Before explaining what social commerce is, let’s make a premise …
Every seller’s dream is to increase sales.
After trying all the possible marketing activities on e-commerce you may not have achieved the result you have set for yourself yet.
Why? Because to increase your sales you have to offer your products or services where consumers spend most of their time. The answer is social media. So… how social media can be helpful for e-commerce in 2021 and beyond?
Today social media have huge popularity.
According to the Oberlo study,
The usage of social media around the world is ever-increasing. It’s without a doubt one of the most popular online activities that users engage in. Social media statistics from 2020 show that there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is only growing. That equates to about 45% of the current population.
The term was initially launched by Yahoo! in 2005 and today it has become one of the main channels to encourage online shopping. According to eMarketer, social commerce will be the future of selling because social media will increasingly allow consumers to discover and approach brands.
What is Social Commerce?
The definition of social commerce refers to that activity that takes advantage of social media apps and platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to promote and sell products or services.
These three big social networks are the most suitable for social commerce because they have features that allow users to buy directly from the website or app.
On the contrary, the platforms continue to improve and always implement new features to allow companies to invest more.
On the other hand, according to a social media survey, 87% of online shoppers stated that social media influenced their choices.
Social commerce was born in this way, involving e-shoppers thanks to advice and support from online experts. It can be said that the social commerce campaign works effectively when users interact with posts by leaving likes, comments, sharing and buying from you.
Social commerce is a fairly broad term, as you may have noticed. In fact, it contains different types based on the technologies that traders decide to use. In particular, social commerce is divided into On-Site and Off-Site.
Social commerce On-Site
When we talk about On-Site social commerce we are referring to that slice of sellers who include social media sharing features within their website or e-commerce.
These features are no longer limited to mere sharing. Today’s technologies try to make sites more and more performing to ensure an optimal user experience. Among the most interesting features, we find live feeds that show users the purchases in progress at that moment on the site, surveys that help consumers find the perfect product, up to the sharing of what they have just purchased to advertise products, hope others are interested.
As we have already pointed out, social commerce tools allow, first of all, to improve the user experience and make it more real, ensuring that different users interact with each other. But that’s not all, because they also allow you to advertise products on social networks when your customer shares their purchases with the network.
This is a very effective strategy because it keeps the user on the site and encourages them to convert.
Social commerce Off-Site
Unlike On-Site social commerce, in Off-Site social commerce, the sales activities do not take place on the merchants’ websites but outside.
In this case, we are talking about social commerce on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
In fact, it seems that users convert more by exploiting the features present on e-commerce than directly on social media. Although the three platforms mentioned are implementing more and more features for immediate shopping, the majority of users do not visit social networks with the intention of buying.
You are more likely to get more conversions if customers first make a purchase and then share the products with their circle of friends. Social media today are mainly used to discover or follow brands, to interact with them or to receive assistance. For this reason, it is good to evaluate in advance which is the best strategy based on the results you want to obtain.
Off-Site social commerce is suitable for those brands that work purely from social media apps.
Social commerce was first introduced to allow customers to have a less traumatic user experience. Through the Instagram tags on products, for example, users access the payment page directly without having to re-enter a whole series of personal information that is already in the possession of social media.
Secondly, it is important to create a movement around the products or services. The more people learn about other people’s purchases or interact, the more it will be possible to do lead generation and acquire new potential customers.
In addition, you can customize the user experience even more thanks to retargeting, improving the effectiveness of posts and increasing conversions. Social media allow you to carry out these activities directly both on your audience and on users who visit the website.
Finally, social commerce gives merchants the ability to test the sales of products or services on other markets with minimal investment. This is because Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest allow you to reach potential buyers around the world. Today consumers know brands through social media where they can follow the posts and read the reviews left by customers who have already purchased … for this reason it is essential to integrate them into your sales strategy.
There is a macro difference when we talk about e-commerce and social commerce. E-commerce is a website on which products are sold and purchased. The seller offers physical products or services that will be chosen by potential customers through photos and descriptions. Once the purchase is completed by the consumer, the seller takes care of the shipment of the goods.
When we talk about social commerce, however, we are talking about a sales activity similar to that of e-commerce, but which sells thanks to the help of social media. We have also seen that the sale can take place on websites or directly on social networks.
Let’s analyze more specifically the main differences between the two systems on the most important issues that concern them:
- Ease of use: e-commerce, with its functionalities, makes the management and use of an online store very intuitive even for those who do not have particular digital knowledge; taking advantage of social media to sell is even more intuitive because you just need to create an account for the store;
- User experience: customers cannot physically try the products but can compare photos, videos, descriptions and reviews left by other customers and this applies to both methods of sale;
- Marketing: social media, even more than e-commerce, allow you to advertise online and targeted promotions, hitting a well-defined and targeted audience, even with small initial investments;
- Relationship with customers: compared to traditional sales, both e-commerce and social media allows you to build a more solid and lasting relationship with customers; social networks, in particular, allow you to build customer loyalty and increase brand awareness;
It is clear that e-commerce and social commerce are two different activities, which may or may not be complimentary based on the type of business and its degree of development on the web.
All the biggest brands are taking advantage of social commerce.
First of all we can cite the example of Tickettailor, a well-known online ticketing service. On the platform, event organizers can create the event in question by creating a dedicated page, schedule ticket sales and then promote the event on major social media. You will surely have seen one of their ads on Facebook.
The same strategy is used by Groupon, a famous offers site that can be used by local companies nationwide. After creating the offer, it can be shared on social networks directly by the publisher but also by consumers. You can take advantage of the offers precisely because a certain number of people decide to buy a certain service.
The Fancy e-commerce, for example, gives users the possibility to create lists of favorite products from which other users can take inspiration to make their purchases.
Another famous example is Amazon. Among its many features, there is also that of the purchase history so as to allow a person to see what other people interested in that same item have purchased. It also offers incentives for anyone who shares favorite products or purchases made on social media.
Social commerce presupposes the correct management of social pages in order to take advantage of all the features that the platforms have created specifically for companies.
Facebook has created a showcase that allows sellers to advertise their products. This is not real e-commerce, as the purchase must subsequently be completed on the seller’s website or by sending a private message directly on the platform. However, it allows for great visibility.
On the other hand, the system used by extremely visual social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest is different, which makes more use of sharing between users, the creation of lists and advertising that is done by bloggers and influencers.
Through these tools, the user experience has been greatly improved and products and services have gained much more exposure, allowing merchants to increase sales.
If you too want to take advantage of social commerce to attract more and more users and increase your profits, fill out the form you find on the page. The Hitcaliber team is competent and updated using all the social media and has a big experience that allows him to identify the most suitable choice for your business.