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Social commerce continues its meteoric rise with the latest predictions putting the industry at $1.2 trillion in purchases by 2025! With more than $958 billion spent in 2021, it’s clear that this marketing and sales channel represents a very real, profitable tactic for brands.
But what exactly is social commerce and how can it be leveraged to boost e-commerce sales?
Simply stated, social commerce is the process of selling products directly on social media. With social commerce, the entire shopping experience, from product discovery and research to check out and final purchase, takes place right on a social media platform. Currently, most major social media platforms offer social commerce integrations. If you’ve spent any time on these platforms recently, you’ve probably noticed the “Shop Now” links and may have even completed a purchase directly from a post, or ad, you’ve seen in your feed.
Social commerce, however, is not e-commerce. So, what’s the difference?
While e-commerce refers to a shopping experience via a website or dedicated branded app, social commerce allows the customer to make their purchase within their social media experience. Social commerce makes shopping a social experience, which is more interactive than typical e-commerce. As such, it’s the perfect complement to existing e-commerce businesses!
There are three major drivers to the rise of social commerce: time, content, and ease of payment.
- Time spent: Today, there are 4.5 billion people using social media — that’s more than half the world’s population.
- Content: With so much to see, do and learn, average daily time spent on social media is now 2.5 hours.
- Payments: Driven mostly by millennials and Gen Z, 2 billion people now use mobile wallets.
Additionally, online consumers are clamoring for more convenient, personalized shopping experiences and social commerce delivers.
- Convenience: Research shows that 82% of shoppers like how quick and easy it is to shop on social media, while 71% say they prefer to buy immediately after viewing content rather than switching to a retail site.
- Inspiration: 60% of users say they’ve discovered a product via social feeds, and 55% were moved to buy.
- Validation: Heavily influenced by community, 70% of people who watched livestreams hosted by an influencer say they were “highly likely” to buy the products recommended.
Social commerce is spontaneous, allowing online business owners the opportunity to inspire customers to complete purchases instantaneously, without leaving their social media experience and navigate to your website to buy whatever has captured their interest! A win-win for all.
Social platforms have begun catering to consumers’ desire to purchase socially by building commerce features into the core experience. Facebook and Instagram storefronts invite you to shop for products inside a brand’s profile and offer half a dozen shoppable formats that allow you to instantly view featured products, prices, and details. TikTok, Pinterest, Snap, and Twitter have launched similar social commerce experiences and shops, each designed around how people specifically engage on those platforms.
Here are a few of the most notable ways they’re doing so:
- Live shopping: Live video is expected to grow to reach 17% of all internet traffic in 2022. Being able to buy what’s in a video you’re watching will surely propel social commerce to new heights.
- AR/VR shopping: With a camera phone, we can “try” products on ourselves and in our spaces, then purchase from within that experience. It’s not clear why only 3% of brands use these formats, but they should.
- Shopping from creators: Instagram has an affiliate program (in beta) that allows creators to earn commissions based on sales they drive for a brand. YouTube’s BrandCommerce product (also in beta) allows brands to partner with creators and insert shoppable experiences within video.
- In-app checkout: All platforms are driving toward in-app checkout using any payment method loaded into a digital wallet. On Facebook and Instagram, Checkout allows customers to buy items directly from a shop.
The growing popularity of social commerce, combined with consumers’ propensity to venture online for both social engagement and shopping (both of which are often entangled), helps solidify e-commerce as both a viable business model and new pillar of retail.
To learn more about social commerce and why your brand should care, please click here.
To learn more about why brands should embrace social commerce, please click here.