Social commerce, in a nutshell, is using social media platforms to promote online, digital sales and/or purchases.
The Evolution of Social Commerce
Currently, statistics report close to 50 percent of shoppers find their dream buys through social media. Not surprising. But only 18 percent of them have used a social media “buy button” to bag their find. But that’s changing.
The evolution of social commerce is happening fast, and there are a few reasons for that. Consumers want a quick and easy way to “grab on the go” as it were, when it comes to buying. And window shoppers are increasingly doing that browsing online and via mobile.
Security concerns have been dealt with (for the most part) and generally speaking people are pretty comfortable sharing credit card info, etc. online. And new applications and the use of bots has made making a purchase from social easier than ever.
Social Commerce Equals Social Sales
When you think of social commerce, Instagram and their Instagram Shopping capabilities probably comes to mind.
Here’s how Insta describes what they do: “Tag your products in photos, videos and stories, and turn any of your posts into an opportunity to shop. Once they tap, people will see richer descriptions, additional imagery and related items from your shop – all without ever leaving Instagram.”
People can also save images of products they intend to purchase, if now isn’t the right time for them. Creating a literal library of potential new sales for companies.
Not to be left out, Snapchat also has a visual search/eCommerce component. Shoppers take a picture of a potential purchase, and immediately know via a link if the product is available to buy on Amazon. And last week Google’s Shoppable Ads were all the buzz – sponsored product images that, when moused over, reveal brand, price and other details.
Beyond Facebook Marketplace
One thing is for sure, the “buy button” is going to become more and more prevalent across social media platforms as social commerce – and technology – matures.
Brands have never been more creative when it comes to pairing with social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Influencer marketing is still a big thing, with niche, micro-influencers often providing a much needed boost to smaller brands. BTW, the lower the price of an item, the better the chances of it being purchased via social commerce!
And as digital payment options improve, people scrolling through their highly visual social media feeds are making an impulse purchases. The less friction buyers encounter, the better the odds that social commerce will be a success.
The generation shift is also playing a roll. As Millennials and Generation Zed continue to make up the bulk of social commerce’s audience, eCommerce is going to explode. For these digital natives? Buying a hot new bag or a cool t-shirt via Instagram is a no-brainer.
To Wrap it Up
Social commerce is definitely on big tech’s mind, and I have no doubt it will continue to evolve into an important part of most eCommerce companies’ sales/purchase funnel. It isn’t right for every brand, obviously. But if it is right for you, you would be remiss to not do your research and keep up as the industry shifts.
Social commerce stands to soon become the “new normal” when it comes to e-Commerce for brands.
What are your thoughts? Are you a big digital shopper? Would you click a “buy button” on Instagram or Facebook? If not, why not? I would love to hear your thoughts!