In the noisy digital world, brands work overtime to catch their target customers’ attention and entice them to purchase… but it doesn’t always go to plan.
In fact, the average e-commerce store’s conversion rate stands at just 2.17%. The problem? Shoppers today are easily distracted.
Luckily, there’s a way forward: Social commerce.
That’s right, by meeting your consumer in the same place where they’re already spending 145 minutes per day, you can boost your conversion rates and revenue.
In fact, the social commerce market is thriving, pulling an impressive $89.4 billion each year globally, and set to hit a staggering $604.5 billion by 2027. But the best part is the market’s still relatively new, so many brands are yet to get involved — meaning there are tons of opportunities for your brand to shine if you jump in now.
Keen to get on your target customers’ social shopping radar? Stick around as we dive into the top social commerce trends, tips, and tools for success to help your business thrive in the crowded online market.
Looking to bridge that cash flow gap and scale your social media marketing? Learn more about your funding options today!
Social Commerce: What We’ll Cover
- What Is Social Commerce and How Does It Work?
- Why Social Commerce Is the Next Big Thing for E-commerce Brands
- 3 Social Commerce Trends and How They Can Affect Your Bottom Line
- Tips for a Social Commerce Takeover Your Competitors Will Envy
- Make Social Commerce a Golden Ticket for Your Brand
What Is Social Commerce and How Does It Work?
There’s a lot of buzz about social media and a lot of buzz about social commerce.
So, what’s the difference exactly?
What sets social commerce apart from the broader term ‘social media marketing’, is that users purchase items on social media platforms without having to click through to a different website — making the shopping process quick and painless, which has positive knock-on effects on your revenue, and customer happiness.
Social commerce definition: Social commerce, a.k.a. social selling, involves using social media sites to market and sell goods directly from a brand’s social media platforms.
In social commerce, brands create high-quality, captivating content to give shoppers a fast way to buy the product off their digital shelves, with no website redirects in sight.
Ever noticed that handbag icon in the corner of an Instagram post?
Then you’ve witnessed social commerce in action. But it’s not only the super-organic way social commerce shopping carts pop into a shopper’s UI.
Other examples of social commerce can include:
- Shoppable stories, posts, videos, and ads
- In-app shopfronts
- Social links, tags, and stickers you can buy from
- Third-party plugins and apps with selling capabilities
Why Social Commerce Is the Next Big Thing for E-commerce Brands
Chances are you’ve already got your hands full with your primary (and maybe even secondary) selling channel — so should you take on even more responsibility with a social commerce platform?
In short: Heck yes.
Social commerce is a selling beast in its own right and has the results to show it. For example, 54% of Instagrammers purchase products or services in-app or straight after seeing them on Instagram.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why social commerce is the next can’t-miss opportunity for e-commerce brands:
Meet your prospects where they are, online
To succeed in e-commerce, customers must come first. That means getting under the fingernails of their decision-making and shopping habits.
When most people wake up, some of the first things they do are:
- Browse social media
- Check their messages
- Look through their emails
Today’s shoppers are an inherently social bunch and often repeat these actions throughout the day. In fact, 46% of people in the US admit they check their phones before they even get out of bed in the morning. 😲
By joining them where they hang out online, your brand can close more revenue, right on the front line.
A seamless purchasing experience is a huge benefit to your customers
These days, customer expectations are sky-high — so to keep them happy, you’ve got to pull out all the stops.
The best way to smash customer expectations? Via an unforgettably smooth customer experience on your social media-based store.
Since social commerce combines the personalized experience of social media browsing with online shopping, it’s more immersive than buying on a pureplay e-commerce website. This enables you to forge deeper customer relationships and allows shoppers to develop an affinity with your brand. 🙌🏻
In social commerce stores, visitors are guided through a seamless customer journey all in-app, meaning a more streamlined approach, reduced friction in the sales process, and greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Smart, segmented growth
Social media continues to experience massive growth.
In 2020, the worldwide social media user base stood at 3.6 billion and could reach an enormous 4.41 billion by 2025. E-commerce shows no signs of hitting the brakes either, with over 2 billion people purchasing online and global sales hitting a record-breaking $4.28 trillion in 2020.
Why is it so successful?
Social commerce combines the best of both worlds, expertly blending social media’s much-loved interactive traits with intuitive online shopping so brands can capitalize on the e-commerce gold rush in style — meaning growth in audience size, engagement, leads, and sales. You can also reach and test new audiences while serving your money-making segments, so you sustain your results while you expand. Nice! 👌🏽
3 Social Commerce Trends and How They Can Affect Your Bottom Line
Who doesn’t love having some extra cash in their pockets, especially when it’s coming from one of the newest and coolest channels on the e-commerce block?
But while this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s not all kittens and rainbows.
There’s a price (or three) to pay when you take on a social commerce channel.
Let’s zoom in on some of the trends and the financial responsibilities that come with them.
- Your cash register might not stop ringing. Can you handle it?
We’ve already established that social commerce is on the rise.
For brands who are able to build marketing assets, social commerce integrations, and customer support that help shoppers find and buy the products they want, increased revenue is practically a given.
But remember, the extra demands on your marketing and staffing budget mean you’ll need to pay extra attention to your cash flow in order to cover additional stock, technology, supplies, and storage requirements.
- Embrace chatbots and messaging apps to optimize customer experience
In order to win with social commerce, you have to do what it says on the tin: be social.
To succeed as a social seller, you need to make sure your brand is always available. Think: helpful bots that guide your visitors through the customer journey, or (live) messaging apps ready to answer any questions your prospects and customers have.
Social selling also allows you to break the ice with customers and humanize your brand. Soon, they won’t see you as just another faceless store but as real people with real missions and values — a living, breathing brand worthy of their loyalty.
But there’s a catch: You need to finance these customer service upgrades, and they don’t come cheap.
Depending on your growth goals, you may need one or more of the following CS assets:
- A part-time or full-time customer service rep
- Automated chatbot software
- E-commerce Manager or administrator to update your store
Without proper planning, these new support systems could drain your accounts dry — especially as you wait for those notoriously unpredictable disbursements from your merchant channel provider(s).
Revenue advances can help tide your business over in these situations, but it’s always a good idea to plan these expenses into your budget to see if there’s room before you seek external funding.
Worried you might overstretch with your social commerce expenses? Discover how our revenue advances can help!
- Up your content game to win
If there’s one thing you have to get right in your social store, it’s your content.
These assets are your mini sales reps that go out into the social media world and sell your story to get people through your doors.
Customers using social commerce benefit from high-quality images and videos to find inspiration for their purchases, lifestyle, and goals. In fact, image-based content is so critical that researchers have found people only remember 10% of the information three days after hearing it, but this figure shoots to 65% when paired with an image.
To knuckle down on great content and boost your return on investment (ROI), here’s what to do:
- Research what makes your audience stop and pay attention.
- Put your own unique spin on your brand content to make it instantly recognizable and attributable to your brand.
- Develop a content plan and digital asset bank with things like product imagery, email campaigns, etc. that you continue to refill and repurpose.
For content creation to be sustainable, you’ll need to have a steady budget for photography, collaborations, and marketing software. If you aren’t planning to jump into social commerce quickly, you can start a sinking fund and then use the profits to fund future content requirements.
And if you needed funds yesterday (don’t worry! It happens to every entrepreneur 😅), you can look into working capital funding to help you out.
Tips for a Social Commerce Takeover Your Competitors Will Envy
Use storytelling to increase your staying power
Social media’s accessibility means there’s a lot of noise on social platforms — everyone and their dog seem to have an account, and some are making a killing.
To get noticed, you’ll need to go hard or go home. Here’s how:
- Build a concrete brand story.
- Push it out consistently across your social channels, social commerce profiles, and stores.
- Use storytelling to get your target customers’ ears.
- Make your brand one they can’t and don’t want to forget.
Make scroll-stopping content
Remember, users don’t come to the platform to buy. They come to look, chat, and get inspired.
That means your content needs to be awe-inspiring enough to convert users from window shoppers to credit-card-waving buyers. Here are some things you can do to jumpstart customer engagement:
- Enlist the help of micro-influencers: Micro-influencers tend to have smaller followings than big names. However, they also have higher engagement rates and can help you explode your reach and attain new growth.
- Choose the right tools: Use a dedicated influencer marketing tool like Upfluence or Grin to manage your campaigns effectively and uncover your most profitable content, influencers.
- Get a little help from your customers: User-generated content (UGC) is also immensely powerful in gaining your audience’s trust. This is because people view UGC as 2.4x more authentic than brand-made content. Use it in as many places as you can in your online presence.
- Be social: Don’t forget to use a social media scheduling tool like Later or Hootsuite to ensure you never miss an opportunity to post.
Get social proof from reviews and testimonials to build brand authority
Social proof tells the world you mean business and can be the difference between closing a sale or visitors moving on to your better-established competitors.
When your customers come to bat for your business, it shows you’ve done an excellent job and care about your customer’s satisfaction.
Watch your finances to keep your ROI steady
To make social commerce a long-term revenue producer, you need to organize your back-end processes. This setup will enable you to optimize your inventory spread for greater efficiency and ROI. 💪🏼
To maintain full visibility of your stock levels and distribution, you’ll need an inventory management system that has inbuilt accounting software, sales platforms, suppliers, and warehouses (or offers integration features). Flieber, Brightpearl and Oracle NetSuite are just the ticket.
Make Social Commerce a Golden Ticket for Your Brand
Social commerce combines two titan industries: social media and e-ommerce.
The result? A selling powerhouse that ups your brand’s clout and pulls in sales.
But social commerce isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to work doubly hard to create an inspiring and engaging customer journey that generates sales.
Don’t be afraid to seek help to get the content, customer service, tools, and funding you need to succeed. And be sure to check your accounts to ensure you can afford them now and in the future.
The social commerce opportunity is ripe and ready for daring, ambitious entrepreneurs (like you) who want to make their mark as a leader in their niche, build a raving fan base, and skyrocket ROI.
Ready to take on social media with your e-commerce brand? Discover how our flexible funding options can help.