In today’s world, this, that, and the other is happening online. Just a few years ago we were speaking about the rise of eCommerce, and now online shopping has spilled over onto social media platforms. Social commerce often runs in conjunction with eCommerce and is based on the premise of customers making instant purchases without leaving an app. Here's a guide on how your business can master social media shopping.
Social Media Shopping
Over the years, social media has become a lot more business-friendly across the board. There is space for organic content, advertising, user-generated content, and now, shopping. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and TikTok have shopping features available on their apps.
Rather than producing the same kind of content that leads to mindless scrolling, we’ve seen businesses stepping up their game. Long gone are the days of white box stock photography being enough. It’s all about the aesthetics and subtle selling that feels like a seamless experience for the user.
So, it’s all about communicating. Sharing remains the core of social media platforms, and now, online shopping has become even more quick and easy. Rather than clicking on a link to an online store, finding the product, filling out your details, and making the payment, people can click on the item they see on social media and instantly add it to their cart.
eCommerce stands for electronic commerce, so social commerce is really a part of that since it involves online transactions taking place electronically. These spaces are used primarily for B2C markets, as well as C2C or customer-to-customer sales (think Facebook marketplace). Another extension of this is chat commerce, where people can buy products through direct messaging channels like WhatsApp.
With the way that these platforms are set up, it certainly feeds into instant gratification. But this isn’t the only lure of shopping via social media platforms. It’s also where people spend a lot of their time online, with hours spent on these apps each day by millions of people around the world. In other words, it makes sense since part of the role of a business is to meet their audience where they’re at and to make their buyer’s journey as satisfactory as possible.
When selling products on social platforms, there are a number of features available to enhance the experience. You can create engaging and shareable content, as well as having direct communication just a tap away. This means social media platforms are not just able to earn you engagement and reach, but actual direct sales too. Conversion is therefore not just a matter of directing traffic, but also leads and deals.
Indeed, the role of social media managers has become far more complicated. Much of the success of social commerce has been based on videos. In fact, it has been said that the future of video content is shoppable entertainment.
That said, it is still new, with rollouts occurring just a couple of years ago in selected countries. That is why it is best to include this as part of your sales strategy. However, it won’t be replacing your eCommerce. Believe it or not, the term social commerce dates back to 2005 by Yahoo, and it referred to a collaborative set of tools involved in the online shopping experience.
As millennials continue to crossover into their 30s, the Gen Z market continues to grow. With this generation being so accustomed to all things online and social, selling via these apps is a great way to reach, interest them, and take it one step further by setting the stage for quick buy’s.
Now, let’s talk numbers. According to Statista, social commerce worldwide is estimated to have generated about $475 billion in 2020.
With an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.4 percent from 2021 to 2028, revenues in this segment are expected to reach approximately 3.37 trillion dollars in the latter year.
How to Master Social Commerce
Let’s take a look at the opportunities presented by social commerce and the various ways it can benefit businesses.
To make the experience of setting up your social commerce store, these apps have created integrations that connect to your eCommerce store, like these apps that integrate with Shopify to improve eCommerce operations. This makes it super easy to upload stock and manage inventory.
When you begin planning your social stores, it is important that you select the right platform. Base this on your existing audience and their preferences. While you can have multiple stores across the platforms, there is no need to overextend your store. Learning the in’s and out’s is important so that you have a fully-functional store.
Once you’re set up, be sure that your store and social media marketing campaigns are aligned. This will help promote your store and products and improve the customer experience. There are certain products that sell especially well on social media - think fast-moving consumer goods in the fashion and beauty industries for one. How you market the products can add to the consumer’s desire to bag something quickly. It’s also about ensuring the price is right - that, and creating the right amount of hype for the products. Take a look at how this can form part of your greater eCommerce marketing strategy.
Speaking about marketing, ads on social media have the benefit of hyper-targeting audiences. By using your analytics wisely, you’ll be able to reach your niche audiences and appeal to them in the best way possible. It can also help you to develop personalized campaigns that ultimately perform better.
As we mentioned, one of the benefits of social media shopping is that you have the ability to send direct communication with ease as well. You can streamline sales queries with chatbots to improve the element of customer service. Being highly responsive is key, especially when it comes to the instantaneity of social shopping.
Following on from the above, social media is all about networking, so be sure to engage with your followers. This is not a traditional-style store where hardcore selling is the goal. Instead, you’re creating a casual space that is inherently social - remember, you need to develop an online community for your brand.
Once you manage to make social sales, it is the marketer’s duty to encourage customers to continue their relationship with your brand online. When they share and review your products, they’re bringing the social shopping experience full circle which can be highly beneficial for businesses in terms of public perception.
Finally, think about your social media accounts holistically, since this is how your customers will see and interact with them. Your page is essentially a digital storefront, so be sure that it represents your brand. There are also other avenues for social selling, like ‘live shopping,’ where products are shoppable during live streams. This is also a great way to promote products in real-time and make announcements. Certain apps like Snapchat also have AI-powered features that allow you to virtually try on or test out the products with lenses.
Ready to Get Started with Social Commerce?
That wraps up our overview of social shopping. Based on everything mentioned above, it is clear that these kinds of buyer’s journeys are growing and filled with potential. It is something that more businesses will be considering adding to their sales strategies due to the many opportunities that it holds. Are you ready to set up your social shopping strategy? Reach out to us at Nexa for all your social media requirements.