Social Commerce 101: What is it & How to Boost Sales (2023)
Social commerce is revolutionizing the shopping experience.
Ever found yourself on social media, a pair of shoes catches your eye, and bam! You’ve purchased them without even leaving the app?
It’s a whole new world of buying and selling, reshaping how businesses connect with customers.
But what is it about social commerce that’s causing such a stir? How can it send your sales sky-high?
Sit tight as we dive deep into the world of social commerce and equip you with the strategies to master this digital frontier.
Let’s jump in!
Understanding Social Commerce By Breaking Down the Basics
Social commerce is the meeting point of social media and ecommerce — a sweet spot where brands sell their products directly through social platforms.
Now, how does it work?
Imagine scrolling through Instagram, and you come across an eye-catching post from your favorite clothing brand.
Instead of being redirected to an external site, you can tap on the product tag, view the item details, and hit ‘buy’ — all within the app!
It’s like turning your favorite hangout spot into a convenient shopping mall.
But why does this matter?
Well, over four billion people use social media. That’s an enormous audience to tap into!
And social commerce offers tangible benefits, from amplifying brand awareness to giving you direct access to your target audience, right where they spend their time.
So, we’ve unpacked the concept of social commerce, but where exactly does this shopping revolution happen?
The Most Popular Social Commerce Platforms to Consider
Social commerce thrives on several platforms and apps. Here are some of the most popular…
Through Facebook Shops, businesses can effortlessly set up their digital storefront, showcasing products with photos, descriptions, and prices.
Users can peruse, save, and share these items, and when the urge to buy strikes, they can make the purchase right then and there.
Think of it as turning your social feed into a vibrant virtual mall.
Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, has stylishly integrated shopping into its platform.
Brands can transform their Instagram posts, stories, and reels into interactive product catalogs by tagging products.
A simple tap reveals product details and a direct path to purchase. It’s a visually engaging shopping experience that’s as easy as scrolling through your feed.
TikTok has successfully fused short, fun videos with social shopping.
Features like shopping tabs and shoppable live streams allow brands to seamlessly blend engaging content with commerce.
For businesses, it’s a unique opportunity to ride the wave of trends and reach a young, tech-savvy audience.
On Pinterest, images are not just inspiring, they’re shoppable.
Brands can create shoppable Pins, which contain direct links to the product page on their website.
It transforms the platform into an interactive product catalog where users can move from inspiration to purchase in a few clicks.
Now, let’s talk about how you can develop your winning social commerce strategy.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Winning Social Commerce Strategy
Now that we’ve taken a tour through the bustling marketplace of social commerce platforms, let’s walk through a step-by-step guide to crafting a winning social commerce strategy that’ll have customers flocking to your brand.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
First things first, who are you selling to?
Understanding your audience is a cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy, and social commerce is no different.
Start by diving into your customer data. What are their likes, dislikes, demographics, online habits, and purchase patterns?
Remember, the more you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your content and products to their needs.
Step 2: Choose the Right Platforms
Let’s face it, not all platforms will be a good fit for your brand.
So use the information gleaned in Step 1 to guide you.
Is your audience visually oriented and love DIY projects? Pinterest might be your best bet.
Is your target market Gen Z who enjoys fun, quick content? TikTok could be your ticket.
Ultimately, your goal is to be where your audience is.
Step 3: Create Engaging Content
Now it’s time to create share-worthy content that not only showcases your products but also tells your brand story.
Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes video, a tutorial, user-generated content, or an entertaining product demo, your content should engage, entertain, and educate.
Remember, it’s not just about selling; it’s about creating a memorable brand experience.
Step 4: Make Shopping Easy
The beauty of social commerce is the seamless integration of shopping into the social experience.
So, make sure that your product tags are accurate, and the purchase process is simple.
Minimize the number of clicks needed to complete a purchase. The easier it is to buy, the more likely they will!
Step 5: Monitor & Adjust Your Strategy
Finally, always keep an eye on your performance.
Track metrics like engagement, click-through rates, and conversions to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Be ready to tweak your strategy based on your observations.
Remember, the social media landscape is dynamic, so being flexible is key to riding the waves of change.
The world of social commerce is evolving rapidly, with new trends emerging all the time. So, don’t get complacent!
Keep an eye on your strategy and social trends to stay ahead of the curve.
Emerging Social Commerce Trends in 2023 (& Beyond)
Social commerce is an ever-evolving space. Here are a few trends to watch out for in the coming years..
Augmented Reality Experiences
Augmented Reality (AR) offers a virtual “try before you buy” experience, like IKEA’s app allowing customers to see how a piece of furniture fits and looks in their space. And why stop at furniture?
From trying on makeup to previewing home decor, AR is changing the game, and it will only become more popular with time!
Videos inject vibrancy and dynamism into products. They are storytelling at its finest, and consumers can’t get enough.
Take fashion brands, for example.
They no longer solely rely on picture-perfect stills of their apparel. Instead, they bring clothing lines to life by showcasing them on models in motion, in videos.
Videos also provide brands with the chance to be creative and distinctive. It could be a behind-the-scenes clip, a product launch teaser, or even an engaging tutorial.
This is content that resonates, content that stands out in a crowded feed.
Video is the perfect venue for product showcasing to meet storytelling, and the outcome? Increased engagement, broader reach, and ultimately, enhanced sales.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Customers trust other customers. That’s why UGC, with real people sharing authentic product experiences, is pure gold.
It’s like turbocharging word-of-mouth marketing.
For instance, cosmetic brands often share customers’ makeup transformation videos, which not only highlight the product’s efficacy but also create a sense of community.
By definition, micro-influencers have fewer followers, usually in the thousands or tens of thousands, but don’t let the numbers fool you.
They often pack a punch with their dedicated fan base that hangs on their every recommendation.
Imagine them as that in-the-know friend who’s always one step ahead of the latest trends.
Now, the beauty of partnering with micro-influencers lies in the intimacy they share with their followers.
Their engagement rates often outshine those with larger followings, thanks to their close-knit community vibe.
This authentic connection is a goldmine for brands aiming to penetrate niche markets and build credibility.
So, when thinking about your influencer marketing strategy, remember: bigger isn’t always better.
AI chatbots are your new round-the-clock customer service reps.
These digital assistants are revolutionizing the customer journey by providing immediate, tailored responses, making “business hours” a thing of the past.
Chatbots can answer customer queries, offer product suggestions, handle complaints, and even process orders — all without any human intervention.
For businesses, they mean less waiting time for customers, fewer customer service demands, and a streamlined buying process. AI chatbots are more than just a trend; they’re the future of customer service in social commerce.
Frictionless Shopping Experiences
In the world of social commerce, ease is everything.
Already, brands are going above and beyond to streamline the shopping journey from product discovery to the final checkout.
One-click buying, intuitive navigation, simplified payment options — these aren’t just perks, they’re essentials.
After all, no one enjoys a clunky online experience with numerous steps or complicated processes.
Every click that takes your customer away from their goal is friction, and friction is bad for business.
So, consider the customer journey on your social commerce platform. Is finding products straightforward? Is adding items to the cart a breeze? Is the checkout process smooth and secure?
If you tick these boxes, you’re on your way to providing a seamless shopping experience that keeps customers coming back for more.
Livestreaming, Digital Avatars, & NFTs
In the near future, social commerce could intersect with virtual reality and blockchain technologies.
Livestreaming, digital avatars, and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are the electrifying new frontiers pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in this sphere.
Livestreaming combines the excitement of live video with the allure of real-time interaction.
Brands host live product demonstrations, launch new collections, or even hold virtual concerts. Shoppers can interact, ask questions, and click to purchase instantly. It’s not just shopping; it’s an event!
Next up, digital avatars. In the world of social commerce, avatars allow customers to create a virtual self, offering a new way to engage with products.
Want to see how that designer dress looks on you? Don your digital avatar and try it on in the virtual world before making the purchase in the real one.
And then we have NFTs, the unique digital collectibles that have stormed the blockchain world.
Brands can create exclusive digital assets, like unique designs or limited-edition collectibles, and sell them as NFTs.
Imagine owning a one-of-a-kind digital design from your favorite brand — that’s the power of NFTs in social commerce.
These emerging trends are reshaping the way we shop and engage with brands online, offering immersive experiences that extend beyond the simple act of purchasing.
Stronger Integrations between E-commerce and Social Platforms
For our final trend, let’s talk about the blurring of the line between socializing and shopping.
Social platforms are becoming more shopping-friendly, and ecommerce sites are integrating social elements. It’s a seamless mix, making the transition from casually checking your feed to hitting the ‘buy now’ button as smooth as silk.
For instance, think about Facebook’s Marketplace and Instagram’s Shop. These features integrate shopping experiences directly into the social platforms, turning your social media scroll into a shopping spree without needing to hop over to a separate website.
Likewise, ecommerce giants like Amazon and eBay now encourage sellers to build social communities within their platforms.
This blurring of lines offers a more fluid, user-friendly experience.
The rise of this trend heralds a shift towards a more unified digital experience, promising exciting opportunities for both brands and consumers.
Just remember that although these trends offer exciting opportunities, it’s crucial to pick what aligns with your brand and your customers’ preferences.
After all, staying relevant in social commerce isn’t just about jumping on every trend. It’s about choosing the ones that resonate with your audience.
Ready, Set, Sell: Your Next Steps in Social Commerce
Implementing social commerce might feel a bit strange and unwieldy.
But remember why you embarked on this journey.
It’s about capitalizing on the enormous potential social commerce holds and breaking down the barriers between your brand and your audience, right where they love to hang out.
With every trend you’ve unpacked, every strategy we’ve broken down, you’re paving your way to skyrocketing sales.
So take a deep breath, and embrace the adventure.
Now, go forth, embrace the world of social commerce, and watch your sales soar!