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What is social commerce? And how your business should be selling more through social media

25 Mar 2021

While the trend for online shopping wasn’t prompted by the pandemic, the lockdown restrictions certainly allowed it to flourish; and it’s unlikely that we will return to traditional shopping methods any time in the future.

To create a successful online business there are two important things you need: a great product and a streamlined, user friendly journey for the customer to purchase said goods. The business model of e-commerce has been around for a long time – but the latest buzzword around online selling is the art of social commerce.  

So, what is social commerce and how does it differ from e-commerce?
Whilst e-commerce refers to a shopping experience via a dedicated website or app, social commerce is the selling of products directly through social media networks, such as Facebook or Instagram; engaging the customer and allowing them to make their purchase within their social media experience. The entire shopping experience takes place on the social media platform – from targeting a product, researching it and then on to the check-out process – and this route to market is growing at a meteoric rate. 

Take Instagram as an example: there are 500 million daily users, and 60% of users say they find new products to buy on the social media platform. With social commerce, while on their Instagram app the user might see the perfect pair of sunglasses on their feed, and by hitting “Shop Now” they could complete the purchase right there and then. Or, they may spot a new, miracle face cream as they’re scrolling through Facebook – simply by clicking the “Shop Now” button, they could complete the purchase and then continue to enjoy their Facebook experience, without ever leaving the platform.

As the experience is so much more streamlined, thanks to things like autofill for payment and delivery details, it means the purchases rarely take more than a handful of clicks, therefore reducing the chance of potential customers abandoning their purchase and leaving forever.  Most e-commerce journeys are more complex and often rely on being directed away from one platform to another. 

Social commerce makes shopping a social experience as well, allowing consumers to easily consult with their friends on purchases, or spend time engaging with reviews and comments from other people. This particularly appeals to the Millennials and Generation Z who are without doubt the largest demographic to shop this way. 

It’s imperative that to create a great social commerce experience there needs to be the ‘social’ element and engagement with the customer, with the vendor keeping a close eye on comments and shares, and by offering customer service help where necessary. This offers the business a genuine insight into brand awareness and invaluable, honest customer reviews.

Social commerce offers the chance for businesses to target their advertising in a way that traditional e-commerce and marketing cannot; tailoring it so that it reaches those potential customers who will love the product. The future of online shopping is on the incline and has yet to reach its full potential – and with people wanting a more interactive and personalised shopping experience, social commerce will be at the forefront of this retail model.

This quote from Ecommerce Marketing Manager at Kellogg Company sums it up perfectly:
“We know that retailers are starting to see themselves as media platforms and media platforms are starting to see themselves as retailers. That, in essence, is the crux of social commerce.”

If you would like to know more about Attain and how we can help you to increase your sales through social commerce then please get in touch with our Social Media team.  

ATTAIN Digital
ATTAIN, Office G25, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan, WN3 5BA