Social Commerce: Definition, Benefits, Disadvantages and 10 Best Strategies For Leveraging Social Shopping in 2023
Brands are working hard to stay up with the quick change of channels and strategies as social shopping advances. With so many social media platforms contending for both customers and advertisers, they are all investing heavily in commerce solutions.
Every social media site, from Instagram Checkout to TikTok Commerce, aims to draw consumers and encourage them to start making in-app purchases. As a result, everyone is striving for the largest possible share of the huge $5.1 billion social eCommerce sales predicted by Insider Intelligence in the United States alone by 2023. Nothing, however, points to a halting of this progress.
According to Grand View Research, the global market for social eCommerce will reach $3,369.8 billion by 2028. The same analysis indicates that between 2021 and 2028, growth would occur at a CAGR of 28.4%.
What consequences does this social shopping rise have for businesses targeting consumers? It first calls for the creation of a solid social eCommerce strategy. Your eCommerce strategy must work in harmony with the rest of your digital brand experience to provide your customers with the best possible buyer journey. Social commerce cannot live independently; it needs support and integration into a seamless digital experience.
What strategic steps can you take to grab this business opportunity? In this article, we discuss social commerce in great length, describing what it is, how it works, best practices for leveraging social shopping, and most importantly, how it may help your business to generate revenues.
- What is Social Commerce?
- How Do You Benefit from Social Commerce?
- Disadvantages Of Social Commerce
- Top 10 Strategies to Leverage Social Shopping in 2023
- Know Your Audience
- Invest In the Appropriate Channels
- Generate User-Friendly Content
- Maintain Consistency in Your Content
- Create Shorter and Seamless Paths to Purchase
- Utilize Social Checkout Features
- Showcase Shoppable Content and On-Site Social Proof
- Create Meaningful Experiences Throughout the Buying Process
- Mobile-First Strategy
- Learn and Improvise
- How WareIQ Streamlines Social Commerce Fulfilment?
- Social Commerce Frequently Asked Questions
What is Social Commerce?
When social networking platforms are leveraged to create a more specialised and targeted in-app shopping experience for online buyers, this is known as social commerce. To put it simply, it integrates eCommerce capabilities into social networking networks.
Utilization of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to advertise and market goods and services. Customers can purchase using this selling model without leaving the social media apps.
With the aid of social commerce, customers can browse companies, learn about products, and make purchases all within the same app. It may be because social interaction provides a more convenient and engaging buying experience that it is gaining popularity.
Before the emergence of social commerce, consumers who wanted to make an online purchase from a business had to visit its primary website, create an account, find the item they wanted to purchase, and then finish the checkout procedure.
The consumer may become disinterested in the product they wish to buy due to this cumbersome, time-consuming process that places unnecessarily high barriers in their path.
Customers can skip right to the checkout screen within the platform while using social media apps and websites. Social shopping is quickly rising to the top of today’s list of the hottest new ideas in online eCommerce marketing due to its convenience and simplicity of usage.
What Distinguishes Social Commerce from eCommerce?
eCommerce is not the same as social commerce. eCommerce is the act of making purchases through a website or branded app. Typically, Shopify or other e-commerce platforms are used to build these websites. Any internet-capable device, such as a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, can be used by customers to access these websites.
Shopping within social networking platforms, where everything from product research to checkout takes place, is referred to as social commerce, a subset of eCommerce.
Brands can now sell through their social media networks thanks to social commerce. To set up the native selling features available on social networking networks, one does not necessarily need to create and optimize an eCommerce website. However, online merchants with a website and an online store can also profit from driving traffic to it.
Social selling and social commerce are occasionally confused. However, social selling is establishing connections to close a deal later. Social media platforms are the most common venue for social selling, whether offline or online.
|Place of purchase||During a social commerce transaction, communication takes place on social networks as well as online. In this sense, social purchase is considered as a development of online shopping.||All transactions are handled via the website or from physical stores when it comes to eCommerce development.|
|Relationship with customers||In order to strengthen their attachment for a certain brand, a customer who uses social commerce compares, queries, and communicates with us before making a purchase. Before the consumer completes the transaction or carries out the choice to buy, there are still a few procedures to be taken.||Relationships in traditional eCommerce are mostly one-way. When a customer enters a store, they make a purchase, wait for their item to be delivered to their home, and engage in the least amount of pre- and post-purchase communication.|
|Brand Promotion||Customers may be identified and turned into hubs of the community through social commerce. Additionally, the data that these people provide through social media may help shops understand the surroundings, interests, and other characteristics of their customers for optimizing promotional advertisements.||You can discover as a business owner that your customers know more about you than you do. If this is the case, specifics of your brand or product may be a possibility. It was not practical to use eCommerce to identify these customers. If you want to optimise your promotional adverts, you can think about employing an eCommerce development agency.|
|Product Reviews||Social commerce makes it possible to measure this as well as learn what customers are saying about the products and why they believe they are superior to or inferior to competing ones on the market.||User visits and the products that customers expressed a greater level of interest in during the transaction were the main reasons for modifying the products that were displayed in eCommerce stores.|
How Does Social Commerce Works?
Since the pandemic has accelerated online buying, social media sites are creating and testing their commerce services.
Companies can create a store on social media platforms and sell on Facebook and sell on Instagram. This may be the simplest method of reaching a new audience who already utilises these channels.
Buyers gravitate toward their hobbies and what excites them, so you want to have an organic presence on social media sites so that potential customers may find your products naturally. Paid advertisements attract new clients to your brand and items, who purchase them on these platforms or your website. You can use demographics and interests to target a particular group of people through paid ads.
Using social media sites, retailers can build up their online stores. Choose whether you want customers to finish their purchases on your website through a direct message or using the social media platform’s checkout feature.
Let’s use an example of a customer reading through his Instagram on the “Recommended For You” page to illustrate the customer journey on a social media platform. First, he finds images of “apparel.” Then, as he scrolls, he sees a stunning image of a t-shirt that looks like something he’s constantly wished for.
To take a closer look, he taps the post. The image has been shared on the clothing company’s Instagram account. It has a tag with the price, the image, and information about the t-shirt. When he clicks the tag, a store where he can see this particular item is opened. He has the choice of being taken to a website where he can buy the t-shirt right now, and then he buys that t-shirt which will get delivered soon.
This Instagram user, who has now become a customer, wasn’t in the market for a new t-shirt. He was only casually browsing his social media feed. But Instagram recognised a chance for a personalised purchasing experience based on information from his recent activity of looking up and adding t-shirts to his wishlist, and it effectively recommended a purchase. This is how social commerce works.
WareIQ, an eCommerce fulfillment company, empowers online brands with a superior-tech platform to compete with Amazon like service levels by bringing their average delivery timelines from 5-10 days to 1-2 days.
How Do You Benefit from Social Commerce?
Social commerce is all about facilitating easy transactions. By allowing users to finish their purchase while still on the platform, the chance of confusion, cart abandonment, or price comparison is reduced.
Still, have doubts about the feasibility of establishing a social media store? The following list of benefits supports social commerce.
Better Ranking On Search Engines
Social media interaction can result in more than simply straightforward business deals. Social media commerce has enhanced website traffic, eventually affecting your ranking in search engine results. A great strategy to get visitors from social media users is to share links to information on your website on social media. Additionally, it enables them to interact with your content by commenting, liking, or sharing it with others.
View it, select it, and buy it. Social media stores make the consumer journey less complicated, making it simple to proceed from discovery to purchase. The item is present. There is only the checkout to go.
Ultimately, each mouse click is a chance for potential consumers to change their minds. This is a lot of time to lose their interest if they have to navigate from your advertisement to your website, add the product to their shopping cart, and enter their payment card information.
Remove the unnecessary steps and let people shop while they are social.
Expand Your Target Audience
57% of the world’s population, or 4.59 billion individuals, utilise social media now. By 2024, this number is anticipated to reach 5.17 billion. Social media offers more opportunities than ever to connect with a worldwide audience.
Additionally, many social media users are beginning to shop on these sites. So if the 18 to 34 age range is your target market, they have already started scrolling and are prepared to make purchases.
The majority of social network users who have made at least one purchase through a social channel are members of Generation Z and Millennials.
Gather Audience Data
Customer information is primarily found on social media channels. Future product development and marketing activities can benefit from this insightful data.
Instagram Insights offers demographic information, such as gender, age range, and location. In addition, marketers can learn more specific information about their target audience using audience insights. An overview of demographics includes information on age and gender distributions, occupations, marital statuses, and educational attainment. Additionally, brands can learn about consumers’ interests and pastimes.
Retailers can create highly targeted ad campaigns using this data to get their goods in front of the right customers. In addition, brands now have an opportunity to reach highly targeted consumers with their products thanks to social commerce, which is impossible with traditional eCommerce platforms.
Organic Traffic and Engagement
An excellent initial step to finally making conversions is aggressively trying to increase your social media audience. The engagement and reach businesses may obtain whenever they publish content is one of the most important advantages of social commerce. Regularly appearing in a follower’s updates feed allows you to take advantage of a potent branding opportunity. People are more likely to suggest a firm if they interact with it frequently.
Social commerce promotes two-way contact between customers and businesses. This allows clients to interact with your company and use social media as a helpful customer service channel where issues may be resolved. In addition, the sharing and reposting content on social media encourage interaction, website traffic, and increased brand awareness.
Customer Retention and Loyalty
You want to sell and advertise your goods and services when you use social commerce for business, but you also want to cultivate positive relationships with people. A business can create and maintain relationships that strengthen trust and loyalty by taking advantage of this opportunity to interact with prospects. This results in clients who are pleased or satisfied with your service and inclined to continue as clients and make repeat purchases. First-time and repeat customers are equally valuable, so treat them both with respect.
Disadvantages Of Social Commerce
Although we believe that social commerce’s advantages outweigh its drawbacks, there are a few reasons why some firms are hesitant.
Let’s examine a couple of social commerce’s disadvantages from the viewpoint of brands.
Loss of Customer Control by Sellers
While social commerce gives businesses many opportunities, others are worried about who owns the customer. As a result, the influence of both large and small shops is being eroded as social networks increasingly control the purchasing process.
When consumers purchase Instagram or another platform, customers’ information is saved by the social media site, not by the retailer. Because of this, it becomes more difficult for businesses to get to know their clients and provide them with more individualised online and offline experiences. In addition, some business owners have raised concerns that social networks would sell this consumer information to third parties, undermining the public’s trust in the brand or that the information might be used to send customers to rival websites.
Loss of Control Over Products and Pricing by Sellers
There is a risk that social networks will control both the customer and the price. Some retailers worry that Amazon might alter their product prices without permission as it transitions from being just an online marketplace to including elements of social networking. However, Amazon does not need to turn a profit on the goods it sells; it only needs to generate sales, and it is unconcerned if shops using its platform experience lower profit margins.
There is Limited Reach
On the other hand, if you underestimate the power of social media, you should be cautious. The pandemic has caused a sharp increase in social media usage, with 43% of users aged 16 to 64 spend more time on the platforms, but there has been no growth in the number of active users. Moreover, people who haven’t already started using social media will refrain from doing so now since the market for social media is saturated.
Of course, younger generations are more likely than older generations to use social media. Still, the significant rise in the number of new users won’t occur until there is a concerted effort to improve smartphone and internet access in developing nations. So there is still a long way to go, even though this is slowly but surely rising.
Retailers would discover that not all social media users are eager to make purchases on their platforms, even if social commerce could help them expand into new markets. Even if social networks are fantastic for social connections, most individuals still prefer to purchase online from businesses’ websites or marketplaces.
In the USA, eMarketer discovered that 34.6% of regular social media users have never made a purchase straight from a social media post. In contrast, the Global Web Index found that only 13% of individuals said that a “buy” button on a social network would enhance their likelihood of making a purchase. So before people trust social networks to store their credit card information, there is a lot of work to be done.
Top 10 Strategies to Leverage Social Shopping in 2023
As you can see, engaging in social commerce has a lot of advantages. But, on the other hand, it might be intimidating to venture into unfamiliar ground. Still, our top advice has been highlighted for you to consider whether you’re new to social commerce or have been using this model for some time. Then, examine the suggested best practices to ensure that your brand is prepared for success in social commerce right now.
Know Your Audience
Match your social media target audience with your social commerce strategy for the best possible connection. Then, choose products and marketing based on this particular consumer segment rather than simply copying and pasting what is currently on your website.
You may stay informed as your audience expands with a social media analytics tool. For example, customer personas by platform might be informed by social media profile reports that include demographic information about followers. To decide which goods to list and how to place them, use these in conjunction with post-performance data.
Invest In the Appropriate Channels
People utilise various social and digital platforms daily, but brands only have a limited amount of money and resources to devote to digital advertising. The more familiar you are with your target market, the easier it will be to identify the channels on which to concentrate your marketing efforts.
Which platforms do they employ for content browsing and sharing? How often do they use those channels? What kinds of content are they most interested in? Finding the answers to these and similar inquiries can help you develop a successful social commerce strategy for your company.
Generate User-Friendly Content
Just keep in mind that your shopping profile is only intended for customers. Therefore, why not show them what their friends say about the company? User-generated content is helpful in this situation.
Integrating user photos into your social shop is a bright idea. It’s simple to gather pertinent user-generated content (UGC) from social profiles, make it shoppable, publish the shoppable UGC gallery on a website or share it on social media.
It is the ideal method for combining places of inspiration with points of sale. Users’ material acts as an element that fosters trust, display social proof, establishes legitimacy and encourages more purchases.
Maintain Consistency in Your Content
Your social selling plan will be more successful if it generates awareness and engagement. How would you market your items if people weren’t aware of you?
Content is the best tactic to increase social media’s reach, awareness, and interaction. Maintaining consistency with your content will increase user engagement and attract new users.
Doing this can drive the most traffic to your shoppable content streams or social network shopping pages.
Create Shorter and Seamless Paths to Purchase
Convenience is vital when it comes to modern retail. The brands that can most engage with browsers and turn them into customers can design an end-to-end purchasing process with as few frictionless steps as possible – across all critical channels.
You’ll need a seamless, omnichannel social commerce approach based on your customer data and analytics to ensure you capture the appropriate people, in the right place, at the right time.
Utilizing social checkout capabilities, developing eCommerce, shoppable social feeds, and fusing your online and in-store experiences are a few examples of this, but it’s not limited to these.
Related Article: What is Omnichannel Fulfillment?
Utilize Social Checkout Features
The last thing a brand wants to do is put any obstacle in the way of a customer purchasing once they discover a product they are immediately inspired by while browsing through their preferred social media feed.
This situation used to force manufacturers to send the consumer to a link in their bio, which would then lead them to their mobile site, where they would have to look for the item they had just seen to buy it. But unfortunately, many customers would have given up when they got there.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have features that allow brands to seamlessly sell products from their organic or paid social posts by giving brands the ability to add product tags to their posts to streamline the path to purchase. This helps to improve social shopping experiences.
Showcase Shoppable Content and On-Site Social Proof
Companies shouldn’t merely make it simple for users to “shop the look” on social media. One effective way to increase online engagement and sales is by including visible and practical social proof in your eCommerce strategy. Customers are six times more likely to buy a product if the page has images from social media.
Create a social media interactive lookbook or visual catalogue, and then include “Buy Now” calls to action to direct them to check out sites.
Create Meaningful Experiences Throughout the Buying Process
Most marketers who use UGC and influencer content do so exclusively on organic social. Still, this powerful social proof may also help develop authentic experiences at all stages of the buyer’s journey.
UGC may be utilised to generate outcomes across your platforms and campaigns, provided you have permission from the content creators. For example, use it as new creative in digital, social, and print advertisements, include it in promotional and community mailings, use it as social proof on all your websites and mobile applications, show it on your eCommerce pages, or even use it on in-store signs or live event displays.
Mobile devices are designed for social media. Therefore, adopt a mobile-first strategy if you want to use social media to sell successfully.
Sharing material of the highest quality and optimised for mobile displays is part of the mobile-first strategy.
You must ensure that your social media buying gallery is configured with appropriate layouts and style to be mobile-responsive, particularly for social selling on websites.
Related Article: How to Improve Mobile Shopping Experience in 5 Easy Ways in 2023
Learn and Improvise
When you dangle a toe in the social commerce realm, the best thing you can do is measure, measure, measure. As you scale your plan, knowing what’s working might help you replicate your success. It may also reveal new possibilities that you would have otherwise overlooked.
To manage performance, keep an eye on your social metrics. Don’t forget to tag your postings to provide you with a more detailed understanding of what is and isn’t working. When you pair these with UTM parameters, you can dive deeper, determine which posts generated sales, and modify your plan to make your posts more effective. To stay on top of this process, you can schedule report deliveries weekly or monthly.
Social media has significantly revolutionized how businesses and their customers interact, and social commerce is by far its most popular use. The moment has arrived to be flexible and open to change. Social commerce can expand more quickly the earlier you try it.
Social commerce is still in its early stages but will gain popularity quickly. Brands of all sizes can now experiment with social commerce and utilise it to grow their businesses, unlike in the past when only more prominent and worldwide brands could afford pricey campaigns.
In the end, many of the most successful companies have a solid omnichannel strategy that integrates all online and offline business channels to produce a dependable consumer experience.
Social commerce is the solution to expanding your brand outside the standard eCommerce platforms and improving the consumer experience. The marketing trend that has opened the way for more sales and conversions is the jewel in the crown of the marketing system.
How WareIQ Streamlines Social Commerce Fulfilment?
When your business grows, don’t let the complexity of social commerce fulfilment scare you away from the modern market or prevent you from gaining market share.
With tailored guidance in setting up a social commerce fulfilment, WareIQ can help you expand into new sales channels.
Working with WareIQ allows you to track inventories in real-time from a single dashboard, easily automate order fulfillment across social commerce channels, and save time and money by outsourcing logistics to experts.
The eCommerce distribution process is improved by WareIQ’s warehouse and fulfilment network, which includes inward inventory processing, intelligent inventory placement, real-time inventory tracking, quick fulfilment, and automatic dispatch.
When you collaborate with WareIQ as a fulfilment partner to help you improve your logistics processes and optimise your supply chain, you have access to a national fulfilment network, cutting-edge technology, and first-rate customer support. For instance, to make each of the supply chain projects listed below better, WareIQ can assist with them all:
Real-time inventory tracking along the supply chain includes:
- Choosing the most efficient means of product distribution.
- Provide shipping rebates via reputable regional and national carriers.
- Extend your consumer base’s reach by utilising a vast network of fulfilment centres.
- Operations are improved by having access to cutting-edge data and reporting analytics technologies.