What is social commerce?
Social commerce is the use of a social network community to drive e-commerce sales, and it’s a massive market. By 2027, it is projected that social commerce will drive $604 billion in sales. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have both dedicated “buy now” indicators on ads, as well as live streams run by influencers that are resulting in e-commerce goods being sold out on the regular.
Social commerce has been a game-changer for smaller brands, allowing them to easily compete in crowded marketplaces. However, now big retailers are hopping on board after seeing the rise of social commerce in 2020
Social platforms are creating an ecommerce environment that isn’t only personalized and curated, but brand-friendly. Popular ecommerce platforms, such as Amazon and Etsy, don’t have an easy discovery path for brands and produce thousands of results when a user searches for a single product. This means that businesses have to compete in terms of pricing, shipping speeds, and other factors, leaving little room for brands to nurture emotional connections with consumers.
Social commerce, in contrast, highlights your brand in a more personal way. Instead of being just a product among the crowd, social media allows you to show your brand commandments, your shopper experience, and your brand’s value proposition in a way that is visually engaging. Most importantly, social commerce goes hand in hand with influencer partnerships. From “discovery” to “purchase”, brands can leverage influencers to provide a trustful and streamlined customer experience.
Social commerce solves the agility challenges brands have experienced within other ecommerce platforms. In 2020 Facebook and Instagram both launched tools that help brands offer an enhanced shopping experience including:
- Shops: An online, fully customizable, storefront that allows users to shop directly on your brand’s social media profiles.
- Shopping tags: Tags are a way for businesses to highlight products from their Shop in Stories and in-feed posts.
- Collections: Businesses can group together products to follow different themes or seasons, making up a collection.
- Shopping from creators: Makes the process of shopping products featured in influencers’ posts seamless, the whole process is done in-app.
Influencer Marketing for E-Commerce
The appeal of live shopping is that it provides audiences with a fully virtual shopping experience. We have seen a growing trend of social media platforms launching tools to facilitate live shopping for content creators. Amazon incorporated live streaming as a part of their influencer program, which previously allowed creators to share direct Amazon links with their audiences. Now, they can fully talk to their followers about a product on live video. Similarly, Facebook and Instagram Shops plan to launch features that will allow product tagging during live stories.
Live shopping is a must for brands looking to tap into the power of influencers. It takes all the benefits of influencer marketing to the next level by offering real-time communication between the influencers and their audience. The Chinese market has already jumped on the trend, with 60 million people tuning into shopping live streams.
Micro-learning has been a huge trend on social media platforms this year, particularly on TikTok. By announcing a partnership with Shopify, brands on TikTok can fully capitalize on micro-learning to inform audiences about their products.
Tik Tok influencers have acquired a following based on their ability to pack information into quick bite videos, positioning TikTok in a really great spot for ecommerce. Tik Tok content creators are organically utilitarian, presenting themselves as authentic resources for advice that tackles relatable issues across verticals. By providing creators with the tools to directly link products, they are seamlessly driving users from discovery to purchase.
Moving forwards, we don’t expect this evolution of e-commerce to slow down. 64% of businesses plan to continue their new e-commerce strategies during the course of this year (2021). With Coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions still hanging around businesses are faced with the option to evolve with e-commerce or to stay behind.