You already know that e-commerce is booming.
But what about social commerce?
For years, businesses have primarily used social media for marketing. Now, selling through social media is not just possible—it’s prospering.
Even if you haven’t heard of it before, your company is likely already engaging in social commerce. It falls under the e-commerce umbrella, but it refers specifically to purchases made on a social media platform. Any time you connect a social media post with a product page and end up with a sale, you’re engaging in social commerce.
Social commerce is gradually becoming its own market entirely. Consumers spend more time on social media, and new tools are released regularly to make it easier to complete transactions without ever leaving the platforms.
How can you capitalize on social commerce? We’re breaking down what it is and how to use it in your e-commerce strategy.
What is social commerce?
As we alluded to above, social commerce is when your customers purchase directly on a social media platform, like Facebook or Instagram. It can also include sales made from a social media click.
Social selling is also wrapped up in social commerce, with slight differences. Social selling is when a salesperson reaches out to a customer to engage in the selling process.
The top four social platforms for selling are:
Why care about social commerce?
Social commerce is a growing segment of the e-commerce market, and you should absolutely claim a slice of the pie.
According to Insider Intelligence, US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion in 2022, with more than half of adults making a purchase directly on social media.
And eMarketer predicts it’ll reach nearly $80 billion by 2025. (That’s a big pie.)
There are also a lot of opportunities to improve mobile sales. While mobile traffic contributes to more retail site visits, it doesn’t correlate with retail sales. Cart abandonment is much higher on mobile than on desktop.
Social media commerce helps businesses capture those lost sales.
Many customers already turn to social media to discover new products, check reviews, and ask for advice. Social commerce simply closes the loop by making it easy to buy, too.
Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why social commerce is worth your company’s time:
- Users don’t have to leave whichever app they’re using to make a sale.
- Fewer clicks removes the friction of selling online and leads to higher conversions.
- Consumers are less likely to abandon their carts before completing a purchase.
- The entire customer journey happens within the platform, improving your customer experience.
- You can hyper-target your customers with audience tools available on social media platforms.
Tips for capitalizing on social commerce
Social commerce is already happening all around the world. Put together a strategy now to jump on the growing trend.
Start small with a strategic plan of action.
You’re probably already engaging in social commerce, but there are different things to consider when making it part of your e-commerce strategy. The biggest takeaway? Start small.
- Pick your social platforms: Even if your brand is active across multiple social media channels, start your social selling strategy on just one or two. Not all platforms are great for selling, and you likely have different audiences across each.
- Don’t make it a second store-front: While smaller businesses might be tempted to use Facebook Shops to open their store, larger retailers should hold off on sharing their entire product catalog. Social commerce is primarily driven by small purchases, and offering too many options to your customers can easily lead to confusion and indecision. Start with carefully selected products and add as you go.
- Offer platform exclusives: An easy way to drum up excitement for social commerce products is to make them exclusive to a platform. This can help launch your social commerce strategy while you’re getting started. It’s also an easy way to test your campaigns on different platforms to see what sells.
Lean into social media marketing tactics.
There have been tons of blog posts dedicated to social media marketing, so we won’t dive too deep into it here. But there are a few important tactics to keep in mind while driving sales.
- Engage with your audience: The best thing about social media? It’s social. A great strategy doesn’t just include passive posts. Make sure your team actively asks and answers questions, engages with audiences’ posts, and collects user-generated content. When switching to a commerce strategy, it’s easy to overwhelm audiences with sales messaging. Keeping it social and engaging will keep you from alienating your followers.
- Use influencer marketing: Influencer culture gets a lot of flack, but it’s a proven method for encouraging your audience to engage and purchase from your brand. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Whether you target micro-influencers or the big fish, it’s important to find the right balance between social and selling.
- Test paid advertising: There’s no denying that many social media platforms have turned into pay-to-play channels. Facebook and Instagram especially offer a wide range of ad options that can draw a clear line between advertising and sales. This makes it easy to test out what messages work for your customers and what kind of products work best for in-app sales.
Tap into your customer service team.
It’s likely that you’re already leveraging your customer service team to help answer customer questions on social media. They’re also a great resource to help drive your social commerce efforts.
- Train your customer service team to convert. Consumers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) prefer the casual nature of social media over retail websites and traditional communication channels. So your customer service team should take a different approach to chatting and selling to customers on social media. Create social media best practices, so your team hits the right conversational notes and genuinely connects with your customers.
- Sell in the DMs: When customers reach out for specs, sizing recommendations, and the like, empower your customer service team to complete the sale right within the messaging platform.
- Personalize the shopping experience: Selling in the DMs or through other social methods allows your team to connect personally with your customers. Be friendly, use your customers’ names, and offer personalized recommendations.
- Test and collect feedback: Your customer service team is already primed for collecting customer feedback, and social media is a great place to get quick insights in real-time. See which products will sell on social platforms, what type of messages work, and which purchasing methods your customers are most comfortable using.
Convenience is key.
Convenience is the main driver of social commerce’s success. Customers are able to discover, research, and purchase products without ever leaving their preferred social media app. Make purchasing from your company as easy as possible.
- Provide multiple options to make a purchase: Social media platforms provide a variety of ways for you to capitalize on sales. Facebook and Instagram have shoppable posts, there’s Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Shops, many “link in bio” platforms, and or sell directly in the DMs.
- Use AI chatbots for quick responses: When your customer service team isn’t readily available, your friendly chatbot is there to help. Answer customer questions quickly, so they’re less likely to second-guess their purchases and abandon their carts.
Quiq’s customer service chatbots will help you connect with your customers when you can’t. See what they can do >
Optimize for mobile: Since most social commerce will happen on mobile, ensure your checkout and website experience is mobile-friendly. You want to avoid any kind of inconvenience during the purchase process or risk losing the sale altogether.
Don’t sleep on social commerce
While this term is relatively new, there’s no denying that social commerce is here in a big way. Developing a strategy to capitalize on this new form of selling can give your e-commerce business the edge. Plus, you’ll be able to capture the interest of younger generations as they increase their buying power over the next few years.
Now’s the time to jump on this revenue-boosting opportunity.