What Is Social Commerce?

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What Is Social Commerce?

As social media channels make it easier to integrate your shopping and products on their platforms, how best can these online brands buy into social commerce, what challenges should they be aware of and why, in reality does it matter?

Does Social Commerce Work?

Social media is quickly reinventing itself. While we still use it for catching up on news, connecting with friends and sharing holiday snaps, it’s also becoming a popular way for consumers, your customers to discover and buy products online. According to a recent study, 76% of US consumers have bought an item they saw in an online brand’s post, and in the UK it’s 67%.

People don’t necessarily visit social channels with the intention of shopping, but by interacting with posts that catch their eye they are motivated to explore further – driven by inspiration rather than purpose. Of the 1,000 consumers interviewed as part of the initial research, those aged between 18 and 34 are most receptive to shoppable posts, with half this group agreeing they are interested in learning more about items they spot on social media sites. Overall, 39% of consumers are influenced by user generated content, saying that seeing real life images of people who had previously bought a product make them more likely to buy it.

How Does Your Customer Shop?

Social commerce is successful because it appeals to people’s emotions and wants. Some shoppers act on impulse, with 4% making a purchase immediately online after seeing a product according to the survey results, while just under half (46%) spend time thinking about the item then buy later. 17% go on to buy instore.

Shopping via social media platforms is also extremely convenient. The study found that almost a quarter (24%) of consumers will buy an item if they are taken directly to the product page on the retailer’s website, rather than having to search for it. This is vital as it gives the customer a chance then to view a competitor.

How To Inspire The Online Purchase

This accelerating merge of social and ECommerce reached another milestone this year, with the news that Instagram has extended shoppable functions to its stories feature. More than 500 million people are active on Instagram every day, and brands have enabled Ecommerce by tagging direct links to products on posts for some time.

Instagram stories, which allow individuals and businesses to tell a story through a collection of pictures and video posts, has seen rapid growth since launching in 2016 – and users choose to watch stories to stay up to date about brands they’re interested in, get an insider view of items they like and find out about shiny new things that are relevant to them. So that is great news for brands that are creating some of the most viewed and engaging content on the platform.

Read our article “How To Sell On Instagram”

Make The Most Of Your Social Media

Enabling consumers to purchase products they see at the point of discovery presents an exciting opportunity for brands. However, simply tagging posts is not enough if marketers want to drive meaningful traffic and revenue. To truly make social sell, brands need to grow the value of their content, both brand-created and user generated, and re-use it elsewhere such as in emails, blogs and on their own website.

While social channels should be applauded for developing new ways to strengthen relationships with consumers, brands will benefit from integrating additional strategies to enhance their social commerce performance. By tailoring and refining shopping features on social channels for specific needs, brands can fully prosper from social commerce while providing a pleasurable and meaningful experience for consumers.

If you are reading this and wondering how to link your social media to your ECommerce – or do not have either set up. Contact us here at Search4Local.

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