What Happens When Social Media Meet E-Commerce

What happens when social media meet e-commerce

How much are you investing on social media? And how much are you getting back from it?

When you run a business you have to make investments. It doesn’t matter if you have a brick and mortar store, or a online one. What matters, is to get something in return from them.

If you have a e-commerce business, we are sure you also have a solid marketing plan. If I’m right, it will includes social media, since they are a fundamental tool for almost everyone. But are you deriving maximum benefit out of it?Today we will talk about social commerce. We will tell you everything you need to get the best out of it, because this is what we do at uDroppy. We give you all the resources you need to build an e-commerce empire. From quality products to worldwide fast shipping, to useful insights and information.

What is social commerce

The most important thing is, as always, understanding what we are talking about.

Social commerce, also called social shopping, means selling your products on social media. It’s a subset of e-commerce (and yes, the right way of writing it it’s e-commerce and not e commerce).

Since its origin, e-commerce kept growing and evolving due to changing technologies and strategies. Not to mention that the audience changed too, and you have to meet its needs to be successful. Today, there are around 3.5 billion active users on social media, this means almost half of the world population.

Here below you can see the number of users of the main social networks. As you can see, we only displayed four social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are the most updated platforms when it comes to social shopping.

Below, we’ll show you the most relevant steps taken by these social networks towards social commerce.

Facebook

Facebook is the first social media that understood the potential of social shopping. It first started in 2007 with a test feature that let users buy gifts for friends (to use on the same platform, though). Later on that same year, Facebook empowered users to sell products to their own network creating the first marketplace.

In 2014, Facebook started testing the buy button so that people can buy a product directly in their news feed. It was a feature limited to some specific brands. Two years later, at the end of 2016, Facebook tested Facebook Payment, starting conversational commerce. That is using chatbots to receive payments from users.

Finally, last year, Facebook launched Marketplace. Now you can buy and sell products on Facebook reaching almost every user.

Instagram

Despite being one of the most recent social media, Instagram is the one with the hugest potential.

First of all, it designed the buy button for business accounts.

Then, in 2016, it introduced the product tags. A featured limited to some brands to help people identify the products in the picture. Product tags also show the price of every product.

Two years later Instagram introduced shoppable posts. Business accounts can create posts and stories with shoppable tags. Users interested in a product can buy it completing the checkout on an external page.

Finally, we arrive to this year. In March, Instagram released Checkout. The function is now limited to few brands. It allows people to complete the process without leaving the social network.

Showing once again its interest and long-term outlook, the social media didn’t stop at that. In May Instagram opened @Shop. It is an Instagram account where to find products from small businesses and artists. In this way, the platform shows also to care about SMEs, other than big players.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the queen platform to share images about products (fashion, home, food etc.). This is why it’s natural the platform showed interest in social shopping.

Today, if you use Pinterest, you can find rich pins. They are pins with further detailed information coming from the related website. They include prices, features, and other details to convince prospects to buy.

You can also count on the shop the look feature. Like Instagram shoppable posts, it allow users to click on a product and end up on the checkout page to buy it.

Snapchat

This social network, online since 2011, developed a very interesting feature. It partnered up with Amazon to beat the competition and created a product scanner. Now, you can take a picture to a physical product or a barcode and buy it from Amazon.

It’s a visual search tool that allow you to find the product you need (or a similar one) without effort.

Furthemore, Snapchat launched at the end of 2018 the Shop and Cop. This feature is available to some brands selling a wide range of items (e.g. fashion, beauty, etc.) and allows customers to buy directly from within the app. In this way users won’t be re-directed to the brand website creating a better customer experience. 

Why social commerce is interesting for your business

How many times in a day do you use your smartphone? And how many times social media?

Statistics can answer for you.

According to them, the average time spent on social media is 142 minutes. This mean that half the population spend more than two hours on social networks. They don’t do it only because of social or entertainment reasons. In fact, stats say  87% of consumers use social media to understand whether they want to buy. Social media are useful to find new products and users’ feedback. Consumers are more likely to buy when a friend recommend a certain product. And the same goes for social media. If they find people on their feed, or on the network, promoting a product, they are more inclined to buy it.

As you can see, social media has a strong influence on people. This is even stronger if you have a wide audience and a set of quality products with a low price. In fact, studies show that social networks are more suitable to immediate, impulsive buy. When a product cost more than $100, people start thinking about it. Higher prices trigger long thinking processes. We have to carefully choose how to invest our money and we want to have good reasons to do it.

Yet, when the price is lower than $100, people is more likely to make a impulsive buy. This strategy works best when you make the checkout process as simple and short as you can. Every time your prospect needs a further step, doubts raise. At the same time chances of abandonment grow too.

This is why Instagram and Snapchat are now the most interesting social media. They foresaw the power of a direct checkout and started benefitting from it.  So, as you can see. Social shopping has a huge potential to raise your revenues.

Ok, we know what you are thinking now. Why should I be interested in social commerce if social media created features only for big companies?

The answer is simple. Because if you will get ready now, when the time comes you will have a huge advantage over your competitors.

What should you do to be ready for social commerce

In a few years buying from social media will be a routine. You will only need to see a product on your feed (or story), click on it and pay. Then you will start waiting for the courier to ring at your door.

Let’s see together what can you do in the meantime to raise your revenues and audience engagement:

  • use a Messenger strategy to raise your engagement on Facebook. It is the best way to establish one-to-one connections with your audience. The result is higher open rates, CTR and a better user experience. There are many third party integrations you can use to set engaging chatbots;
  • Chatbots do not only allow you to give immediate answers to your audience. That is fundamental, because users want information and they want it now. Yet, chatbots are useful to raise engagement and revenues too. You can set checkout bots (e.g. Soldsie or jumper.ai) to let your client buy your products without leaving the social media. This is how Marvel raised the number of sold tickets; 
  • Raising the engagement with your social media followers is a key. You can do it by using video content because they have higher engagement rates. Another strategy is using micro-influencers ( Read our article about it here). You can also use social media to collect the emails of your audience and then gain their loyalty through a proper email marketing strategy
  • Promote your low-cost products to engage with users and convert them into customers. As I already said, lower prices mean immediate buy. You can use this trick to attract them on your store and establish long lasting relationships with them. In this way you will be able to nurture them and bring them to buy more expensive products from you (trust is a key asset, here);
  • Take advantage of user generated content about your brand. It is the most powerful tool to promote your products and company. They are authentic posts that prospects trust. They help you generate higher engagement with your brand and higher revenues;
  • Use all the already implemented tools on social media. These include shoppable posts and stories, buy now button, etc. You have to make the most of what the market gives you;
  • Integrate all your sales channels. You have to communicate through different channels with a unique tone of voice and visual identity. Otherwise, customers won’t be able to recognize you and will get confused. This means losing them and money. 

These are only some of the many ways in which you can take advantage of the current status quo of social commerce. Everyday the market changes and evolves. You’d better keep always up to date and ready to adapt your marketing strategy.

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References: 

Socialnomics 

Digital Information World