What is Social Commerce?

How do you choose to spend your time when you have a few spare minutes? If you’re like 3.81 billion other people in the world, chances are you choose to scroll social media. With so many people on these digital platforms, it’s no wonder social commerce has grown. 

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is the process of selling products directly through social media platforms. If you’re engaging in social commerce, the entire purchase journey from discovery through purchase is done through your social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. 

What’s The Strategy Behind Social Commerce?

Simply put, it gives you the opportunity to meet customers exactly where they are. While social commerce may be a relatively new concept, the social commerce market is predicted to grow to $604.5 billion by 2027. Social commerce makes online shopping easier by providing purchasing options on social networks where customers already spend their time. 

In action, you could be scrolling through your Instagram and see your friend’s new necklace with a “Shop Now” button. If you click it, you’ll be able to make a purchase without ever leaving Instagram. Alternately, if you want to browse a variety of products, you can click Instagram’s shopping bag tab and scroll through your very own, personalized social commerce suggestions. It’s a seamless process from start to finish

Plus, social commerce is inherently a personalized experience. According to our 2020 B2C Report, consumers are expecting more personalized shopping experiences and social commerce will always be personalized.By tapping into consumers’ social platforms , commerce uses customer data to show potential buyers the products they’re most likely to purchase. 

Social commerce is the happy medium between traditional shopping experiences and ecommerce. It takes the social, conversational aspect of going to a brick-and-mortar store and pairs it with the convenience and personalized offerings of ecommerce. 

What Are the Benefits to Social Commerce?

Social commerce offers many benefits to the shopping experience. First, by bringing the social aspect back in, companies have the ability to gauge consumer interest in engaging ways. No pen and paper needed- companies can now throw a quick poll out on their social channels to decide which pattern they should go with or which shirt cut to use. It creates a more dynamic dialogue between business and consumer. 

Simply being on social media puts your brand  in the conversation. If people are criticizing the quality of your product, listen and respond with empathy. If they’re praising how perfect your product was for a special occasion, thank them and ask a question. When you keep the dialogue going, your brand awareness and image both prosper.

Naturally, social media allows you to connect with people who may never have stepped foot into your store. You now have the chance to not only hear their opinions, but to entice them to buy your product. Engage with them, determine their wants and spotlight their interests on your social media channels to expand your reach.

Social media sites have tons of data. As a business, you can use that data to inform your business decisions. What trends do your target market love? Which ones do they hate? This information paints a more vivid picture of your customers.

One of the golden rules of digital marketing is that word of mouth advertising is the most reliable. Having a brand tell you their product is great does little in terms of persuading a customer. But a glowing recommendation from a customer- posted on Instagram or Facebook – can drive purchases from their followers almost immediately.  

Through social commerce, you can encourage your customers to leave reviews of your products on social media. Their comments just might be what sways a soon-to-be loyal customer. Plus, having those relationships rooted in social media means they’ll likely be one of the first to see a new product launch, and one of the first to buy it. 

Is There A Risk To Using Social Commerce?

Social commerce is new, and for that very reason hasn’t grown dramatically. It’s starting to emerge in the ecommerce world as a rising force, but the future is still uncertain. 

Of course with any new service, there is the potential for it to become “the next big thing” as more consumers alter their shopping habits. And the number of active users on social media is only growing, which means there’s a greater pool of potential customers.

Who Should Use Social Commerce?

Social commerce is an ideal platform for retailers for the exact reasons listed above. You can seamlessly integrate social commerce into your larger digital strategy to reach new customers and nurture the ones they already have. It’s especially beneficial for companies targeting Millennials and Gen Z, 48% of whom have already made a purchase on social media. 

If you sell big ticket items such as cars or high-end laptops, social commerce may not be the route you want to take. (At least not yet.) Since  social commerce is still relatively new only time will tell how it will evolve and how consumers will respond to those changes.

Simply put, the future of social commerce is unknown but digital commerce use will continue to grow in the coming years as our world becomes more connected. 
Are you inspired by the benefits of social commerce? Let’s talk about how we can integrate social commerce into your larger digital strategy.

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