How Social Commerce is Benefiting the Development of E-commerce Platforms

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With over 3.8 million people using social media every day, social platforms have become an integral part of life. 

In the past, businesses were trying to divert customers from social media platforms to the main business website. However, with time the need of the hour transferred to customers shopping straight on the social media platform without ever leaving it. It is simply more convenient.

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In this post, we will be discussing what social commerce is and how it is the tool leading in the development of e-commerce platforms. 

So let’s get right into it.

What is Social Commerce

The average time a normal human being uses social media platforms on a daily basis is 2 hours. This time can be used to harness the increased potential of social platforms in creating a straightforward shopping experience.

In layman terms, social commerce can be defined as the activity of shopping on social media platforms without ever jumping from social websites to traditional eCommerce platforms to make a purchase. 

Social commerce is

  • Convenient
  • Less time consuming 
  • Also provides validation to users from friends and family

With changing trends social commerce is the new boy in town. Therefore every business action should incorporate the latest social commerce practices, not only to survive in the competitive world but to earn profits as well by adopting the latest trends. 

Read eCommerce Customer Experience: 8 Tips To Improve your Online Shop

How Social Commerce Is Practiced on Different Platforms

Though there are many social channels where brands can market their products online and interact with customers, we’ll discuss three. And those are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Instagram Shopping

The platform enables shoppers the functionality of direct checkout. In other words, customers don’t have to visit the brand’s traditional website to pay for their purchase.

Businesses can enable Instagram checkout where customers can pay directly on Instagram while buying products from the Instagram feed.

With an Instagram business account, brands made it possible for visitors to shop on this social channel. In this case, customers can buy the same products as shown in the display picture, which creates a heightened shopping experience on the social platform.

Read How Instagram Is Becoming the Future of Ecommerce

Social Commerce - Instagram example

Picture 1. Watch brand MVMT Instagram shop example

Facebook Business Page

On Facebook, brands can create their business store where they can upload complete product catalogs. They can also enable direct payment, so customers never have to leave the Facebook platform to make a purchase.

With a Facebook shopping store, businesses can:

  • Add products to their social store with detailed information
  • Enable direct sell option for convenience
  • Manage shipping and orders
  • Create Facebook ads to promote their online store or newly launched products
Social commerce - Facebook example

Picture 2. Facebook store example

Pinterest Shopping

Pinterest is one of the pioneers of promoting social commerce.

With buyable pins leading to increment in overall sales by 20% and increased page traffic, businesses like to add their product on Pinterest to directly interact with shoppers and gain considerable attraction through visual form content. 

After the launch of buyable pins in 2015, the platform introduced:

  • Shop the look, where customers can buy products shown in the display picture
  • Pinterest catalog where brands can upload a series of products to be featured on Pinterest e.g. a fashion brand can upload their summer special clothing items
Social commerce - buyable pins

Picture 3. Example of buyable pins on Pinterest

How Social Commerce Affects Businesses

There was a time when businesses just needed to maintain a nominal presence on social media platforms to lure in customers from social channels.

But in the present world, a 24/7 social media activity has become a necessity.

Now, it’s not just about replying to their comments. It’s about genuinely interacting with them through intercom communications. Moreover, it’s about providing them a 24-hour support relating to your services.

In 2020, social commerce is far from a brand new phenomenon. But still today there is not much information on how to sail swiftly with social commerce in the frontline. 

Without wasting much time, let’s get right into how you can interact with your customers through wise use of social commerce as your go-to tool.

1. Convenience Is Everything

With over 800 million active Instagram users, it’s easier to divert them from social platforms than creating marketing strategies to lure in fresh customers towards your business websites. 

Social profiles of businesses are equipped with the functionality to redirect customers to their website when it comes to paying for the order. Brands like Shopbop and Sephora successfully incorporated commerce with social interactions.

But what if payment methods can be integrated on social channels? Brands like Nike and Kylie cosmetics are already doing it, but this practice is still not universally accepted. It will definitely result in increased convenience for shoppers who won’t have to hop between apps and websites.

2. Social Commerce Provides Validation from Others

Opinions or compliments always matter to people. As humans, it’s in our nature to feel good when someone respects our choices or ideas.

Customers always like to know that what they purchased has a value. Because of that, they often rely on other people’s opinions. In this context, social commerce plays a great role in exchanging ideas and opinions in real-time on social channels.

Consumers can interact with each other through sharing photos and videos of products they like or want to buy in the near future.

A neutral consumer always looks for a third party opinion before buying any product irrespective of the brand. This is where influencer marketing plays an important role.

Because all of that it has become important for brands to not only share product images, but to create shareable content in a pleasing form on social channels. Brands like Namshi always post visually appealing content on their social feed. This gains more than the usual number of shares from consumers interacting with the brand.

3. Better Communication Between Brands and Consumers

Gone are the days when customers had to call the helpline number just to wait an hour in order to get in touch with a service executive.

Nowadays, customers can easily live chat on social channels with brand support executives if they face any issues with a product.

Besides the communication part, social commerce also provides a More info link for customers. In this way, they can know more about the brand they are making an investment in. 

While the website’s About us section only provides a brief summary of a brand’s ethics and values, customers can always check the social channels to know more about their moral ethics and business values. 

Read Social Media Customer Service Plan – Why Is It Important to Have It?

4. Social Commerce Gives Birth to Visual Bliss

Research has shown that visual content attracts more interactions from users than a textual one. When it comes to e-commerce platforms, creating visual presentations can result in more interactions between customers and businesses.

Since video content is more appealing, a brand can create an attractive image on social channels which can be easily presented to different users.

5. Social Marketplaces Garner More User Interaction

Research shows that one out of three people in the US uses the Facebook marketplace to sell their unused products. The reason is quite simple. Marking your product on a social channel is easy and less time-consuming in comparison to traditional forms of selling goods.

Another reason is a hassle-free interaction between buyers and sellers without any validation of mobile numbers or email ids.

Growth of Influencer Marketing

With more and more customers relying on third party reviews before buying a product, businesses have started investing in influencer marketing. This makes it easier for them to get to leads. In short,  investment in influencer marketing is just a shortcut to gain genuine conversions.

With the development of social commerce practices, influencer marketing is certainly a great way to gain visibility for your newly launched brand or products.

Conclusion

The developments in social commerce decreases the gap between liking a product and buying a product. This is a great opportunity for businesses to sell products in real-time online.

This is certainly an advancement in the shopping industry with consumer-relevant changes seen in the market, rather than business optimized tips and tricks.

With social commerce, shopping has become a lively experience that can be shared with others on your social connections list.

Vasu Arora is the marketing manager at Mabruqq who specializes in lead generation, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and most importantly attracting audiences. When he’s not helping businesses to grow and digitalize, he likes to spend his time playing music.

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How Social Commerce is Benefiting the Development of E-commerce Platforms was last modified: July 16th, 2020 by Martina Pranjic
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