The growth of Social Commerce
If you are an e-commerce business looking at ways to increase sales and profits, you should absolutely be including social commerce in your marketing strategy.
In a recent report from Accenture, the consulting firm predicts that Social Commerce will grow three times as fast as traditional e-commerce, more than doubling from $492 billion worldwide in 2021 to $1.2 trillion in 2025.
In this guide, we will explore what social commerce is (and isn’t), what benefits it can generate, and how you can leverage the right social media platform for maximum social commerce effectiveness.
Social Commerce vs Social Selling: What’s the difference?
Social Commerce encourages buying and selling products or services directly through social media channels like Instagram and TikTok.
Where Social Selling has been an important mechanism to grow reach, build brand affinity, and encourage engagement between brand and consumer, Social Commerce takes this a step further by focusing primarily on sales.
At first glance, Social Selling and Social Commerce may look like the same thing, but the key difference is Social Selling is designed to influence a purchasing decision on and off-line (i.e. in a physical store) whereas Social Commerce is all about conversions directly through social media platforms.
As one of the most valuable sales channels in a marketer’s armoury, 80% of brands plan to sell their products or services through social media channels in the coming years.
What are the main benefits of Social Commerce?
It was tricky to pick only three advantages that social commerce can yield, but we managed to whittle down our choices – check them out below.
1. You can convert customers where they are
There are roughly 4.6 billion active social media users in the world right now. This jaw-dropping figure alone should be enough to help you understand how selling your products or services on social media can grow your brand’s visibility and awareness exponentially. Social Commerce positions the point of purchase exactly where your customers are.
2. It helps you build authentic relationships
Like Social Selling, Social Commerce can help you tap into people’s emotions where they spend most of their time. This, in turn, helps you create connections based on an authentic willingness to help your followers lead a happier, more satisfying life – thanks to the products or services you sell on social media.
3. It allows you to compete better
Consider this: the majority of your most successful competitors are already very active on social media and are using social commerce to boost their overall sales. If you keep waiting to join this trend, you risk losing ground to them and, ultimately, missing out on valuable opportunities that can get your brand the visibility, popularity, and profits it deserves.
Social Commerce: Selecting your ideal platforms
Choosing one – or more – social media platforms for your social commerce is much easier than you think.
You just need to consider these three main aspects:
- WHAT: The type of product or service that you aim to sell
- WHO: The type of customer that you aim to sell to
- HOW: The best way to articulate the benefits of your product or service
Based on these, here is a list of the major social media networks and their respective social selling features:
With 80% of Instagram users following a business account, and more than 200 million users visiting more than one business profile daily, Instagram is one of the most powerful channels for Social Commerce. As an integrated part of the Facebook ecosystem, you can build out products, apply product tags to make content more “shoppable”, and target micro-demographics through advertising. When a user clicks on a product, the purchase can either take place directly through Instagram or on your eCommerce website.
Facebook Shops, launched back in 2020, now has over 250 million shops selling on its platform. It allows businesses to feature product catalogues on both Facebook and Instagram and users to purchase in-app. With over 1 million users regularly purchasing through Facebook Shops every month, Facebook is actively developing its Social Commerce offering to make purchasing through Facebook and Instagram a seamless experience for users.
Just like Facebook, TikTok has launched its own Social Commerce feature called…TikTok Shopping. Predicted to hit 755 million users by the end of 2022, TikTok is now the third largest social network, and a powerhouse for influencing consumer spending through Social Commerce. The TikTok shopping feature allows creators to add a shop “tab” to their profiles which shows all the products synced with their online store. TikTok shopping can integrate Shopify and BigCommerce. It’s safe to say that TikTok is one to watch!
Riding the wave of Social Commerce
Traditional ways of selling products or services are no longer enough in our digital world. For a brand to succeed, it’s essential to incorporate Social Commerce into its sales strategy.
Customers are looking for seamless online purchasing experiences, through brands that they know and love. Social Commerce puts the products they want right at their fingertips, building on brand loyalty built over time through conventional social marketing.
By promoting and selling products or services directly through social media, brands can increase their visibility, provide a more convenient shopping experience, and skyrocket their revenues.