Social Commerce: Where Social Media and E-Commerce Merge
by Ian Novack
Social commerce is changing how consumers make purchasing decisions. It enables brands to offer an Amazonesque experience for all social media followers — going from social post to doorstep in just 2 days. Social commerce allows for social media users to make purchases directly from channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
|Facebook Stats||Pinterest Stats|
|Instagram Stats||Social Commerce|
In order to predict what the future of social commerce holds, we must look at China. It is evident that Chinese consumers use social media platforms to receive promotions and make purchases. Chinese companies decided to bring the mountain to consumers, and allow them to make purchases directly from the social channels they were already viewing. Chinese eCommerce brands understand that social media and eCommerce are deeply interconnected, so social media is built around supporting eCommerce and the customer journey is seamless.
In fact, in China, consumers do not use mobile browsers to research products or companies; rather, they use social media for every step of the sales cycle. In the chart to the right, you can see how behind the Global eCommerce market is and how much room there is to grow.
Social Commerce Strategies
One of the most important aspects of social commerce is your ability to manage customer relationships and engagement. Companies like ManyChat allow brands to increase engagement through Messenger with automation. Meanwhile, bot checkouts can be used to increase conversion and simplify your checkout flow. Jumper.ai allows businesses to use pre-built chatbots to automate the checkout flow through a number of social media channels. In addition to checkout automation through Messenger engagement and chatbots, you can consider utilizing eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. They allow you to manage social media shopping directly from their dashboards — allowing for your social media platforms to integrate seamlessly with your website or application.
Social Commerce Around the Globe: China Leads the Way
|45% discover new brands or products||39% discover new brands or products|
|54% read reviews, comments, and feedback||47% read reviews, comments, and feedback|
|25% purchase products directly via social media||15% purchase products directly via social media|
|27% write reviews, comments, and feedback||20% write reviews, comments, and feedback|
Lower Price Tag, Higher Conversions
It has been proven that consumers using social media are not likely looking to make purchases — they are using these platforms to entertain themselves. When executing social commerce strategies, you should be aware that high ticket items are not ideal products to promote over these channels. Low-cost items, on the other hand, are bought on impulse and perform extremely well on social media channels.
Combining Sales Channels
Social commerce can be used to promote your brand, your vision, and/or sell ancillary products. You can acquire customers for lower ticket items through your social commerce channels, then push them to buy higher ticket items by retargeting to them once they have made that initial purchase. The goal of your social media channels should be to build trust, foster relationships, and promote your brand vision. Once you’ve successfully delivered a product to a customer, they are significantly more likely to develop a deeper relationship with your brand. Story features, giveaways, contests, and live streams are a great way to build and maintain a customer relationship. By responding to comments, producing quality content, sending promotional discounts, and partnering with micro and macro influencers in your industry, you will be adding value to your audience beyond your product.
Video is Paramount
Brands that use video to promote products perform significantly better on social media. Video adds credibility and showcases the products that you have seen in action, giving the audience a better understanding of what it is they’re purchasing. In fact, 84% of consumers felt convinced enough to buy a product after watching a video about it.
Social media channels should be top of mind for retailers of all sizes. Businesses should be leveraging Facebook and Instagram for quality video content that deepens your brand identity. eCommerce shopping is expected to grow at double digit rates for the next 5 years with an expected total of 200 billion orders coming from American consumers annually by 2025. There is a huge growth opportunity, and what better way to acquire customers than to leverage platforms they already use and trust? Items under $100 perform significantly better on social media. If you sell high-ticket items, use social media to promote accessories and do giveaways in order to build trust with your customers, which will eventually drive them to your website.
Our phones have become more powerful and useful than we ever thought. Consumers can operate productively without the need of a computer if they have their mobile device. We take control of our professional and personal lives directly through our smartphones. Mobile shopping is a part of social commerce. Many consumers access their social media platforms primarily through their phone. Pixel Union suspects that “the future of eCommerce is blindingly bright. By 2021, mobile is predicted to dominate online sales, driving 54% (or $659 billion) in sales.”
It’s clear individuals are adopting mobile commerce. The most used apps across the United States demographics are Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Instagram, and Safari. Instead of investing thousands of dollars into your Google AdWords strategy, you can focus on building social media communities where you promote products and incentivize customers to shop.
Hey! Ian Novack here. I’m a parcel logistics geek obsessed with eCommerce. I work on the Marketing team here at EasyPost and when I’m not working, I’m either at a dog park or playing golf with friends and family. I love to promote our partners and help our customers drive revenue through shipping operations. Let me know if you want to talk shipping, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn!