Social commerce is the use of social media platforms to facilitate the buying and selling of products and services. With platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram introducing in-app shopping options, social media has become a crucial channel for businesses because it allows them to connect with customers and potential customers in a more personal and interactive way.
A recent study by Accenture found that global social commerce sales reached $492 billion in 2021 and are projected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2025. Furthermore, Hootsuite also predicted social commerce sales to grow to $1.6 trillion in the next three years, which is an increase of over 100% compared to 2020.
As social media usage continues to rise, so too will the significance of social commerce. Social commerce currently makes up 10% of eCommerce sales and is expected to increase to 17% within the next few years. For this reason, it is essential for you to develop a strong social commerce strategy and integrate it with your overall digital brand experience to provide the best customer experience. There’s never been a better time to start selling on social media than right now!
Let’s help you leverage the power of social media and reach a wider audience, improve brand awareness, and drive sales. Invest in social commerce to help your brand gain valuable insights into your customer preferences and behavior. In turn, you can use this for future marketing and product development efforts.
Overall, social commerce can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to connect with customers and grow their business.
Curious about how you can get a big chunk of profits out of social commerce? Proweaver got you covered! Read on for social commerce 101 below.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms and networks to integrate e-commerce functionality within social media platforms that allows you to drive traffic to your store’s website, to a specific product, or to drive sales. Social commerce also allows your customers to discover, research, and purchase products without leaving the platform. The overall shopping experience takes place right on social media through features such as in-app shopping, shoppable posts, buy buttons, and social media marketplaces.
Social Commerce vs E-Commerce vs Social Media Marketing
Social commerce, e-commerce, and social media marketing are related but differ in many ways.
Social media marketing uses social media platforms and networks to promote a product, service, or brand and increase brand awareness and drive engagement with a target audience. This can include activities such as creating and sharing content, running social media ads, and engaging with customers on social media platforms.
E-commerce refers to the process of purchasing and selling goods and services via the internet. This can include online retail websites such as Amazon that offer a wide range of products from multiple brands, or it can refer to individual brand websites such as H&M.
Social commerce, on the other hand, uses social media platforms and networks to simplify the shopping experience and enable customers to purchase products directly through social media platforms.
For example, a customer could see a lipstick on their Instagram feed, click “shop now“, add it to their cart, and complete the purchase without leaving the app. Similarly, on TikTok, a customer might discover a discounted dress and complete the purchase with just one click.
Social commerce encompasses various methods, including group buying, where a group of shoppers comes together to purchase items in bulk, and social shopping. It also includes buying through mobile applications, retailers incorporating social elements, and integrating shopping into social media platforms.
These are shopping opportunities (yes, opportunities!) that you should be taking advantage of. With social commerce, you can offer your products to customers in a convenient and seamless way, right on the platforms where they are already engaging.
What Features Makeup Social Commerce?
Here are some of the features that make social commerce possible for your business to achieve profits and success.
Storefronts on social profiles
Social commerce platforms such as Instagram and Facebook enable you to establish a comprehensive virtual storefront on your profile. These storefronts can closely resemble the layout and structure of your e-commerce website. It should include collections, detailed product pages, and suggested items.
Shoppable organic posts
Social commerce allows your followers to shop directly from your social media posts, like Instagram feed posts (images and videos), Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels, Pinterest pins, Facebook images and carousels, and TikTok videos. These posts include an icon or a label in the corner that suggests there are one or more products tagged in the post.
Live shopping combines live streaming and e-commerce. You can use live shopping to design engaging and interactive live streams, advertising your products, and allowing your viewers to purchase them directly during the stream.
Shoppable paid ads
Social commerce allows businesses to run paid social campaigns to a targeted audience. Shoppable ads are often based on the products and categories a user already viewed. In this case, the ads serve as a great reminder to continue the purchase.
Why Should Your Brand Care?
Social commerce offers several advantages to your business, one of which is streamlining your customer’s purchasing process by reducing obstacles they may face while buying your products. Additionally, it allows brands to interact with their customers directly on social media platforms. Furthermore, it allows businesses to gather immediate data on consumer behavior, which can be used to make informed decisions.
Not sure if setting up social commerce is a good idea for your business? Here are some other reasons why you should take a shot with social commerce to achieve success in these competitive markets.
Social commerce enhances the shopping experience.
Social commerce transforms the shopping experience by making it more engaging and interactive. When your customers shop on social media, they can engage with their friends, share their purchases, receive feedback from others, and communicate directly with brands. This level of interaction recreates the social aspect of physical shopping and can be a good alternative for those who miss the in-person mall experience.
There is significant potential for financial gain.
Studies from different business data and online statistics portals, such as Statista, predict that e-commerce sales will exceed $735 billion in the next three years.
To take advantage of this opportunity, you should make your products available and visible on different social media platforms. Make sure to put your products where your customers are already spending time.
Many shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook and nearly half of Pinterest users prioritize shopping. It makes sense for you to cater to these customers by providing them with what they are searching for using these social media platforms.
Social commerce provides instant customer feedback.
Social commerce not only simplifies and facilitates the buying process but also provides an efficient way to gather customer feedback.
With products readily available on social media platforms, your customers can easily review and discuss them with their peers or friends. This allows your business to gain insight into your customers’ preferences and needs. With this, you can make informed decisions about your product development and inventory management without the need for guesswork.
Additionally, social media platforms offer clear data about your customers. This allows you to have an opportunity to communicate with them directly through comments or direct messages, enabling personalized customer service.
Millennials and Gen Z like to shop using social commerce.
If you want to target young adults, you should invest in social commerce. Millennials and Gen Z, particularly those between the ages of 18-34, primarily prefer to shop using social media platforms for its convenience.
According to Statista, in 2019, 48% of internet users in this age range in the United States made a purchase on social media, and an additional 27% expressed interest in trying it.
If your target audience falls within this demographic, they are already online and ready to shop while they scroll through their social media feeds. This is the modern marketplace, and it’s an opportunity for your business to start establishing a presence. Open an online shop now!
You can use social commerce to sell to highly targeted audiences.
Social commerce helps in reaching highly targeted audiences through the use of customer data available on social media platforms. This allows you to personalize your advertising and promote your products to specific groups of people. For example, dog costumes can be advertised to dog lovers, and baby tees and dresses can be marketed to moms and dads.
This level of targeting is not possible with traditional e-commerce and marketing methods. That is why the world of social commerce is a valuable tool if you are looking for ways to reach specific audiences to buy your products.
Social Commerce Statistics
Here are some of the statistics that may convince you further to take advantage of social commerce:
According to a 2021 survey from Statista, approximately 68% of U.S. online consumers made at least one direct social media purchase. In 2022, 98% of consumers in the United States said that they plan to use social commerce in purchasing products.
According to Insider Intelligence, in 2021, $37 billion in goods and services were purchased through social-commerce channels.
According to the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report, the average daily time spent by internet users aged 16 to 64 using social media is 2 hours and 27 minutes. That’s more than a third of their time daily.
According to We Are Social, nearly 28% of internet users aged 16 to 64 indicated that they use social commerce to find inspiration for things to do or buy.
It’s expected that by 2025 the United States will have about 108 million social buyers, according to eMarketer.
According to a 2022 Hootsuite report, Facebook is the most popular platform in the US, with one million Facebook users buying from Shops monthly. Some brands also said their sales through Facebook Shop surpassed the sales from their websites by 66%.
According to Statista, in 2022, social commerce is most popular among Gen Zers, with more than 25% of online consumers aged 18 to 34 doing their shopping on Facebook and Instagram.
Which Social Media Platforms Work Best for Social Commerce?
Social media is a vital element of social commerce, as it is where a large percentage of customers research products before purchasing.
The most effective social media platforms depend on the target audience, for instance, Generation Z prefers shopping on Instagram and Snapchat, whereas Generation X prefers shopping on Facebook.
At present, Instagram and Pinterest are considered to be the best platforms for social commerce, however, other platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok are also expanding their social commerce features.
Research indicates that engaging with customers on social media can lead to increased customer loyalty, particularly among millennials. Therefore, it is important for businesses to gather and analyze data on their target audience’s preferences when implementing a social commerce strategy.
There are several social media platforms that currently offer social commerce capabilities, including:
You can use Facebook Business Pages to share news, connect with customers, and showcase products. Facebook Shops also allows you to set up an online store, import products from your website, or create a new catalog. It is customizable, so you can choose which collections or products to feature and adjust the appearance to align with your brand.
When you set up a Facebook Shop, it can be accessed from various places such as your Facebook page, Instagram profile, Instagram shopping ads, and shoppable stories and posts. Customers have the option to complete the checkout process within the app, open a direct messenger chat with the business or be directed to the business website.
Once you start selling products on Facebook, you may receive an increase in customer messages with questions about products, shipping, and sizes. To handle this efficiently, you can use an AI-powered customer service chatbot to assist with answering customer inquiries.
Instagram is another platform that works best for social commerce since 60% of people discover new products on this platform.
Instagram Shops allows users to easily purchase products featured in photos and videos from within the app. It also helps you, as a shop owner, to create a custom storefront page that acts as a curated collection of your products for sale. Each product will have its detailed page with pricing, media, and a detailed description.
You can also use Shopping Tags to tag products in Stories or posts or utilize the dedicated Shop tab to browse, save, and buy products. You can now also use DMs to meet the growing demand of shoppers.
Pinterest was one of the first social media platforms to offer shopping capabilities in 2015 when social commerce was still rising in popularity among marketers.
Pinterest allows you to create “Product Pins” displayed in your brand’s Pinterest Shop. However, only customers in the US can complete the purchase through a checkout experience within the Pinterest app. Customers outside of the US will be redirected to an e-commerce website to complete the purchase when they click on a product. Despite this limitation, Pinterest is still a helpful tool for promoting your products and services. Take note that 89% of Pinterest users use the platform for shopping inspiration.
It’s likely that in the future, more social media platforms will also include social commerce options as the interest and revenue generated from them continues to grow.
Do you want to stay relevant with today’s buyers?
You should set up a digital storefront on TikTok as a retailer or creator!
TikTok offers a new feature, the TikTok Shop, to allow merchants, brands, and creators to display and sell products directly on the app. Users can use in-feed videos, LIVEs, and a dedicated product showcase tab.
In recent updates, TikTok does not offer capabilities from the North American market but is still available in the UK and Asia.
Investing in social commerce will encourage your customers to purchase and repurchase your products in the future.
Need help establishing your presence on social media platforms? Proweaver offers Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management, Graphic Design, and Video Production to boost your visibility and brand awareness.
Which Social Commerce Strategies Should You Consider?
To be successful in social commerce, you should develop a comprehensive and interactive strategy that includes the following elements:
Content and creative assets: You should create engaging and visually appealing content to showcase your products and services.
Media strategy: You should determine the most effective platforms and advertising methods unique to your brand to reach your target audience effectively.
Audience amplification: You should focus on increasing your reach and visibility to attract more customers.
Conversion: You should optimize your social media pages, websites, and shopping experiences to convert leads into sales and gain huge profits.
Measurement Strategy: Establish a measurement strategy from the very beginning to track the effectiveness of your efforts. This will help you determine if you need to make adjustments along the way and make data-driven decisions based on your customer’s behavior.
Top Social Commerce Tactics You Can Use Today
As online sales are projected to increase by as much as 22% (Statista), social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular among consumers as a place to shop. If you want to achieve marketing success, it is vital to have a social commerce strategy in place. You should ensure that your strategies are well-planned. Conduct more research and utilize existing and relevant tools that will allow you to sell products and services on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Here are some of the tactics you can implement using social commerce:
- Optimizing content to ensure that it is educational, inspirational, or entertaining
- Engaging with customers through direct messaging on Facebook Messenger
- Building a customized social shopping experience consistent with the brand on Facebook Shops
- Creating a visual storefront on Instagram using Instagram Shopping
- Collecting and leveraging user-generated content and social proof to build trust with customers
- Investing in social checkout to provide a seamless shopping experience
- Using intelligent bot checkouts to improve customer service and reduce cart abandonment
- Utilizing influencer marketing to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness
- Creating shoppable posts and stories on social media platforms
- Implementing retargeting and remarketing campaigns to reach potential customers who have shown interest in your products.
- Offering exclusive discounts and promotions to incentivize purchases
- Utilizing customer data to personalize shopping experiences and improve targeting
- Continuously testing and analyzing data to track the effectiveness of social commerce efforts
It is important for you to consider these tactics and develop a cohesive strategy to drive social commerce success.
Since all these channels come with ready metrics for impressions, engagement, and reach, you can measure and evaluate business insights efficiently and regularly. In turn, you can create strategies that address what your audience needs.
Social media plays a significant role in our daily lives. It allows us to connect with others and shape our decisions and actions. Today, it has become a primary source of inspiration for purchases, a tool for researching brands and products, and even a platform for making purchases. That is why having the right social commerce strategy will ensure your social media campaign efforts are not in vain.
Incorporate this addition into your overall marketing strategy to guide you on the right track to success. Use social commerce to extend your brand reach and connect with your audience successfully.
Need social commerce expertise? Proweaver is here to help your brand reach new heights! It’s time for you to step up with strategic social commerce! We can help you create the best social commerce strategies that will help you increase sales. Let’s get started.
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