What is Social Shopping?

Social media is the thing we love to hate. For many, it’s the first app we open in the morning and the last we close at night. From the latest news to photos of your friend’s new puppy, social media provides a steady flow of content to keep us entertained. But social media has evolved to influence us far beyond our social lives. Social media, or social shopping, is now an integral part of how we browse and purchase online.

So, what is social shopping? As the name suggests, social shopping is a blend between social media and eCommerce. It allows shoppers to engage with your brand and shop directly from social media channels. 

The average person spends roughly 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media. And contrary to popular opinion, people don’t just use social media for fun. 

Social Shopping Vs Traditional Ecommerce

While some people may use social shopping and eCommerce interchangeably, the two are pretty different. Traditional eCommerce focuses on a transactional relationship between brands and customers. 

It provides an app or website through which buyers can buy products. And it unwittingly cuts out the real-life shopping experience.

Let’s be honest. This would have cut it some years back, but in 2022 shoppers are increasingly picky. They want it all; the convenience of online shopping and in-store experiences. 

That’s where social shopping comes into play. Think of it as an improvement of traditional eCommerce. Here are some social shopping characteristics you may not find in conventional eCommerce:

  • It’s emotional 
  • It’s dynamic 
  • It focuses on brand-customer engagement 
  • It matches real-life in-store buying experiences

Who are the Key Players in Social Shopping?

Social shopping is a step up from traditional eCommerce as it focuses on building bonds. There are two key players: brands and shoppers. 

Brands 

If we’re being honest, we’ve all bought or been tempted to buy luxury fashion items on social media. Why? Luxury brands have mastered the art of social shopping. 

They mimic real-life shopping experiences online. Most offer an eCommerce live chat option to deal with customers’ immediate concerns. 

Your business will determine the best strategy for you. For example, an eCommerce live chat option will be effective if you’re in the hotel industry. But, a virtual showroom will provide better results if you sell home appliances. 

You’re responsible for creating content that resonates with clients. The best kind encourages buyers to purchase products immediately when they come across them. 

Shoppers 

Social shoppers rely heavily on social media for their shopping needs. They use social network sites to look for recommendations and buy products. 

A whopping 71% of buyers rely on social media when making their buying decisions.

You can’t afford to miss out on this gold mine as a brand.

Here are ways to engage with potential shoppers:

Why do Shoppers Prefer Social Shopping to Other Alternatives?

Social shopping is the future of eCommerce. Here are some of the reasons why. 

It Allows Brands and Customers to Build Connections 

Today, the focus is on more than just high-quality products. So, you need to do more than create an ideal product. Shoppers also want the perfect experience. 

That’s difficult to provide in a traditional eCommerce setting. But, it’s easy to provide through social shopping. After all, it combines the convenience of eCommerce with the personal feel of physical storefronts. 

You can incorporate an online shopping assistant into your eCommerce strategy. Doing so helps create a more personal relationship with your customers.

It Offers Convenience 

Today’s shoppers look for convenience more than they do anything else. And social shopping has convenience written all over it. 

It allows customers instant access to everything they need to make decisions. From product information to how-to demonstrations, you name it!

You need to assess everything your clients love about in-store shopping to succeed. Do they enjoy live demonstrations or chats with assistants? If so, give them these experiences on social media, and watch your business grow. 

Easy Access to User Generated Content 

This is something customers can’t get in brick-and-mortar stores. Sure, shoppers can watch other buyers try products in a physical storefront. But, what are the chances that two shoppers will want the same products simultaneously?

Let’s face it. The chances are near zero. Using social media to promote user-generated content can redefine your business. 

User-generated content promotes authenticity, which is crucial for modern shoppers. They want to see other shoppers buy and use products. And, social shopping allows them to do so. 

Shoppers Enjoy Expert-Generated Content 

We can’t refute the fact that influencers are game-changers in eCommerce. But, if we’re being honest, shoppers are becoming cautious when dealing with them. 

The modern shopper values experts’ opinions and guidance. It’s easy to get this in brick-and-mortar stores, but not so much in conventional eCommerce. 

But, social shopping gives shoppers access to this content without physically visiting a store. Experts guide buyers through live product demonstrations or virtual showroom sessions. 

Social Shopping Gives Buyers Control Over Experiences 

Social network sites allow us to connect and share experiences with our loved ones. Social shopping combines this fun part of social media with shopping. 

And it gives shoppers control as they get to tell their experiences with products. That’s one of the reasons for its growing prominence. 

Like it or not, shoppers will talk about you on social media. Why not join in the conversation and steer it in a positive direction?

Offer support whenever needed through virtual chats or any other effective strategy. But don’t take attention away from your shoppers. They want to feel heard, not overshadowed. 

Ready for the Future of eCommerce?

Social shopping is and will continue reshaping the eCommerce sector. It provides the benefits of online and in-store shopping by leveraging social media. 

Talk to us about your eCommerce strategy and how we can help leverage people and technology to reach and engage with your target market.

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