Remember what it was like to go shopping at the mall? You’d walk into a brick-and-mortar store, select your items from the aisles and check out at the sales counter. Not anymore. Today’s landscape is vastly different because consumers demand a more curated experience wherever and whenever they shop. Enter social commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
According to Accenture, social commerce is “the integration of social experiences and ecommerce transactions in a single path to purchase, enabled by a single platform.” Sandie Hawkins, TikTok’s GM of North America Solutions, says it best when she describes social commerce as “word of mouth on steroids.”
What makes it so different from other forms of ecommerce is the fundamental power shift from retailers and brands to people. People want products and services from someone they trust, and social commerce provides an enhanced shopping experience by leveraging social media to deliver connection and authenticity.
The Explosion of Social Commerce
A positive outcome of the pandemic is the rapid growth in ecommerce — and social commerce is no exception. Accenture estimates that the social ecommerce opportunity will nearly triple by 2025 to reach a whopping $1.2 trillion, accounting for almost 17% of the total ecommerce spend.
In the U.S., social commerce will more than double, reaching $99 billion by 2025, with the biggest opportunities in industries like home décor, apparel and consumer electronics. But how can you successfully drive discovery, engagement and purchase through platforms like Instagram or TikTok? The secret weapon is content.
Why is Content Important for Ecommerce?
Whether users view personalized recommendations on Instagram Shop or attend a shoppable show on Snapchat, unique content sets brands apart. That’s because content drives engagement and conversion. But beyond that, it’s about connecting with consumers to provide them with valuable information and build long-term relationships.
Consumers discover products through in-feed ads, livestream video feeds, influencer posts and more. So to drive revenue on social commerce, brands need to get noticed. Compelling visual content is king, whether it be interactive imagery or a trendy dance video on TikTok. Consumers also expect detailed product information that showcases user-generated content, live video and reviews. Ultimately, social commerce accelerates buying behavior by serving the right offer to the right customer at the right time.
What are the Benefits of Social Commerce?
Social commerce presents a unique opportunity whereby companies could capture the attention of consumers of all age groups, some for the first time. The ability to create brand awareness for age groups spanning 10 years and older is astounding. Here are some benefits of social commerce to keep in mind when thinking about this unique opportunity:
Increased customer engagement.
Social commerce opens a two-way communication channel between your brand and potential shoppers. Users are more likely to read reviews and comments from previous customers on social media, which further enhances your credibility and helps them make an informed decision. To go even further, sites like Instagram help you build a seamless shopping experience. So with just a few clicks, shoppers can go from inspiration to purchase without navigating off the platform.
Building a consistent audience is the primary goal behind social commerce. New users join Instagram, TikTok and other social networks each day. For example, in 2021, an estimated 400 users signed up to Facebook every minute. Using the right methods to connect with users encourages them to resonate with your brand. As a result, they’re more likely to recommend your products and ultimately make a purchase.
Higher likelihood to buy.
With people using social media more often, they’re spending more time shopping. A Sprout Social survey revealed that 71% of consumers used social media more in the last year than in the past, and 34% admitted to using that time to learn about brands, products and services. So not only does social commerce help build awareness, but it also makes users more likely to buy: 80% of those surveyed say that brand familiarity makes them more likely to purchase products on social. In addition, the data shows a positive correlation between time spent on social media and the likelihood of purchase based on brand familiarity.
With social media usage up, it’s no surprise that consumers turn to sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to research products and services. The future of selling is social, so you’ll need a content partner with valuable tools to help you sell your products more efficiently via social media. Solutions like inriver PIM can help you reach your buyers wherever they are and deliver an engaging, consistent customer experience across all your channels. Omnichannel commerce means social too; don’t let the opportunity pass you by.
Ryan Breitenbach is an experienced client success professional, mainly working in the start-up SaaS space. He has spent the last six years building relationships and trust with companies like Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Newegg, Office Depot, Amazon, Kroger and Overstock to establish a culture of efficiency between brands and retailers alike. As Senior Channel Account Manager at inriver, Breitenbach is focused on enhancing the relationship between global retailers and marketplaces to improve content delivery and streamline processes to optimize revenue and the customer experience.