Things have changed in the last decade. The omnipresence of the internet has changed the world.
As per one report by Statista, over 4.66 billion active internet users were recorded around the globe, which was more than half of the global population. Social media and eCommerce are two of the innovative outcomes of the internet.
The number of internet users is increasing with each passing day. One report stated that the global internet penetration rate was 59% in 2020 and the figure is increasing every year.
Social media and eCommerce have given birth to a whole new social shopping experience to the customers through social commerce. If you are an online business owner, you might rethink implementing social commerce for your brand.
In this article, I have provided a complete overview of social commerce and how it can help you in 2022.
What is Social Commerce and How Your Brand Can Benefit From It?
Social Commerce is the innovative approach by the savvy marketers that combine the eCommerce with social media. Social media and eCommerce are not new. They have been with us for a while.
The exponential growth and emergence of new social media platforms have led the online businesses to new points of sales to target the potential customers. Social media and eCommerce have amalgamated and allowed the online store owners to sell the products to the customers from a wide audience base.
The social media platforms have also evolved in the last few years to amalgamate with the hype of online shopping. For e.g., Facebook introduced Facebook Shop during the Covid-19 pandemic to allow the small vendors and business owners to take their business online.
In a nutshell, social commerce refers to practice of selling products to the users that are scrolling through the social media platforms.
Social commerce can help your brand in several ways, from improving brand visibility to providing frictionless shopping experience. It is beneficial to reach to the potential customers when they are scrolling through the social media in their leisure time.
Why Social Commerce?
One of the major mistakes that the eCommerce business owners commit is that they ignore the importance of social media. Considering influence of social media on people’s mindset, social commerce is indeed worth the shot for most of the businesses.
Social commerce can transform the traditional shopping experience into a more social experience. Unlike traditional eCommerce, customers are not just limited to solely buying the product for the bills. Altogether putting, customers can show off their new purchases through posts, review products, share them with their friends, put stories, and much more.
No business can afford to lose such a wide audience base and remarketing opportunity for their products. The plethora of social commerce advantages can not be entirely overlooked.
The Social Commerce Hype
Social media has been hailing the internet for a long time now. It has evolved quite in the last few years with the emergence of new platforms that pulled us closer than ever. Also, you can not ignore the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on social media and online shopping.
During the pandemic, tough times forced the people around the world to stay apart from each other, and internet proved to be a boon for the global society. The social media and eCommerce proved themselves to be excellent solutions filling the social emptiness.
People shifted towards online shopping during the pandemic to avoid physical contacts. Social media platforms usage also much increased during the pandemic owing to the lockdowns around the world. That phase of the pandemic has given birth to the wave of social media and eCommerce around the world.
We can expect the same trend to continue in the upcoming years, bringing a massive revolution around the world.
Different Types of Social Commerce Platforms
Over the past few years, social media platforms have evolved well with major update to comply with the social commerce trends. The massive wave of digitalization has endowed the world with new ways to shop online. I have provided different social commerce platforms below.
Chatbots and Messengers
Chatbots and messenger shopping experience are the bandwagons and the renowned brands are already hopping on them. Plenty of reasons are there to go for them.
Chatbot shopping can decimate the number of efforts required by the customers to find their desired product to make a purchase. AI-powered chatbots are smart enough to give compelling product suggestions to customers based on the data.
Although the technology is still burgeoning, many of the eCommerce stores are already on board!
Instagram is one of the most popular photo and video sharing social media platforms, owned by Facebook.
In May 2019, Instagram announced ‘Checkout on Instagram’ that allowed the users to shop through their Instagram Feeds, view the product and complete the checkout step within the platform.
The feature allows the brands to list their products on the platform to reach a wide customer base. Also facilitates easy and on the go shopping experience for the users.
Checkout on Instagram allows the customers to frictionless shop their favourite brands without leaving the platform. Once the user completes the checkout process, Instagram saves the information in the profile, making future checkouts easier.
Shoppable Stories and Stickers
Stories and stickers add to the social media fun. Instagram introduced shoppable stickers and stories that allowed the brands to create CTA for their online stores.
Such functionality also facilitates the influencers to promote brands and products through stories to their fan followers. You can add the stickers to story images or videos that can link to the physical products from the eCommerce inventory.
Brands can use different shopping stickers to promote their products. Instagram provides the option to show a shopping bag icon, product name in rainbow or gray, or translucent text as stickers.
Reasons to Use Social Commerce for Your Brand
Social commerce offers a plenty of benefits to your brand. Listed below are the few important reasons that might persuade you to use social commerce for your brand in 2022.
Larger Audience Base
Social media is ever expanding and is a perfect place to reach to the potential customers. Over 4 billion social media users are there around the world. Being on social media means you are just few steps away from being noticed by millions of users.
Unlike eCommerce, social commerce reaches to a wider range of audience with minimum efforts and marketing.
If you are not reaching to your customers through social commerce, you are missing a major part of your branding. Users prefer to scroll social media during their leisure time and are more likely to get converted to customers. Provide an easy way to shop right from their fingertips using just a few clicks to improve your brand image and your customer’s loyalty.
Therefore, social commerce can influence your brand image and help you speed up branding process.
Target Potential Customers
It is essential to target the correct audience for optimum conversions. Social media platforms can help businesses to target their favourable customer based on various demographics and data insights.
For e.g., eCommerce store selling men’s shoes can target male users of a specific age range and from a specific area for optimum conversions.
Buying online is smoother than ever with the frictionless buying process through social commerce. Customer enjoys smoother online shopping experience with minimum efforts. Social commerce allows the customers to have a ‘See-Tap-Buy’ shopping experience at their convenience.
Generate Social Proof
Online shopping has became transparent than ever before with social commerce. It allows the customers and users to share their valuable reviews that can act as social proof for future buyers.
It can allow the brands to gain reputation, prove authenticity, trustworthiness, and also facilitates the customers to buy products with a transparent shopping platform.
Social Commerce – Things to Consider
Every coin has two sides, and so does social commerce. There is plenty of advantages of using social commerce for your brand along with few disadvantages.
Advantages of Social Commerce
- Remove the Middleman: Social commerce can remove the middleman and can help the brands to reach to the customers directly and interact with them.
- Transparency: Online shopping is more transparent than ever with social commerce.
- Interactive: Customers can opt for interactive shopping through the social commerce platforms.
- Target Mobile Shoppers: Most of the people prefer using social media on mobile phone and social commerce provides the brands to reach to mobile shoppers through it.
- Reach Global Audience: Social commerce covers global audience breaking the language and cultural barriers.
Disadvantages of Social Commerce
- Reduced Website Traffic: Leveraging social commerce can reduce the amount of traffic on the brand site, as people would prefer shopping on social media. This can impact the SEO and overall ranking of the website.
- Time Consuming: The social commerce is focused on the shoppers, not for the business owners. Therefore, it can be time and resource consuming for the brands to maintain their presence over social commerce.
Final Words on Social Commerce
Evolution is the key to success in every species. We can also say the same for the businesses. Novel business strategies and ways are being innovated over time and businesses must evolve themselves accordingly to survive.
Social commerce is an emerging way for the online businesses to thrive in this digital world. Reach to the potential customers is easier than ever with the social commerce. It is the phase for the eCommerce businesses to rethink their business strategy and adapt to the social commerce trends in 2022. Also, it becomes crucial to do so to survive in this competitive ecommerce world.
It is thriving and is has not saturated the market yet. Businesses can grab this opportunity to make their debut in the social commerce market to lead.