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A Simple Guide to Social Commerce

A Simple Guide to Social Commerce

Apr 19 2022

What Is Social Commerce and Why Should You Care?

Social commerce refers to the popular practice of selling products directly on social media platforms (such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram) rather than through physical stores or websites. It is one of the fastest-growing trends in the business world. Thus, there are so many reasons to focus on social commerce. In this article, we will unpack everything you need to know about social commerce.

As social media consumption continues to accelerate globally, businesses are beginning to adopt social commerce, which has completely transformed the entire shopping experience for shoppers. From product discovery to checkout, everything involved with shopping takes place directly on the relevant social media platform. The simple see it, click it, buy it mechanism central to social commerce is relatively easy, removes friction from the consumer's journey, speeds up the transaction process, and gives consumers a strong sense of autonomy. This is exactly how social commerce makes shopping much more interactive compared to the typical e-commerce and in-store shopping experiences.

In addition, social commerce creates an incredible opportunity to collect customer feedback and allows business owners to chat with them frequently via comments or direct messages. This way, they can obtain data about exactly who their customers are, their likes and dislikes. Furthermore, since social commerce is the most direct and immediate form of interaction between people and products, it has evolved into a method for generating frictionless social sales.

Another advantage of utilising social commerce is the fact that Millennials and Gen-Z (18-to-34 age range) prefer to purchase goods on social media. In 2019, 48% of the total internet users in the United States (U.S.) were Millennials and Gen-Z. It is reported that Gen Z spends two to three times more time shopping on social media platforms than the average shopper. The amount of time Generation Z and millennials are spending on social media is what has led to social commerce becoming such a key driving force in online commerce. This largely results from the fact that social commerce emphasises and promotes individual taste over brands, giving quick rise to new trends preferred by that age bracket. Thus, we can see that social commerce is leading the future of shopping, and we can’t deny the fact that Millennials and Gen Z are undoubtedly shaping the consumer market.

Social Commerce Vs. E-commerce

Presently, both social media and e-commerce platforms are dominating the social commerce landscape. However, unlike traditional e-commerce, social commerce offers the chance to get specific, ready-to-buy products in front of the specific audience that is looking for them. Thus, social commerce has become a popular choice for selling online. It’s simple, convenient, and immediate; it is everything that modern consumers crave. Today, the average person spends over three hours per day online, which in turn feeds into the humongous user bases social media platforms have. Thanks to the larger customer base, it is much easier to drive traffic and engagement with social media which shows enormous growth potential. Thus, it’s crucial to add social commerce to your business strategy if you are planning to sell your products online.

What Are the Best Platforms for Social Commerce?

The overwhelmingly high number of purchases made via social media makes it evident that online social interaction and online shopping are a perfect match. At the moment, only a few of the top social platforms offer social commerce. But as interest and profits grow, we’ll likely see more social media brands integrate shop now options.

Facebook

As Facebook continues to hold onto its reputation as a strong force in the world of social commerce, it facilitates in-app shopping by provisioning features that allow customers to complete entire transactions within the app itself. For instance, Facebook Shops enable businesses to connect directly with customers and potential customers through Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram Direct. Moreover, they are fully customizable, allowing business owners to alter the interface to suit their brand and create a unique shopping experience for customers.

Set up a Facebook page for your business >

Instagram

Instagram is a predominantly image-based platform highly popular among online shoppers. In 2019, a study by Facebook revealed that 87% of people surveyed stated that they took action after seeing product information on Instagram, such as following a brand or visiting their website. 54% of respondents said they made a purchase immediately after seeing a product or service on Instagram. Furthermore, the in-app feature of Instagram allows users to explore and shop on the feed. They’re navigated easily to the product detail page, where they can check out without any distractions. Similar to Facebook, Instagram also facilitates in-app features. These factors explain Instagram's continuous success and why consumers and business owners flock to the platform to buy and sell.

Set up an Instagram page for your Business >

Tiktok

Short-form video content is dominating e-commerce and social commerce with easy access to platforms such as TikTok. TikTok is one of the most recently introduced social media platforms that is slowly transforming into an influencer marketing powerhouse. It allows brands to create in-feed videos based on their products to offer an authentic and genuine experience. Since video content is vastly consumed compared to other types of content, consumers now have the choice to easily buy from a brand when they proactively connect with their content and by simply learning product details through videos. These videos are generally produced by influencers who are often paid partners of brands. In October 2020, Shopify officially partnered up with TikTok to help their one million plus businesses drive sales by reaching out to TikTok's younger and seemingly ever-expanding audience.

YouTube

Similar to TikTok, YouTube shopping enables businesses to create videos so that users can explore products and buy them immediately. Purchasing is possible even while the video continues to play.

Pinterest

Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is also an image-based platform. Features such as product pins allow businesses to display their stock information and product prices from their Pinterest shops. Pinterest also permits brands to move their product catalogue to the platform, recognizing the need for an online catalogue.

How Can You Utilise Social Commerce?

social media best practices

If you want the best out of social commerce, you need to utilize your content. This is one of the most vital components of a successful social commerce strategy. With thousands of brands shifting to social media platforms, you need to stand out to garner the attention of consumers. There are several ways to ensure your content is utilised. Listed below are a few we've hand-picked to help you get an idea.

Images:

Keep in mind that aesthetics play a major role in the success of social commerce. Social media is a predominantly visual-centric platform. If your social media account isn’t visually appealing, things could get a little difficult. Try and spruce up your product photography, make sure your posts are organised and try to follow a colour theme. Ensure that your product photographs are of high quality. Also, stick to vertical imagery because a large portion of consumers engages on social media platforms via their phones. So they're going to want to see you use vertical images.

Videos:Social commerce video content should be between 6 and 15 seconds long.

Text: The copies should be kept short. Around 100 or less would do for headlines and titles, while no more than 500 characters would do for descriptions.

Overlay: Use an overlay to make the products stand out.

Captions: Using captions increases reach and product accessibility. Therefore, it has become a mandatory component of social media content.

Filters: Use filters to make your product stand out, but don't use so many that users aren't sure what they're supposed to be looking at.

Logos: Include your brand logo in every post. Make sure it's visible and not hidden in a corner.

Final Thoughts

Social commerce is the modern mall. It is a powerful sales weapon that can be incorporated into your marketing strategy as the secret to your success. Now that you have a strong grasp of what social commerce is, it’s easy to see how more companies will take advantage of it soon. However, this does not mean that every business has to sell through social media. Of course, you can opt for other platforms and available options depending on your needs.

If you want to put your brand on the global digital map, social commerce is something your business should be paying attention to. You'd be surprised at the value it adds to your company!

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