What is Social Commerce - Types of Social Commerce Platforms
October 4, 2021 Sanjay Dabhoya

As a retailer, what are the possible platforms you consider selling online? Most common options include your own eCommerce website or application and/or partnering / registering on the marketplaces such as Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, etc., and leverage their traffic to sell your products. But what about social networks? There are over 3.5 Billion active users found on social media platforms and almost all users have at least 7-6 social media accounts. They spend over 142 minutes every day interacting. This is a great opportunity.

Lately, social media platforms have provided millions of businesses with new sales opportunities. In this post, we would be discussing social commerce in-depth and how it can positively impact your business. Also, don’t miss out on the amazing tools we would mention in the blog so as to help you improve your chances of selling online on social media platforms.

 

What is Social Commerce?

By definition, social commerce or social selling is a strategic method to sell and buy products directly from social media platforms. No longer social media is a place to advertise, but retail and marketing models today include social media as a tool in the discovery process to increase their click-through rates and also boost sales. In short, social commerce allows users to not depend on eCommerce sites, but they can directly buy from social media apps.

In theory, the longer you make the checkout process, the higher are the chances that you would lose the engagement and buyers would abandon your platform. Not leaving the platform and directly, buying over social media helps you keep the engagement high and reduces the chances of bounce rates. It also opens new retailer opportunities. Have a WordPress Ecommerce Store? Check out: Best WordPress Social Media Plugins

What do the trends say?

Success of any model is important to know before investments. According to a report, in 2020 amid a pandemic, the social commerce market escalated to $89.4 Billion. In the next 7 years, it is expected to grow up to $604.5 Billion.

Clearly, it is a burgeoning theory, and leading social media platforms are gearing up to provide every tool required to run an online shop. In this next section, find the social media platforms that you can use to sell online.

 

Social Commerce Platforms that you can use to start selling online

Some of the top social media platforms that allow social selling are Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. However, a lot of other social media platforms are also replicating their model and pulling their socks up to provide maximum opportunities to the retailers. It is not far-fetched to say that soon social commerce would be an integral part of online communities, groups, and other places where people come for niche-specific communication, segregating the market even further.

1. Facebook

If you are a Facebook user, there is a high chance you have come across Facebook Shops. These shops are similar to the eCommerce site. They allow users to browse the products and services and also make in-app purchases.

FB Shops

Source: Faceboook.com

Some of the best features of Facebook shops is that you can directly import your product catalog from your eCommerce site, so you would not have to spend zillion years just to publish millions of products on the Facebook shop. Also, customization of the shop allows you to manage your store better.

On the customer side, it offers direct messaging which improves communication. You can create a customized Facebook chatbot and place it on your store too. If needed, you can redirect people to your store website too.

Facebook has one of the largest user bases in the world of Social media platforms and hence you can use the potential to start any kind of eCommerce business. Keeping an active profile and interacting with people would increase reliability for the brand and open up more opportunities. Then there are advertising opportunities offered by Facebook, which are very successful in getting you potential buyers as per their interests, search history, geographical data, and more.

Key Features:

  • Personalized Shop
  • Easy Brand Discovery
  • Shopping With Messenger
  • Valuable Insights

2. Instagram

Instagram too offers you an opportunity to create and customize storefronts. Featuring products and services. You can use the platform to promote your products through stories, explore tabs, reels, and even advertisements.

This social media platform also comes with in-app purchases. People can use their Facebook pay to make purchases. Instagram is seen as a very dynamic platform and has a user base of young people. If you have products that are targeted towards buyers of 18-29 year-olds, an Instagram store would give you a major boost in sales.

3. Snapchat

Snapchat offers you sales opportunities too. With features such as brand profiles, it is one platform that provides a very unique user experience to the shoppers. Rather than going for pagination, it allows shoppers to scroll through the products and make a purchase in-app. Talking of the technology, the Brand Profiles feature of the app is powered by Shopify, which makes it reliable.

On the retailer side, it offers brand owners to set up shoppable product catalogs and use AR filters through the feature called Lenses. To enhance the customer experience, the users can also take selfies using the lenses and see how the clothes or products would look on them. This feature is applicable to clothes, makeup, sunglasses, and more products.

Snapchat is widely popular among youngsters and if you have a target audience that is young and found to use social media widely, Snapchat is another social commerce platform that you must give a try.

4. Pinterest Shop

Pinterest is not a social media platform, but it is a community-based platform where people can follow the trends in different industries. Coming to Pinterest shop, allows you to highlight the products on Pinterest Shop through product pins. These pins would redirect a person to the business website. But since people browse trends and search for information on Pinterest, the feature works great for businesses that are looking forward to driving more traffic to the site and getting leveraged by it.

Pinterest Shop

Pinterest is a great hub to find sellers for home decor, kitchen, cooking tools, travel products, clothing, and health & fitness products, and more.

Key Features:

  • Catalogs
  • Rich Pins
  • Product Groups
  • Promote Products
  • Insights & Optimization

 

Social Commerce Benefits

Social media platforms offer a great opportunity, however, let’s understand how it is going to impact the business and why you must invest in social eCommerce.

1. Consistent Audience Growth

With billions of users using social media platforms to interact with brands, celebrities, influencers, and people in general, social media platforms offer you a segregated audience where you can put your products out and leverage that opportunity to earn profit through sales.

Social media offers you billions of active users with new users joining every hour. Being the biggest trend in the digital domain, you can consider social commerce for enhancing your business reach and selling people.

2. Higher Search Engine Ranking

It is not just about driving more traffic. User experience plays an important role in engaging the users and interacting trust for the brands. Increased traffic on the website will eventually influence your SERP ranking, also the engagement does not make users abandon the sites and keeps them engaged all throughout the checkout journey.

Shareability features of social media platforms help. People can easily share the content on your store with people and this drives more people to your store. Features such as like, share, and comment allows you to get user-generated data.

3. Authenticity

There are so many brands around the world, and when you are not a known brand people do not trust you easily. Having a social media presence, and interacting with people regularly give you an opportunity to make people trust you. People search a brand on multiple platforms where they can see if an online store is fraudulent or authentic.

The two-way communication offered by social commerce helps people to connect with businesses and allows you to engage them with your business better. It also gives them an opportunity to utilize the share, comment, and like feature. People can see how you respond to people’s queries and provide solutions. And also how quickly you respond to them.

4. Loyalty and Retention

Retention of people becomes easier through social media as it provides you a space where you are in constant touch with your buyers. You interact with them regularly through posts, stories, customer stories and so much more. There is a range of content and material that can drive people to trust you, and you can retain them for a very long time.

5. Business Metrics from Social

Social media is not just about interactions, it is getting into serious business by offering you in-depth analytics on everything that is happening over your social commerce store. These tangible data points allow you to improve your marketing strategy.

Also, if we look closely at most of the eCommerce websites, they invest a huge amount of time and money in driving traffic from social media platforms to their sites. This optimizes their digital marketing efforts and improves the chances of lead conversion. Objectives also can be defined much better by using key performance indicators. This gives you amazing scope with respect to improving your operational capabilities.

So, you can use the social media platform for building metrics of impressions, engagement, and reach. In addition to it, social media posts allow you to measure the reach or traffic like what is your clicks through rate, and how many people are actually getting converted. Also, when people start following you on social media platforms, you can push your content indefinitely to them, and they will interact with it. This would not require you to put extra effort and capture their data such as email, the phone number to empower your email marketing strategy. A simplified approach and data analytics make it an amazing online selling platform.

 

Social Commerce Tips To Get Started

Wondering how to start your social commerce journey? Here are five tips that make you spot-on in running a social commerce business. Must Read: How To Use Social Media Marketing For ECommerce Store

1. Be consistent

To build a good user base and keep them engaged throughout your business lifecycle is difficult but not impossible. Have patients when you start and slowly start attracting people to your platform. There may be some errors, however, you can understand with the metrics and analytics where you missed out. Once you have figured out what your audience is more likely to engage with you can replicate the strategy in various forms and benefit from it.

2. Be Compelling

Niche-specific content helps you achieve great results. Keeping your audience in mind, develop a brand book that addresses your designers, copywriters, content creators about the tone, colors, fonts, etc. on how to create the content that would actually grab attention.
The longer people stay with you on social media, the easier it gets for you to convert them. Social media platforms help you find your own voice in the clutter of noises.

3. Stay Generous

One of the great ways to generate a following is to give viewers something for free. There are many ways to drive engagement and get a strong boost of sales. The best of them is driving traffic through contests. People love free stuff and they would go to lengths to get hold of it and experience your brand. Don’t forget to provide discounts, special deals to the customers so as to get more users to follow you.

4. Be more than a salesperson

People are not coming on social media to sell something. That is not why social media platforms were built. People come therefore trends, interaction, information. Having a shop there on a social media platform is just a cherry on top. So, don’t treat your customers as customers. Rather interact with them. Push strategic content that drives interaction, that allows customers to talk to you, approach you and connect with you on different levels than just a store owner and a buyer.

5. Lower-priced products

Luxury items are less likely to get sold over social media platforms. It is because people would want some sort of guarantee and would like to see some reliable name from where they can easily connect and buy the product. But if the product is low-priced, great you would be able to see a good engagement and sales going. As per statistics, social commerce platforms are great products that are about $79 to $140 dollars.

This is because people usually would want to try and buy. Secondly, social commerce is fairly new and people would not intentionally come to the platform to purchase. As said earlier, they are interaction driving platforms, having a sell option is just a luxury for retailers.

It is too early to say anything about selling expensive items on social media. But the growth surely shows some positive signs.

6. Automated bot checkout

The customer buy journey has been under speculation for many years. The longer it is higher are the chances of cart abandonment. Having a technologically superior option that shortens the buying journey offers a great user experience. There is no need for useless steps and people can simply checkout, just like in a peer-to-peer transaction.

Also, the shopping experience on social commerce platforms is not that par yet. You have to understand the limitations of what they can actually offer you. You have to make sure whatever is available to you, you are making the best out of it. Automated checkout is just a way to achieve it.

Chatbots have been in our life for a long-time now. They have achieved a lot in the last few years and it has become almost mandatory for every site to have one. Upon launching Facebook Shop, you should check out Jumper.ai. This is a great tool to automate a lot of conversations in the shop. It sorts out your customer service at many levels.

7. Integration of social commerce into your eCommerce platform

Social commerce bears fruit when you have a following, and you would need to build it with effort. Having people that follow you and engage with you gives you an opportunity to drive more people to the platform and make them trust your brand. People that come on your website can be driven to social media platforms to follow you.

Here is a great tool that you can use to drive more traffic to your social media platform and make them follow you. Solwin Infotech’s Social Stream designer is an interesting tool that allows you to add the template design to your social media content and present it on your eCommerce store. Attractive design and acute customization help you in many ways to add more people to join you.

8. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is another way to drive more sales for your business. It is found to increase your sales by 30% according to a report published in Emarketer.

There are various engagement models that you can try to connect influencers with your brands. They would charge you on a per-sale basis or one-time cost and you can be benefitted from all the sales they have been able to give you.

 

Wrapping Up

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Social commerce is one of the primary focuses of many brands. One of the reasons you should do it is because your competitors are doing it. Before your potential buyers search you on search engines they are already converting them and making them their loyal customers.

Categories : eCommerce

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Sanjay Dabhoya

Founder & CEO

Sanjay is an entrepreneur who has been contributing to the overall vision of the organization as a mentor. Apart from being an entrepreneur, he is a developer, trainer and reader. His unique and innovative ideas has helped the organization and the clients to thrive and achieve a progressive business objective.

Read more posts by Sanjay Dabhoya

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