Social commerce is not a new eCommerce buzzword − social e-commerce has been around for some years already. The interest in social commerce began in 2015; and with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has only accelerated. When the pandemic hit, social commerce created roughly $474.8 billion in revenue, signifying a 40 % surge in sales. Moreover, these figures from last year encouraged many other businesses to include social commerce as part of their omnichannel commerce strategy.
But what exactly is social commerce? In simple terms, social commerce resides at the juncture of social media and eCommerce. Moreover, social commerce uses the brand’s social media channels for its sales. This is to create a seamless in-app path for the customer to make a purchase. Platforms engaged can be Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok, these top-performing social media platforms being used as lucrative sales channels for various brands entering the social commerce space.
Prevailing the commercialism of social media applications range from extensive marketplaces, to small businesses on the platform, to in-app Where-to-Buy campaigns, moving clients straight towards the brand’s direct or indirect channels. Still, it is more significant is that this path is becoming the norm for eCommerce businesses to include in their strategies.
If you look past the holiday season, towards 2022 in particular, you will need to think about a social commerce strategy. Companies now link the brand with customers in a much more personalized and seamless way.
Also, keep in mind that social commerce is not in competition with eCommerce − instead, it’s an extension of eCommerce.
As such, social e-commerce can’t survive in a vacuum. It needs to interlock with other sales channels – from in-store to online storefronts.
Social media, particularly popular amongst the 16- to 24-year-olds, is increasingly significant. Social media helps to grow brand awareness, although not always the space where people will buy. Yet, in most cases, the decision to purchase was made on these social media channels, the customer associating the brand with trusted businesses.
It should also be mentioned that the buying process (including the checkout) should be as simple as possible. Call-to-action buttons such as buy now are helpful in driving the client directly to the purchase page. Social media platforms that lack these will soon add them because the demand from businesses is increasing.
In terms of stats, 97% of Gen-Z patrons affirm that social media is their primary source of shopping stimulus; despite that 62% of those 13- to 39-year-old customers are absorbed in buying items straight from their social media feeds. Nearly two-thirds of customers surveyed by Google have indicated that mobile-friendly ways of shopping are vital in determining which retailer or brand to purchase from.
For this reason, brands making the error of producing online storefronts that work best on desktops fail patrons before they even get to checkout. Social commerce, instead, provides a continuous path of buying from browsing to checkout. This is irrespective of whether customers are searching for fashion on Instagram or possible Christmas gifts on Facebook pages of local shops.
Companies of various sizes should seriously investigate their approach of commercialism of social media channels, such being a rewarding revenue source. More so, social media to be used for eCommerce is not reserved only for big players.
One of social media’s most essential qualities is its knack of linking brands with their target market. Research shows that 72 % of millennials have indicated that if a business engages with them on social platforms, they are more inclined to turn into devoted clients.
Every holiday season, there is a determination for clients to support their local and small businesses. This trend was more pronounced on social media businesses when the COVID-19 outbreak began, and small businesses faced subsequent challenges.
Moreover, social media is particularly cherished: the more you engage with your patrons online, the greater the chance that these clients will use the shoppable channels provided. Some 62% of customers have indicated that they have more confidence in local and small businesses than in larger retailers. Gen-Z’s trust in large businesses are low − by contrast their use of social media platforms is high, with social commerce providers an excellent space for increasing customer engagement with the demographic. Likewise, social commerce permits big businesses to support and promote their local retail partners to channel additional businesses through their indirect channels.
In various ways, social media channels have democratized the turf between big and small companies. This social commerce superpower is the reason for even more brands deliberately participating in 2022.
By 2026, the global social commerce market participation will be worth $2.9 trillion. Younger customers are influencing social media, in addition to shopping trends, with hashtags such as #tiktokmademebuyit widespread online. Similarly, social media influencers will be chief players in the future of social commerce, with 35% of surveyed persons uttering that they trust what their much-loved influencers have to say or what they endorse. As a result of such motivation, Gen-Z is expected to make their acquisitions on social media.
Although Gen X and Baby Boomers are keen digital shoppers, predominantly on Facebook, trailed by Instagram, social media platforms lead social commerce. While acquisitions and trends may differ between age groups, the shared thread is that social media is a common space for following and winning over clients to their brand, irrespective of their age.
Making social commerce work and thrive will be an essential function of eCommerce. Businesses should look to their current channels (direct and indirect) and work out how to supplement one another – not as competition. More investment in social media at this moment will increase consumer engagement and generate productive chances for social commerce to bloom − something that will be eye-catching to clients, whether new or old.
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