Change happens slowly and then it hits like a train. Social commerce is much the same; it all started way back in 2005 when Yahoo promoted the novel idea of “collaborative shopping tools”. So, it’s been around for years, but only recently has really kicked into high gear. This is excellent news for you, online shop owner – the easier it is for customers to make a purchase, the better. Strap in while we rocket through the basics of social commerce and how you can use it to your advantage.
What exactly is social commerce?
Social commerce uses social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to sell products and services. By creating “shoppable” posts, people can buy directly from your social media posts without leaving the app. They no longer have to go via your website to purchase your products. Of course, this blows up a whole new world of online shopping and endless possibilities for merchants. According to an article by Sprout Social, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are also developing shoppable solutions. Who wouldn’t?!
Turning window shopping into actual shopping
A couple of years ago, Instagram was most popularly used by influencers and youngsters sharing their daily lives with their friends and followers. Over time, its visually appealing feed and focused curation has become an ideal way to market products, share brand stories, and build communities aligned to the same values. Today, over 500 million active users search and buy products directly from shoppable catalogues on Instagram. It has literally changed window shopping into real, direct sales.
Shoppers are also over the moon because it means they can see something, like it, and buy it instantly. No need for five clicks to go via another website, select the product, add it to a shopping cart, blah blah blah… Shoppable Instagram has changed commerce dramatically. In short, it’s a quicker and simpler purchase path and customer journey.
Businesses use Facebook Business Pages to interact with their consumers, engage them with branded content, and launch new products or services. Why not include shoppable products on a Facebook Shop? You can choose which collections to feature and customise fonts, colours, and images to suit your brand. You can also import product catalogues from your existing online store or via spreadsheets. Have a look at Hootsuite’s handy guide on how to set up your Facebook Shop.
Shop Now on Pinterest
Covid-19 is pretty much the biggest event the planet has seen since the rise of the Internet. It’s also changed the way people shop forever. During April 2020, Pinterest joined other platforms to enable users to shop directly from the platform via a Shop button, allowing businesses to drive more sales. According to TechCrunch, this shift has increased traffic to retailer sites by 230%! Find out how the new Shop tab can drive more sales to your business in this blog post by Later. If you want to learn how to go about creating and setting up your Shop button on Pinterest, look no further. Once you’ve set up your store and Shop buttons, it’s still necessary to promote your shop with paid strategies.
One thing is for sure, shoppable posts and social commerce are here for good, which is great. It’s likely to continue changing the ecommerce landscape as time rolls on. No doubt it will also become more sophisticated as the technology surrounding it improves, with predictive shopping suggestions and AI marketing campaigns not too far in the future. Things are moving fast, make sure you don’t fall behind and land up wherever fax machines went.