Social commerce is a rapidly growing trend in the world of e-commerce, as businesses are now leveraging the power of social networks to reach customers and increase sales. By using user generated content such as reviews and ratings on platforms like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest, businesses can build brand loyalty by engaging with customers on an interactive level. This type of commerce also helps businesses gain insights into customer behaviour that can be used to inform future product development decisions. With the help of social commerce, companies have greater access to their target audience than ever before; allowing them to create more meaningful connections with potential customers.
- 1 What is social commerce?
- 2 What’s the difference between social commerce and ecommerce?
- 3 How social commerce began
- 4 What are the benefits of social commerce?
- 5 What are social commerce trends for 2023?
- 6 What are the best social commerce platforms to use in 2023?
- 7 3 social commerce examples you can learn from
- 8 6 ways to increase sales on social media
Social commerce is a combination of social media and e-commerce that utilizes user generated content such as reviews, ratings, and comments to reach customers on popular networking sites. It takes advantage of the interactive nature of social networks by engaging with customers on an individual level in order to build brand loyalty. This type of commerce has grown exponentially in recent years due to its ability to reach larger audiences and create more meaningful connections with potential customers.
Read this article for an introduction to social media marketing.
The main difference between social commerce and ecommerce is that the former utilizes user generated content to reach customers through social media platforms. With ecommerce, businesses have limited access to their target audience and rely solely on traditional marketing methods such as television and radio ads. Social commerce on the other hand, allows businesses to engage with customers in a more direct, personal way; creating stronger relationships with customers that can lead to increased loyalty and sales.
The concept of social commerce began in the early 2000s when businesses started to recognize the potential of using social networks as a marketing platform. As technology advanced, so did the capabilities of social media; allowing businesses to reach larger audiences and engage with customers on an individual level. Over time, more and more companies began utilizing user generated content such as reviews and ratings to reach potential customers on social networks.
There are several key benefits of using social commerce for businesses, including:
By leveraging the power of user generated content and engaging with customers on an individual level, businesses have seen an increase in sales as a result of utilizing social commerce. This type of interactive marketing allows companies to build brand loyalty and gain insights into customer behaviour that can be used to inform future product development decisions.
Improved customer engagement
Social media provides businesses with the opportunity to engage with customers on a more personal level, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. This type of marketing allows companies to build relationships with customers and create more meaningful connections, which can lead to increased sales over time.
Increased brand loyalty
By engaging with customers on a personal level and providing valuable content, businesses have seen an increase in customer loyalty as a result of social commerce. Customers are more likely to purchase from brands they trust and have a positive relationship with; making it essential for businesses to foster these relationships.
Growth of micro-entrepreneurs
Social commerce has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. The low overhead costs and ease of access to potential customers have allowed many entrepreneurs to launch successful online micro-stores without the need for traditional advertising, or even website development for brands just starting or running on a very tight budget. This has opened up a new avenue of opportunity for those looking to get into ecommerce. However, there are multiple benefits to having your own website, and if you are looking to build one without exceeding a budget, you can read about the top free ecommerce website building platforms.
As technology continues to evolve and develop, so do the capabilities of social commerce. Here are some recent trends that have been seen in this space:
User generated content to build trust
The use of user generated content such as reviews and ratings has been increasingly popular in recent years, as it provides customers with the assurance that a product or service is reliable and trustworthy. Companies can also leverage this type of content to foster relationships with customers and build trust over time.
Micro-Influencers on the rise
Being a social media influencer was never as lucrative as brands are now realising the many benefits of influencer marketing. The use of micro-influencers has been gaining traction in recent years, as businesses recognize the potential of using smaller influencers to reach niche audiences. Micro-influencers generally have more dedicated followings and are seen to be more relatable than larger influencers, making them ideal for building relationships with customers.
Augmented reality experiences
The use of augmented reality (AR) is becoming increasingly popular in social commerce, allowing customers to virtually try on products before they purchase them. This type of technology can help businesses increase customer engagement and satisfaction, as well as reduce the risk of returns due to incorrect sizing or colour.
Video content to showcase products
The use of video content has been gaining traction in the social commerce space, as it provides businesses with an opportunity to showcase their products in action. Videos are also more engaging than static images, which can help to capture the attention of potential customers and increase sales.
AI chatbots to improve customer experience
The use of AI chatbots has been on the rise, specially after the advent of ChatGPT, as they provide customers with a more efficient and personalized shopping experience. These bots can engage with customers in real time and answer their questions quickly and accurately, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Livestreaming to increase engagement
Livestreaming has become increasingly popular on social networks, as it allows businesses to showcase their products in real time and engage with customers. This type of technology can also be used to create interactive experiences, such as live Q&A sessions or product demonstrations, which can help businesses build relationships with potential customers.
Frictionless shopping experience
Social commerce is also becoming increasingly focused on providing customers with a frictionless shopping experience, allowing them to purchase products quickly and easily without having to leave the platform. With Instagram shop, WhatsApp shop, and Facebook marketplace getting more feature rich and gaining traction, businesses have more opportunities to reach customers and increase sales.
Globally, the most popular social media platforms in 2023 are Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Pinterest. They are also likely to be the most prominent social commerce platforms because everyone you want to market to, is on these platforms. However, a lot of ecommerce features available globally have not yet been introduced in India by these platforms giving rise to a new breed of startups that are taking social commerce to the next level. Startups like Meesho, Shopsy and Dealshare have created strong platforms for Indian sellers and resellers enabling them to leverage social media sites for selling products with ease.
The top social commerce platforms in 2023 globally are:
- Instagram – allowing businesses to create an online shop and shoppers can browse products and purchase directly from within the platform.
- Facebook – offering businesses a range of ecommerce features like marketplace, shoppable posts, product catalogs, and more.
- WhatsApp – introducing features such as ‘WhatsApp Business’ and making it easier for customers to chat with businesses directly. There are a lot of apps built on top of WhatsApp that use the WhatsApp API to deliver conversational ecommerce experience within WhatsApp itself.
- Pinterest – offering a visual search engine through which customers can discover products related to their interests.
Here are the top social commerce platforms to use in India in 2023:
- Meesho – It is an Indian e-commerce platform that provides social commerce tools and services for small businesses and resellers allowing them to sell products directly on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram & other social networks.
- Shopsy – It is a mobile-first platform which enables merchants to set up their own stores on WhatsApp and other social networks. They provide a range of features such as product catalogs, payment gateways, automated chatbots and analytics tools which make it easier for small businesses to reach out to customers.
- Dealshare – It is an Indian e-commerce platform that provides comprehensive solutions for sellers and resellers to create their own stores on Facebook, Instagram & other social networks. They also provide tools such as automated chatbots, product catalogs and analytics tools which help stay ahead of the competition.
There are a lot of companies doing some amazing things with social commerce. Here are three examples you can learn from:
- Sephora – Sephora has done a great job of creating an interactive shopping experience on their Instagram account through shoppable posts and stories, allowing customers to purchase products directly from within the platform.
- Patagonia – Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company, is leveraging user generated content (UGC) reviews and ratings on its Facebook page to engage with customers, increase sales and build brand loyalty. They also have a great Pinterest page that mimics their website navigation to provide a unified user experience for their visitors.
- Nike – Nike has been able to create a strong connection with its customers by leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Their campaigns have focused on inspiring their audience and creating an emotional connection with their customers.
Your store is set up and you are ready to start selling on social media. Here are six ways you can increase sales through social commerce:
- Create a product catalog – Use tools such as Meesho, Shopsy and Dealshare to create a product catalog on your Facebook page or Instagram account where customers can browse products and purchase directly from within the platform.
- Leverage user generated content – Make use of UGC reviews and ratings to engage with customers, increase sales and build brand loyalty.
- Personalize the shopping experience – Use chatbots to provide personalized customer service and automated recommendations for products that match their interests.
- Offer incentives – Reward customers for making a purchase or referring friends to your store by offering discounts, free shipping or other incentives.
- Promote products on social media – Utilize the power of influencer marketing and create compelling visuals that showcase your product in an attractive way.
- Use data to learn what works – Use analytics tools to gain insights into customer behavior and optimize your campaigns for maximum impact.
Social commerce has become an essential tool for businesses to reach customers and increase sales. By leveraging the power of social media, you can create a more engaging shopping experience, build loyalty among customers and increase sales. With the right strategies in place, you can maximize your success on social platforms and reap the benefits of this powerful technology.
Are you struggling to increase sales for your online D2C brand? Do you want to see how social commerce and other digital marketing techniques can help you achieve your goals? Brandshark is a creative digital marketing agency, and we have supported and delivered results for many D2C companies using social commerce, search engine optimization, social media marketing, performance marketing, and other digital techniques. Contact us today to find out how we can help your brand.