What Can We Learn From Social Commerce?
Driven by our increasing use of social media, especially amongst Gen Zs and millennials, the global social commerce industry is predicted to be worth over a trillion dollars by 2025 (yes, you read that right).
But what is social commerce and what can we learn from it?
Read on to find out why social commerce in Australia is on the rise, and what we can take from the changing landscape to boost sales.
What is social commerce?
Buying online is second-nature to us now. After lockdowns that kept us away from brick-and-mortar stores, shopping online (and having a package arrive on the doorstep at least once a week) has become the norm as we find and purchase the products we want.
Social commerce takes things a step further. Instead of social media pages referring customers to their online store to complete their purchase, social commerce facilitates the buying and selling of products directly within a social media platform.
While platforms like Instagram and Facebook started as a great way of boosting brand awareness and allowing customers to discover products or companies, social commerce brings this full circle: completing the purchase decision in the same place.
An example of social commerce in action might be:
- You follow a clothing brand on Instagram
- They post a photo of a shirt that you like, with a click-through link tagged on the photo
- You click through to the product details
- You buy the shirt directly within the Instagram Shopping feature
Social commerce is important in 2022 because there is no need to venture off-platform — all the action conveniently happens right where you are in that moment.
What are the benefits of social commerce?
There are many benefits of social commerce to capitalise on.
The most obvious benefit is the introduction of a social element to the user experience of purchasing online. Customers can see comments from other shoppers and interact with the brand directly, in the same place as they make their own purchase.
In the same way, marketers can poll their audience and view customers’ profiles — it’s valuable market research, and little effort is required to obtain it.
Another major benefit of social commerce is that the industry is worth nearly $500 billion globally — and we guarantee you want a slice of that pie.
What’s the difference between social commerce, e-commerce, and social media marketing?
With so many terms at play, it can be confusing to pinpoint the difference between social commerce, e-commerce, and social media marketing.
- Social media marketing is using social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote and advertise your brand or product (and here’s why you should use Meta for property marketing).
- E-commerce is a much broader term that refers to any buying or selling of goods online; just think of your favourite in-real-life shopping centre, but everything is online.
- Social commerce is a combination of the two. It involves brands and products being marketed on the same platform as the e-commerce purchasing process takes place.
What can we learn from social commerce?
Whether or not you’re in the business of e-commerce in Australia, there are important things we can learn from the rapid rise of social commerce.
1) Create a seamless user experience
In an increasingly busy world, it’s more important than ever to create easy, intuitive processes for customers. Social commerce is a fantastic example of making the user experience as seamless as possible.
By meeting the customer where they are and taking a mobile-first approach in the apps they’re already using, we lower the barriers to purchase. This is a learning that applies to all companies: identify where the falloff is, make your processes as easy and streamlined as possible for the customer, and they’ll be less likely to turn away.
2) Adapt to changing habits
If the expansion of nearly every social media platform to integrate a shopping feature tells us one thing, it’s that we have to adapt to the changing digital landscape to stay relevant and serve our audience’s needs. Just look at the list of platforms facilitating social commerce:
- TikTok has partnered with Shopify
- Instagram’s ‘Shopping’ feature allows customers to click through to products from posts
- YouTube is encouraging its shoppable tagging feature so much that they’re paying creators to use it
- Facebook Shops is a low-cost option for companies to showcase their products
3) Integrating is possible
A huge benefit of social commerce is that it integrates the process from initial exposure to purchase in the one platform. This proves that we can use social for every step of the sales funnel.
Every company undertaking digital marketing aims to move customers from awareness and consideration to purchase. Social commerce demonstrates how, with a little innovation, we can walk customers through each of the phases without the hassle of moving them between platforms.
How can understanding social commerce help us boost sales?
With the above takeaways, we can see that there’s a lot to learn from social commerce — even if you don’t deal in the e-commerce industry.
If customers need to switch between platforms or navigate away from the pages we want them on, they’re likely to lose interest and end up not converting. Creating the most seamless user experience possible is critical in maintaining consumer attention and building a relationship of trust with your audience, which are both key in ultimately realising a sale.
By keeping on top of changes to the digital landscape, we future-proof our brand and help maintain sales into the future. With contactless and online purchasing on the rise thanks to the pandemic, there will likely come a time when we make bigger purchases — like a car, a holiday, or a house — on our phones.
What does this mean for you?
Trends in social commerce are relevant to all of us because the face of the digital world is always changing, and we need to change with it.