List – a way to save product Pins in one place and come back later.
Snapchat wants to help companies with social commerce by taking advantage of Augmented Reality. The great proof of their aspirations is TrueSize technology for sizing eyewear and sunglasses. Another example is wrist-tracking that you can use to try on watches or jewellery before purchasing them (or even leaving your home).
TikTok doesn’t want to stay behind other platforms and is adding and testing new social commerce features. One of them is “Buy Now” button that can be placed by influencers in their videos.
Twitter decided to test the Shop Module to help companies discover the potential of selling their products directly on Twitter. Brands can use this feature to display their products at the top of their account profiles.
Companies and eCommerce brands can create WeChat mini-programs that allows for making commerce features available to WeChat users. Although these mini-programs have its limitations, the number of them at the beginning of 2020 reached 3.2 million.
Some brands can offer their customers to purchase products directly from YouTube thanks to a Buy on Google function.
Sales and growth opportunities come from using the sales channel resources that make the most sense for your business. Here’s how to get started with social commerce:
Provide valuable content.
The definition of value depends on who your audience is, but your customers want to know why they should engage with your brand on social channels. Why should they keep reading your content or open your story?
Use automation to streamline
There’s many different ways of setting up your Facebook or Pinterest Shop for example, but using an automated feed that pulls all the product information directly from your website will save you valuable time and ensure that your product data is always up to date on your social commerce platforms.
Make social commerce part of your social media strategy
Think about how you can use social commerce as part of your wider social media strategy – for example, by tagging products on your organic social media posts, or investing in advertising to promote your products with dynamic product ads on Facebook or by driving catalogue sales via Pinterest.
Work with experts
If you are looking to supercharge your social commerce strategy why not reach out to Williams Commerce? We have an experienced social media marketing team that can help you make the most of your social commerce opportunities.
Whether you are a retailer, a B2B company or interested in selling directly to your customers (D2C) we can give you recommendations on how to engage with new audiences and increase your sales.
Speak with one of the experts today