E-commerce has completely changed how we shop, making it easier for consumers all over the world to buy products and services at the click of a button. This is only set to grow with e-commerce sales forecast to reach $8.1 trillion by 2026, but we cannot think about e-commerce without social commerce. We look at the ways brands can really lean into social commerce to increase sales and consumer engagement.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce, also known as ‘social selling’, combines social networking and online shopping. It describes the process in which users can explore, discover, and purchase products or services directly within social media apps, resulting in a seamless and convenient shopping experience. It’s so important for brands to have a social selling strategy in place so that they can reach and sell to more consumers. Here are some examples of how to leverage social commerce for business.
Integration with Platforms
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest have been increasingly integrating e-commerce features directly into their platforms that are designed to help brands reach the right audiences and boost sales. This includes in-app shopping, product tagging in posts, shopping tabs, events and ads. This will only continue to evolve, making it easier for users to shop without leaving their favourite social apps.
Live Commerce and Video Shopping
Live streaming and video content have become powerful tools for pushing products and driving sales. Brands and influencers are leveraging live commerce to engage with their audience in real-time, showcase products, and answer questions. We’re expecting to see far more interactive and immersive shopping experiences through live video in the coming months.
AI and Personalisation
Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in social commerce. It enables better personalisation of product recommendations, as seen with Advantage+ ads on Meta, chatbots for customer service, and even virtual try-on experiences. As AI advances, social commerce platforms will become more adept at understanding user preferences and delivering tailored shopping experiences, which in turn will engage more people and drive more sales.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR and VR technologies are blurring the lines between online and in-store shopping. We’re seeing successful ecommerce brands create more immersive shopping experiences using AR, for example, which allows customers to visualise products in their real environment before making a purchase decision.
Collaboration with Influencers and Creators
Influencer marketing has been a driving force in social commerce. Brands collaborate with influencers as a way of tapping into niche audiences in an authentic and credible way. This can result in increased brand awareness and consideration, but it is critical that the collaborations are executed in the right way, with authenticity and the influencer’s channels and style of content at the forefront. Similarly, everyday customer reviews, photos, and videos have a strong influence on purchase decisions and should be integrated into social commerce strategies to build consumer trust and boost overall performance.
Challenges and Considerations
As social commerce grows, there are things to consider and it will likely face increased scrutiny, particularly around issues like data privacy and consumer protection. Brands will need to navigate this by building consumer trust and having clear data protection processes in place. These considerations will also place greater emphasis on a robust community management and customer service strategy, ensuring queries are responding to quickly and efficiently and customer satisfaction is placed at the heart.
In summary, opportunities are endless for brands when we think about social commerce. The future looks bright, and we’re expecting to see much deeper integration with social media platforms, enhanced personalisation through automation and AI, more immersive shopping experiences, and a focus on brand and collaborator partnerships. Brands that lean into these trends, whilst still placing emphasis on customer safety and protection, will be well-positioned for success. If you’re unsure of where to start with your social commerce strategy or feel like you’re not getting the most out of it, our in-house team of social experts are here to help.
If you’re interested in discussing a social commerce strategy for your brand that will drive real business impact, get in touch with our team of experts today.