In the last two decades, social media has gained massive popularity in every age group from adolescents to even old ones. It has become a part of our daily lives to check out the latest feed of our kith and kin on Facebook, Instagram, and stay updated on Twitter. As per research, an average person spends 43,800 hours of his life on social media which is equivalent to five years. In fact, this time duration is only going to increase. And it may be wonderful for your business. As an ecommerce owner, it gives you a huge opportunity for expanding your business and increasing sales.
Apart from connecting people, giving insights into the social life of people, social media is also playing a crucial role in the online shopping transformation. In fact, every 9th customer looks at social media for a better buying decision, and three-fourths among these bought an item as they have seen it on social media.
In this article, we are going to know in-depth about all aspects of social commerce and how it is beneficial to the customers.
What is Social Commerce?
Social Commerce is an epithet of ecommerce where buying and selling take place on social media platforms. It can be implemented by the companies in many different ways that we will discuss later, but the main thing is that the purchases can be done wholly or partly on a social media platform. Remember, in social commerce, it is not the social media platform which is selling products or services. These are online ecommerce retailers like you. The customers can make a purchase directly from there. Mostly Social commerce comprises global or local marketplaces which include huge businesses selling millions of products to their social media followers. Activities can include various aspects of ecommerce from learning about a product through direct messages to sellers to making a mobile payment via a social app.
Here are some of the popular examples of Social Commerce:
- Google Shopping Ads which you must have encountered on Youtube
- On Pinterest, there are Product Pins with prices
- There are also buyable pins for buying products on Pinterest
- Chat boxes to enquire about products or services
- Forums and Groups for selling items
- Facebook Marketplace to sell and purchase products locally
- Products links and Coupon Codes on Instagram
Also read: How to build a mobile app for ecommerce
What is a Social Commerce Platform?
A social commerce platform is simply a social media platform where an ecommerce store owner can sell his products. Every social commerce platform is a social media platform but vice versa is not true. In the bigger picture, there are three main social media platforms on which products are mostly sold. These are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Twitter has eliminated the features which used to allow shopper shop products directly through the site or app but will probably introduce a new feature in the future.
Social eCommerce Stats and Market
Social ecommerce is a lot more than just a string of popular buzzwords. It plays a vital role in the ecommerce market and popularizing products. You would be surprised to know that 80% of Internet users make online purchases while there were more than 3.5 billion social media users globally in 2019.
87% of online buyers agree that social media helps them in making a better purchase decision. 25% of business owners are selling items through Facebook alone, and 40% of the merchants leverage social media for generating sales. 30% of consumers say they would make purchases directly through social media platforms. The customers who want to enquire about a product you are selling expect a response in just four hours, while 42% of the followers expect a response within an hour, while 32% expect to get a reply within half an hour. 74% of shoppers rely on social media to guide their purchases. 60% of SMBs say they’ve gained new customers through social media efforts. 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media.
Types of Social Ecommerce
There are five main types of Social Commerce:
1. Community Driven
Social web applications that are for sharing, and not for necessary purchases such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest are the perfect epitome of community-driven marketplaces. An online store which also offers to chat and sharing feature, and is outside of social media also comes under the category of community-driven social commerce.
2. Platform Driven
At a platform driven site, individuals sell the products, and it brings people together to make a purchase. As an individual, you can start your own online store and generate sales. Some of the best examples of Platform driven sites are Etsy, eBay, etc.
3. Group Driven
Group driven is quite different from the community-driven. In this approach, generally, the group members don’t know each other, but they join in together to purchase items for a lower cost. The best example would be of Groupon.
4. Peer Driven
In peer-driven commerce, users share what they have purchased in their networks. When people see what their friends or family are buying, they are more likely to buy them.
The user-driven social commerce allows for recommendations, voting, feedback, and also creating products list the user likes. Amazon.com has some user-generated content in the form of lists called Listmania Lists. Everyone can create one, and it will help drive sales.
In the future, we may see many other types of social commerce. It is still getting its roots in the ecommerce industry.
Also read: How to build an eCommerce website
Major Social Media Platforms To Sell Products
There are many social media platforms that are trying to infuse the ecommerce features among them. The result is they have included a slew of marketing features like “buy buttons”, product pages, etc. Many features are identical among these platforms. It would be really interesting to know about these platforms in more detail. Here we are discussing the major social commerce platforms i.e. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Facebook Store is one of the best ways of introducing social commerce and generating sales. You can showcase your products directly on Facebook, and can redirect users to your online store for conversion. Earlier, the customers only had the option to click on the post link, now your potential customers are already one step closer to clicking “buy now”. The customers can either type their credit card numbers directly on Facebook or can also store the payment information to check out quickly. Facebook is preferred by brands due to its scale and targeting data. As the shoppers do not easily leave this site, it is highly reliable for ecommerce owners.
Instagram introduced a shopping feature on its platform in 2016. Instagram has gained massive popularity for ecommerce within a very short time period. As per a study, the number of ecommerce owners who use Instagram for business has increased from 53.2% to 73.2 % in the last three years. Companies are preferring Instagram because most of the users discover new products on Instagram, and among them, 75% take action after seeing the post. Also, 80% of the Instagram users follow at least one brand on it. However, on Instagram, you can’t make a checkout through the app. Instead, photo and video posts link out to a website, adding an extra step and making the experience a little less slick than Facebook’s version.
Youtube, the biggest streaming video platform across the world is also beneficial for selling products online. There are more than 5 billion videos watched on YouTube daily with over 6 billion hours of watch time per month. It is the perfect platform for promoting your brand and generating business.
YouTube rolled out a souped-up version of its TrueView product that places a shopping button directly across the screen from an option to skip a pre-roll ad. Clicking through on the shopping button leads to a website featuring the products in the ad, and people can then put products into a shopping cart. However, when someone clicks on the shopping button retailers can’t identify what the user does, which makes it difficult for the brands to definitely know whether a video promo actually drove a purchase.
The San Francisco-based platform’s “buyable pin” buttons let users purchase anything they see on the site. The feature has helped many brands for understanding how their content generates online sales outside of Pinterest. It is aimed at supporting the business owners who use inspiration to attract sales. On Pinterest, the ecommerce owners can feature multiple products on a single ad so the Pinner can find valuable products in the Pin’s image content, and then click to checkout on the retailers’ site. You can tag up to 25 items in a single image. There are also catalogs and shopping ads by which you can upload a full catalog to Pinterest and then automatically turn your products into shoppable product pins.
Pinterest understands the users’ choices and that’s why the move piques marketers’ interest. In comparison to the other social media platforms, Pinterest users are unusually accustomed to interacting with product-driven images. So, the site inherently slants toward the end of the purchase funnel when someone is ready to buy on the spot.
Why Social ecommerce Matters?
There are many reasons why social ecommerce is highly important for your online store. Here are the major reasons:
A new or laymen customer who used to do traditional shopping may find it hard to make purchase decisions from your ecommerce store and have trust issues. However, with social commerce, they can find what others are doing and can find reliability or social proof.
Authority doesn’t only relate to ecommerce in social media, but it shows you how contraction or expansion social networks around trends or events are taking shape. They invest time and money for earning a trust position which can help the community by providing proper recommendations.
When given exclusive deals, the consumers are driven by fear of loss. Social commerce gives the ability to the customers to stay updated with exclusive deals and can also give early access to offers and promotions.
There is an adage “People prefer to do business with people they like”. And nothing is truer today than social media.
When there is uncertainty, the customers are not willing to take any risk. Rather they prefer to go with the traditional methods of shopping. However with social commerce, when they find the product description or details are consistent on all platforms, they can have trust in you.
How Social Commerce Drive Sales?
There are many ways social commerce can drive sales of your business. Some of the major ways how it drives sales are:
Eliminates Online Shopping Obstacles
The users who find hassle in opening ecommerce stores and entering all the details can easily purchase items from the social media platform. As there are reviews or feedback mentioned in the product details, the research phase is also shortened.
Online Retailers can explore new markets
Using social commerce, you get speed and ease by which you can directly test new markets. For e.g., Facebook, the social media giant gives you unparalleled targeting and testing features.
Generates buzz and conversation around new products
For users, even shopping is also social interaction. You can showcase the products directly to the customers. This will create lots of buzz, excitement, and a sense of FOMO i.e. fear of missing out.
Online retailers can meet customer needs with streamlined stores
With the social media platforms, you will get in-depth analysis reports plus tracking tools by which you can tailor your offering to your patrons. The social media storefronts are somewhat limited with their counterpart ecommerce stores. It implies that you need to be selective about what you sell on the social platform. But this can have a positive effect. Armed with data about their social audience, retailers can provide only the most-desired items.
Provide personalized experience like retargeting
There are many personalization features on social media platforms too such as retargeting on Facebook by which you can improve the ads and posts efficiency.
What are the Benefits of Social Shopping to Customers?
Social commerce doesn’t help the brands to make better sales but also helps customers in many different ways. Using social commerce, the brands can provide them with an incredibly powerful communication tool. Here are five ways social commerce can improve your shopping experience:
As a customer, if you have any questions or comments regarding a brand, you can utilize social media for this. The customer support team will respond to you in a timely manner. Timely responsiveness to customers is a crucial thing in the customer experience. The brand wants to show that they care for their customer and hence quickly answers to questions or reply to a comment.
The brands use different social commerce programs to provide offers and incentives through every social media platform they use. Customers can share their favorite products with their kith or kin in exchange for a discount.
Include your network
If the customers are excited about a brand or their recent shopping, they can share their excitement with their friends or family. The brands want to engage their customers and make them loyal, to create buzz around the brand and attract new customers.
The customers can follow their fellow shoppers more than a brand, so they can create a community where they can communicate and engage with each other providing them a creative customer experience. When other shoppers see these images it gives them trust in the brand.
There are many reasons why successful brands are leveraging social media for increasing sales and building a brand reputation. You must have understood with this article, why social commerce matters in today’s time. At Emizentech, the best ecommerce development company in India, we are having expertise in building ecommerce stores as per your requirements.