Social platforms provide brands with a unique window to meet shoppers where they are most engaged. Find out how brands can build a profitable social commerce strategy.
The first online retail transaction took place in 1994. Since then, the field of e-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds. Much of this growth is currently fueled by the rise of social commerce, an $89.4 billion industry that’s expected to be worth to be worth $604.5 billion by 2027.
Social commerce is the use of social engagement to create commerce transactions. The result is a more engaging customer experience that removes friction and increases revenue.
So how can you implement a social commerce strategy for your business? Let’s start by looking at some social commerce examples.
Selling in modern times: Social commerce examplesExamples of social commerce include:
- In-app purchases via social media and social networks
- Organic shoppable posts
- Shoppable ads
- Shoppable influencer content
- Shoppable videos and media leading to e-commerce sites
Social commerce examples on social media
Enabling transactions on social media is an important initiative for social networks. Allowing consumers to purchase products without leaving their social platform of choice is of high value to the network. In-app purchases can be split into two distinct categories: organic reach and advertisements.
Organic shoppable posts
Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to create shoppable posts organically, which enable social media users to purchase products directly on the respective social platforms. Snapchat has recently introduced a similar feature, though it’s still in beta.
Pinterest’s social commerce functionality comes in the form of “Product Pins.” When clicked, a Product Pin will direct users to a specific ecommerce website.
The common thread between each of these forms of in-app purchases is the fact that companies don’t have to pay to access them. Once a shoppable post or “Product Pin” is created, a certain percentage of the company’s followers will see it in their feeds. In other words, the posts will reach followers organically.
However, organic reach isn’t always enough. When companies want to reach more people, they can pay to “boost” their posts and pins. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest allow companies to target specific demographics with their content.
While ads of this nature cost money, they enable online retailers to show their products to a targeted audience. As a result, well-planned and executed social media ad campaigns can generate significant revenue for the companies who run them.
In-app purchasing on social media is convenient. Not only do you have access to millions of potential customers, you can sell to them without disrupting their social experience. That’s the main advantage.
However, this benefit also has a downside. Are consumers truly looking to shop when on social media? One would argue that higher shopping intent would exist in the actual online store. On social media, people are generally looking to connect with friends and family, hear about the latest news, watch humorous and/or inspiring videos, and gain initial top-of-funnel interest in products that would lead them to enter a shopping environment, the online store.
Let’s consider social commerce examples within the online store.
The future of shopping is entertainment. It's not enough to have an online storefront – brands must do more. Consumers today are looking for novel, immersive, and entertaining shopping experiences.
Social commerce examples from online stores
Social commerce can also be conducted by enabling influencer storefronts – and shoppable influencer content – in your online store. In a way, this is the optimal social commerce experience as you are bringing the social engagement into your first-party e-commerce store, where people are looking to shop. Here’s where you can empower and guide a focused digital sales team with the relevant expertise, quality, and accountability to the bottom line.
An influencer storefront is a customizable web experience built inside an established e-commerce website. The experience contains shoppable videos that an influencer posts and drives traffic to. All sales resulting from the engagement are then fully measurable on your first-party experience without dependence on diminishing third-party cookies, and credited to the influencer.
Major brands like Macy’s, Kay, and Zales Jewelers, and Bed Bath & Beyond have realized the benefit of this unique social commerce approach and have started reaping the benefits.
Content from this kind of social commerce also surfaces on Google search, yielding continued sales for the brand and influencer.
Also, once you’re receiving an influx of new content, enhancing your catalog daily with new authentic engaging assets, and gaining first-party engagement and performance data, you’re able to repurpose such assets on your product page and media channels.
All about social commerce
Explore the world of influencer marketing, shoppable videos, and much more.
A strategic approach to social commerce
This isn’t an either/or situation. There’s no reason why you can’t use both social engagement in your online store and in-app purchases on social media networks. In fact, it’s the best way to amplify the foundation you create with the former.
All shoppable posts that your influencers – your approved brand ambassadors – post to your site form an authentic, approved stream of content that can then truly amplify all of your social posting activity and social media campaigns. You not only save a tremendous amount on creative spending, you have the data to automatically pull the best content, meaning the assets that are generating the most sales at any given time.
Social commerce is an incredible opportunity for any business that sells products online. By using both in-app sales on social and influencer storefronts on your site, you’ll be able to create better buying experiences and reduce friction for your customers, while gaining valuable data, building trust, and strengthening your online performance.