Over the years, we have been fascinated to see how social media platforms have evolved to offer more value to their large user base. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are driving the growth of social commerce through visually engaging content. Other later entrants into this sphere include the likes of WeChat, TikTok, and even WhatsApp.
How did Chinese-based streaming companies, Li Jiaqi and Viya sell goods worth $3 billion in just one day in October 2021? Thank the rise of social commerce. According to Vaimo, social commerce sales are expected to have a 6.2% share of U.S eCommerce sales in 2022 (which is worth around $51.8 billion). As online consumers look at multiple channels, social commerce is a perfect fit that is set to transform the online shopping paradigm.
What is Social Commerce and how does it benefit the eCommerce sector? Here is a closer look.
What is Social Commerce?
Simply put, social commerce is the intersection of eCommerce with social media channels. Social commerce is the amalgamation of multiple online channels including social shopping, mobile app-based shopping, and purchasing on social media platforms.
Social commerce is not about “redirecting” social media users to an online retail store, but rather offering them the facility to check out their purchases within the existing platform. What is driving the growth of social commerce? As pointed out by Professor Scott Galloway, the global pandemic has accelerated eCommerce growth and a shift in consumer behavior.
Sandie Hawkins of TikTok talks about social commerce as “word of mouth on steroids.” As more online users spend more time on social media platforms, social commerce is fulfilling their need to buy products and services recommended by close friends and family members.
How does social commerce benefits online retailers? Let’s discuss next.
5 benefits of Social Commerce
Social commerce can benefit eCommerce retailers in many ways including an increase in sales and conversion and providing a seamless customer experience (CX) to online users. Here is a look at some of these benefits in detail:
1. Better customer engagement
Be it an eCommerce or any other brand, no business can afford to not have a brand presence on social media channels like Facebook or Instagram. On their part, eCommerce companies can build a powerful brand on social media platforms and reach out to a wider audience base.
Social commerce provides a great branding opportunity and enables companies to engage more closely with potential customers. For example, handmade jewelry brand, The Tiny Tassel is reaching out to its users on Facebook Shop with detailed product descriptions, post listings, and customized options.
Besides customer engagement, social commerce enables brands to provide improved customer services and word-of-mouth marketing (through social sharing) to connect with more consumers.
2. Higher SEO ranking
Over 30% of online American shoppers have stated their preference for purchasing products through social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. With growing numbers of social media users, social commerce provides the benefit of increasing traffic to online stores, thus enabling a higher SEO rank on Google and other search engines.
Further, personalized content and recommendations on social media pages can enhance the brand’s digital footprint, thus leveraging the business investment into SEO marketing strategies.
Platforms like Pinterest have even enhanced their product search functionality to enable their customers to make direct purchases. Furniture brand Room & Board leveraged this functionality to improve its Return-on-Ad-Spend (ROAS) and shopping searches.
3. Customer Experience (CX)
With social media-based shopping, the customer experience (CX) is more interactive and engaging than a “typical” eCommerce experience. Online shoppers can interact directly with brands, post (or view) product review comments, consult with their friends, or comment on their latest purchase.
The entire CX is now happening without consumers having to leave their social media platforms or account. Effectively, social commerce enables online brands to create “happier” customers with informed buying decisions. An interesting case study is that of sunglasses brand Bollé providing its Instagram users the opportunity to virtually model their sunglasses using augmented reality (AR).
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4. Customer loyalty and retention
Most eCommerce brands know the value of retaining their customer base, which can earn them more revenues through repeat purchases, cross-sells, and upsells.
Online brand reviews posted on platforms like Facebook and Google are powerful at transforming consumer behavior. As more “satisfied” customers post positive reviews and comments about eCommerce brands on social media pages, more potential consumers are likely to trust and buy their products.
Effectively, eCommerce brands can not only leverage social media platforms to promote their products (or services) but also enhance customer relationships using loyalty programs. For instance, fashion retailer Bershka is building better customer relationships using Instagram Stories. Similarly, online clothing retailer ModCloth is using the hashtag #MyModCloth on Instagram to encourage its shoppers to post user-generated content on their posts.
5. Consistent business growth
According to HootSuite, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp are globally among the most-used social media platforms with Facebook leading with over 2.9 billion users. YouTube is now at a close second position with 2.56 billion users.
As more millennials and Generation Z consumers continue to register on popular social media platforms, eCommerce brands can look at these platforms for achieving consistent business growth. As compared to a few years back, more consumers are discovering and learning about new products and brands from their social media accounts.
Recent statistics show that 81% of online shoppers research products using Facebook and Instagram, while online shopping is a priority for 48% of users on Pinterest.
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In the post-pandemic eCommerce industry, both brands and consumers are looking at social media channels as the means to directly buy and promote products. On its part, social commerce is enabling eCommerce companies to stand out and capture their consumer base in a social media space that is increasingly getting crowded and competitive.
To leverage the power of social commerce, companies need an effective growth marketing strategy that can unleash the true potential of social media platforms. This is where Ignitiv can play a crucial role. With its eCommerce marketing framework, Ignitiv has enabled its global eCommerce clientele to transform its social media presence and drive more conversions.
Find out how our technology solutions can boost your business growth? Contact us today.