It’s mindblowing to see how many e-commerce businesses are not participating in social commerce, as they are most likely losing out in substantial revenue! But don’t worry, social media is evolving rapidly and now that you’re found this blog, we’ve got you covered with social commerce 101… 


Then:

Businesses using social media to conduct market research, improve customer service, create a community and ultimately market their brand.


Now:

Brands and businesses combining e-commerce with social media, using it as an extension of their online shop, and opening the door to an additional stream of revenue.


This is called social commerce, and the market is unsurprisingly surging, with 70% of consumers searching for products they need to buy on Instagram and Facebook... Google beware! Although, at the moment, only a few of the top social platforms offer social commerce, which we’ll discuss shortly. Nonetheless, as the interest (and market) grows, we’ll soon see more of these social media brands introducing ‘shop now’ options. 


Why Should your Business be Interested?


Well social commerce is the process of selling products directly on social media. This means the entire shopping experience - from product discovery to the check out process - doesn’t even require the customer to exit the social media platform. It’s very much a seamless ‘see it, click it, buy it’ process. Therefore, social media shops remove friction from the consumer journey, making it easy to follow through from the discovery stage to purchase. In summary, you sell a lot more products!


So yes, whether it’s your new clothing-line hat designs popping up between family photos, or your full product range displayed right in your profile, these are shopping opportunities capturing your target market’s attention on the social platforms your audience use most. And you should be taking advantage of it. 


It makes perfect sense for any e-commerce business to bring their goods to the online spaces where your customers are already hanging out. And If your target demographic lies within the 18-to-34 age range, they’re especially already online and waiting to shop while they scroll!


Getting Started


If you want to sell on Instagram (which I desperately recommend you do), you’ll need to have a ‘business account’ and also set up a Facebook shop first, as Instagram will simply then pull data from your Facebook catalogue. You’ll find a brief step-by-step process on our recent @insightlabuk Instagram post.


Another social platform which offers social commerce (kind of), is Pinterest. for business accounts, Pinterest offers the option to create ‘Product Pins’, which are displayed in your brand’s Pinterest Shop. However, upon checkout, you will be sent out of the app to the e-commerce website to complete the sale there. So is Pinterest still a relevant tool for social commerce? Of course! Especially on the basis that 89% of Pinterest users are there for shopping inspiration.


Lastly, in July last year, Snapchat announced the launch of ‘Brand Profiles’. With one of the profiles’ features being a ‘Native Store’ experience, powered by Shopify! This enables users to browse and purchase right from the app, with ‘swipe up to shop’ capabilities.


Just before you get too enthusiastic and run off to set up your social commerce store, or tell your colleagues about this revolutionary social media feature, let me just share some important tips which I’ve learnt during the last few years of my social media marketing hobby. 


Firstly, be social for crying out loud! Just like how posting and not interacting doesn’t grow your social media, you can’t only upload your catalogue and then expect it to grow revenue itself. Remember the ‘social’ part… answer questions, ask questions, post stories, share stories, provide interesting/useful content, be human and authentic, etc. 


Secondly, in the midst of all this socialising, remember to listen. Keep an ear out for comments and activity on your commerce shop, and offer customer service when needed.


Thirdly, the smoother you make the purchasing process, the more likely someone will be to follow through with it. So strongly consider what unneeded areas of stutter you can remove to make the process seamless. Such as, making sure the product description covers all the necessary details, appling autofill features in the purchase process, and possibly even setting up a chatbot to answer FAQs. 

Overall, it’s not difficult to see the potential of social commerce, you’re essentially adding your products onto another platform, which already has billions of users, for no cost. However, I hope to have also provided an InSight on what’s required to do this successfully, as doubling your revenue through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat stores is no simple guarantee. It requires time, dedication, knowledge, and possibly money (for any advertising you undertake), however, this kind of guidance and expertise is exactly what we, at the InSight Lab, are for. 

If you love growing revenue as much as we do, then let's have a phone call - we’re real people who like to talk about opportunity, and monetise brands through social media. 


Published on:

Thursday, April 29, 2021