Shopping behaviours have transformed in the past 20 years and are constantly evolving. Your business having a social media presence, on relevant platforms where your audience is engaging, has long been essential. However, with the emerging trend of Social Shopping dominating online purchases, merely a presence is no longer enough.
So what exactly is Social Shopping? It’s where eCommerce meets Social Media, allowing products to be sold on social platforms. Shoppers can start the inspiration and discovery phase of their purchasing journey all the way through to the checkout process, without even having to swap apps.
If you’re an eCommerce business owner, here at InSynch our experienced specialists can either run or consult on your complete Social Media strategy, including establishing your social shopping presence. Read on to find out why it’s essential!
An already declining high street was further accelerated by the pandemic, which according to IBM’s Retail Index, quickened the inevitable shift from physical stores to eCommerce by roughly 5 years.
According to Statista, internet retail sales increased by over 46% in 2020, the fastest rate recorded in the past decade, with as high as 87% of UK households making online purchases, arguably out of necessity due to lockdown restrictions and shortages.
This intent to shop digitally strengthened even once shops had opened again in the Summer. In May 2020, during the height of lockdown, ChannelAdvisor reported that 42% of UK online shoppers said they’d shop digitally more in future. By August, the month after nonessential stores reopened, that proportion had risen to 55%.
Combined with increasing Social Media use during the pandemic, platforms are capitalising on this growth by rolling out and developing shopping features. Hence, introducing the Social Shopping phenomenon!
Struggling to know where to start? Let’s explore what platforms offer which business features, and why you should be utilising them:
Facebook promises to bring your brand to life and make shopping seamless for your customers, with customisable collections and simple design tools. As long as you have a business Facebook page connected to your website, you can easily import catalogues of products. As Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can pull data from existing Facebook catalogues to create your Instagram shop, making your products easier to discover across multiple platforms.
“70% of users discover new products on Instagram”Instagram
As a more visually orientated platform, Instagram content enables an interactive shopping experience that deepens a customer’s connection with your brand. On both platforms, products can be tagged in either your own or user-generated content, which when clicked on will direct a customer to a specific product page. Customers have the ability to browse and purchase using the in-app checkout feature.
Commerce Manager provides insights to see what’s working and what needs improvement. Using these trends and performance metrics, you can make informed decisions on how you set up collections, shoppable content and ads.
When you think Pinterest, think shopping inspiration, as that’s exactly what 72% of Pinners use the platform for. In response to this, Pinterest launched merchants solutions in October 2020 to ‘curate, feature and measure’ products for business owners, enabling you to set up a storefront with products organised by category, upload catalogues and tag products (sound familiar?).
Their Verified Merchant Programme effectively enables your brand to be verified within the platform and allows product Pins to appear organically. When Pinners are searching for shopping-related ideas, they’ll see recommended merchants based on the product category so success doesn’t hang on a huge amount of followers.
Similarly to Facebook’s Commerce Manager, Pinterest provides conversion analysis so you can see how customers are completing their path to purchase.
In 2020, Shopify launched ad integration with TikTok allowing merchants to sync their catalogues and create shoppable video ads within Shopify. TikTok has also now followed in the footsteps of other platforms by introducing – you guessed it – TikTok Shopping, which also allows brands to create a mini-storefront on TikTok by adding a shopping tab to their profile and integrating their Shopify product catalogue. They can then tag and link to products in their organic TikTok, seamlessly bringing commerce to the For You Page.
As with Pinterest, reaching people with this content isn’t dependent on their number of followers. TikTok’s algorithm shares content with audiences that are most interested in it so brands can leverage their already highly engaged followers and reach new audiences through organic product discovery.
So how can your business benefit from establishing a Social Shopping presence? Simply put:
- More sales
- Audience growth
- Customer loyalty
- Increased traffic
- Higher search engine rankings
Social media is all about creating an easy and entertaining user experience, which translates to shopping on these platforms: you want to optimise your customer’s purchasing journey, by creating relevant and interesting content that feels authentic to not only your brand but also the social platform, with the purpose of driving those all-important sales!