Understanding Social Commerce and Its Impact on Business

Social commerce has an inherent appeal that is missing from traditional eCommerce. Leveraging its magic means providing a better way for shoppers to engage with your product and brand. It’s personal, interactive, intuitive, and game-changing. A social commerce strategy is usually multifaceted, leaning on various social media platforms and website technology. It’s the use of networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to help promote and sell products and services. Social commerce brings the eComm experience of a website directly into a social media platform environment, where consumers are inherently engaged and poised for a purchase. They are able to check out directly in the social network vs. on your website. It can also encourage shopper interaction through community forums and review platforms where buyers can share their experiences.

Here are some additional engagement tactics of social commerce:

  • Engage customers with comments and direct messages in Facebook and Instagram. Polls are another way to engage your customer base while also gaining valuable feedback and insight into their preferences.
  • Invite customers to become brand ambassadors and post content for you.
  • Host a contest or giveaway.
  • Give your customers an inside look into your business with all-access videos and photos, previews, or even a sneak peek of new products or services.
  • Encourage your customers to review and recommend your products. This enables them to promote your products and services for you.

What social media platforms can eCommerce retailers leverage for best results?
There are three major social media platforms that eCommerce retailers should be using consistently to implement social commerce and engage with their customers. They are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

As previously mentioned, Instagram is a powerhouse for social commerce. According to Shopify, the average purchase value from customers referred from Instagram is $65.00. 72% of users say they have bought a product they saw on Instagram. And analytics think tank Heap found that Instagram has a 3.1% conversion rate, the second highest rate of any social media channel. Brandwatch boasts “that engagement with brands is ten times higher on Instagram than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.” It’s impossible to ignore those numbers and impossible overlook Instagram in order to boost conversion with social commerce.

Facebook entered the social commerce game early and paved the way for Instagram—anyone remember Facebook payments? These days, Facebook Marketplace is the social commerce hub where you can sell practically anything. It’s not an entirely complete path to purchase, but anyone can use Facebook Messenger to buy and sell things, and send and receive money.

Not to be discounted, Pinterest is still a contender in the social commerce arena. According to a Path to Purchase Institute study, “80% of Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest. Shoppers use Pinterest exclusively for shopping and discovering products.

Measuring performance: understanding social media metrics
It’s an integral part of your social commerce strategy to produce engaging content, interact with your audience, and gain valuable feedback when it comes to your products and services. By using data, you can see the impact of these products and services to your customers. Many retailers monitor click-through rates, shares and comments. In a social commerce campaign, it is also important to understand the engagement and frequency. According to Neil Patel, “The five most important social media metrics to track are volume, reach, engagement, influence and share of voice.”

The Future of Social Commerce
We’ve discussed various forms of social commerce, but what does the future hold in the space? How about augmented reality? Seeing is believing and what better way to bring your products and services to life, enhance the visuals, and improve the customer experience then with 3D photos and videos?

According to a report by ThinkMobiles, “63% of customers say AR would improve their shopping experience and 35% say AR would make them shop online more often.” Large retailers like Amazon and IKEA are already taking advantage of augmented reality with apps that allow you to preview how the product would look in your home or office. Another example of how AR can impact the social commerce space is with online clothing and apparel stores. Imagine taking a photo of yourself, picking the outfit you are interested in, and seeing how it would look without even trying it on.

Why choosing the right payment processor is essential to a social commerce strategy
Social commerce is changing the way consumers shop online. Whether social commerce is a part of your strategy or you are just starting out, choose a processor that can provide secure, scalable, and cost-effective payments, one that can help you manage transactions easier, and grow your sales faster in a social commerce experience. According to Statista, “The online shopping order value via social for 2019 is an average of $77.56.” That’s a major factor in a global online shopping market that is projected to reach nearly five trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.