Social commerce isn’t just the latest buzzword in e-commerce. It has been around for a few years, gained ground as early as 2015, but accelerated to the fore when the Covid-19 pandemic struck almost two years ago. Last year, social commerce generated around $ 474.8 billion in turnover, representing nearly 40 percent surge in sales. Since then, more and more brands have embraced social commerce as a major asset in their ecommerce toolkit to support their omnichannel commerce strategies.
But what is it exactly? Simply put, social commerce is the intersection of e-commerce and social media. It’s about leveraging a brand’s social platforms for sales, creating a seamless buying path within the app. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, everyone’s favorite social media platforms have become lucrative sales channels for all brands that venture into social commerce.
Popular implementations of social commerce range from small shops on the platform to large marketplaces and in-app buying campaigns that drive traffic directly to a brand’s direct or indirect channels. Now that it has turned out to be more than a passing fad, we know that the future of e-commerce is one with social commerce firmly anchored at its heart.
As businesses look beyond the holiday season and into 2022, now is the time to consider a social commerce strategy that connects brands with consumers in a more personalized and transparent way than ever before.
Social commerce is not a competitor of e-commerce, but another important extension of it.
It shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, social commerce works best when it’s interconnected with a brand’s existing sales channels, from its online storefront to its in-store presence.
Nowadays, social networks are the best choice to conduct brand research among consumers aged 16 to 24, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the purchase will always happen on the spot. A consumer can make their buying decision from a brand’s social media, but still decide to buy the product in-store or from a trusted business partner.
However, the easier the purchase options and the payment process, the more likely the consumer is to complete the purchase entirely through social media or at least follow the purchase path to the brand’s other channels. Easily available ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Where to Buy’ buttons on social media simplify the shopping journey for consumers, and with increased investment in social commerce, they are likely to become more and more common over the next year. .
A standard 97 percent of Gen Z consumers say social media is their main source of inspiration for shopping, while 62 percent of consumers aged 13 to 39 want to purchase items directly from their social media feeds. Almost two-thirds of buyers surveyed by Google said that mobile-friendly purchasing methods are key to deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.
Because of this, brands that make the mistake of creating online storefronts that work best on computers lose customers before they even reach the checkout. Social commerce, on the other hand, offers a seamless shopping path from navigation to checkout, whether consumers search for fashion on Instagram or potential Christmas gifts on the Facebook pages of local retailers.
Businesses of all sizes should view social commerce as a lucrative source of income – it’s not just for the big guys.
One of the most fundamental qualities of social media is its ability to connect with target consumers. Research indicates that 72 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social media, they’re more likely to become a loyal customer.
Every holiday season there is a willingness to shop local and support small businesses. This trend is even more common on social media since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting challenges for small retailers.
Here, social media is particularly valuable: the more you connect with your customers online, the more likely they are to use the shopping channels offered. Sixty-two percent of consumers say they trust small and local businesses more than large retailers, and considering Gen Z’s confidence in big business is low But social media usage is high, social commerce provides the perfect place to boost consumer engagement with demographics. It also allows big brands to promote and help their local business partners generate more business through their indirect channel.
In many ways, social media platforms are democratizing the playing field between small and large businesses, and this social commerce superpower is why more brands should consider investing in it in 2022.
Looking to the future, the global social commerce market is expected to reach $ 2.9 trillion by 2026. It’s clear that young consumers are shaping social media and shopping trends, with hashtags like #tiktokmademebuyit popular online. Likewise, influencers will be important players in the future of social commerce, with 35 percent of respondents saying they trust what their favorite influencers have to say or recommend, and Gen-Z is particularly likely to make their purchase on social media for this reason.
However, both Generation X and Baby boomers are avid digital shoppers, especially on Facebook, which, followed by Instagram, is the leading platform for social commerce. While purchases and trends may vary from generation to generation, the common thread is that social media is a popular place to follow and engage with brands, regardless of age.
To prepare for a future where social commerce continues to thrive as a foundational function of e-commerce, brands need to look to their existing channels, direct and indirect, and determine how they can complement each other. Don’t compete with each other. Increased investment in social media will now boost consumer engagement and create fertile ground for the rise of social commerce – something that will be appealing to both old and new customers.