Social commerce is the term for buying and selling of items and services on social media networks. The immense popularity and influence of social media platforms has built a huge potential audience for shopping through these platforms. According to a report by GlobalWebIndex, in 2018, people with access to the internet spent an average of 142 minutes on social media per day.
With the growing influence of Social media, social commerce is blooming as a hub for online shopping. The term ‘social commerce’ was familiarized by Yahoo! in the year 2005. In recent years, social media platforms have been working toward eradicating and chafing of purchasing products somewhere else after adopting a new approach. These platforms have added “Buy” or “Purchase” keys and digital wallets, so the consumers can make direct purchases with ease. Social commerce is different from social media marketing since it doesn’t forward users to an online store and cause them to leave the site. Instead, it offers them the opportunity to get acquainted with the product directly and make the purchasing decision while staying on the same social media site.
The Evolving Platforms of Social Commerce
According to Buffer, the social commerce platforms that are having the biggest impact are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s a little bit of history for each platform:
Facebook has over 2.5 billion active users monthly as recorded by Statista. This makes it a platform with huge potential with regard to social commerce.
In February 2007, for the first time Facebook conduct a virtual gift test which enabled its users to purchase gifts for their friends, though these gifts were restricted to being displayed or used only on the Facebook platform.
Since then, Facebook has introduced many social commerce initiatives such as Facebook marketplace, 1-800-Flowers.com, Facebook tests and others. In the summer of 2018, Facebook unveiled Facebook Marketplace, which worked as an opponent to Amazon, Google Shopping and Etsy. Apart from these, there are various newer and recent developments in the beneficial platform of Facebook commerce.
Instagram has become one of the most dynamic platforms with its increasing users. The engagement of the younger generation active on the platform is huge, and this engagement can be leveraged to create a social experience of shopping.
In June 2015, the “Shop Now” button was introduced by Instagram for the first time.
In October 2017, Shopify and BigCommerce integrations initiated the opportunity of making sales through Instagram to millions of other traders using the feature Instagram Shopping.
In March 2018, Instagram’s Shoppable Posts went live. This amazing feature offered the brands the ability to tag items in organic posts which, when tapped, opens up a new page which leads to a checkout.
In 2019, in order to initiate more shopping experiences, Pinterest rebranded its third-party partner program “Pinterest Partners”. Services such as content marketing, measurement, advertising, and shopping in more categories are provided by these partners. Another Pinterest Partner is WooCommerce that helps businesses set-up and grow e-commerce experiences.
Trends are indicating the 2020s are going to be an era dominated by the hype of eCommerce. Here are a few winning social commerce strategies for the retailers to build customers’ trust and enhance online sales in 2020.
Winning strategies for social commerce
- Know Your Buyer Persona
With the decreasing attention span of online shoppers, marketers should know and understand their customers as thoroughly as possible. We should know the needs and behaviors of our customers and innovate strategies to create the most optimized shopping experience for them.
- Choose the Right Channel
Retailers should research the perfect platform before making the investment. People across the globe use a huge range of social media platforms on a daily basis. Before a company chooses the digital platform around which to focus their efforts, they must be aware of the preferences of target customers. We must dig deeper to know which platforms our customers use regularly and what are the types of content engage them the most. This allows for the creation of deeper connections
- Always Optimize
To improve your marketing, it’s important to optimize content and marketing tactics according to the changing needs of your customers. If a particular strategy worked a few years back, it may not bring appropriate results in today’s world. You must keep track of the current trends of the market and consider investing in the various tools and resources available to you.
- Create Shorter and Smoother Ways to Make the Purchase
In modern shopping, convenience is the most crucial step. To ensure you reach the right audience at the perfect time, you need an omni-channel, seamless, and hassle-free social commerce approach created with insights from the customers’ data and perceptions. The approach includes getting benefits from social checkout features, social feeds with shoppables, creating eCommerce, and integrating online and physical-store experience.
- Leverage User-Generated Content and Organic Influencers
User-generated content (UGC) is content that your target users create and then promote on their channels or send to you for you to promote. Ultimately, you involve your audience in the creation of content, which can help your content reach further and connect more. This includes videos, images, and reviews that the users post on social media networks. User-generated content is regarded as the most authentic, most-trusted, powerful content by the target customers. This is an exceptional and valuable resource for marketers to leverage.
It has been seen that user-generated content is 9.8 times more persuasive than traditional contents by influencers. It also indicates the decline in the popularity ratio of social influencers. Hence, as a powerful stratagem, retailers should shift their influencer marketing approaches away from paid macro-influencers and invest it in the marketing tactics involving organic influencers.
Hopefully these tips and insights can help you jump into the world of social commerce and start ramping up sales via social media.
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