From Instagram shops to the Facebook marketplace, social shopping is growing fast and a necessary consideration for any business owner aiming to sell a product.
Social media commerce is just the next right step in e-commerce. It eliminates steps in the customer journey and simplifies the experience.
With 43% of global shoppers researching products online via social networks before they buy, and a projected $604 billion in sales via social commerce by 2027, retailers are setting themselves up for success and making things easy for their consumers by making their products available on the social media platforms people are searching for them on.
If you're thinking about setting up a shop on a social platform, or looking to optimize the shop you already have and learn a little more about the exciting space of social commerce, stick around.
In this article, we'll cover the things you really need to know to successfully sell products on social media.
What Is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is the sale of products on a social network such as Instagram and Facebook shops.
As social media technology has evolved to offer a safe and convenient in-app shopping experience, retailers have begun selling products via social channels as part of their e-commerce strategy.
Some retailers sell purely on social media and have an entire business running only on a social commerce strategy, without having a traditional online store at all.
So, yes, you probably guessed it right from the name - social commerce simply refers to the buying and selling of products on social media.
Social commerce vs e-commerce
Social commerce is not e-commerce. E-commerce refers to buying online, while social commerce refers to making purchases within a social media app.
Which Platforms Can I Sell On?
At the moment, three key social networks offer social commerce features:
Benefits Of Selling Products On Social
There are tons of benefits to creating shops on social media networks, which is why it's fast becoming a norm for intelligent retailers. The top benefits include:
- First and foremost: eliminating steps in the conversion funnel. This improved customer journey makes it faster and easier to buy and sell online.
- Yet another way to engage with your target audience and get to know them. Tracking your Instagram engagement, for example, is a great way to figure out what needs to be improved when it comes to audience engagement.
- Opportunity to improve conversion rates. Chances are, your customers are social media users, and anyone in your social media following who is not yet a customer has a better chance of becoming one by having the opportunity to purchase right there in front of them on social media.
- A more user-friendly and engaging product catalog. You'll have to adapt your catalog to the social commerce platform requirements, which means - more integrated with real life.
- It's a goldmine for user-generated content.
- Another opportunity to help consumers improve their purchase decision. The social aspect helps them converse with you - the business, as well as their friends on social media.
- It's an opportunity to convert and accommodate younger generations and adapt your business to these potential customers, who are dictating the future of commerce based on how they like to shop and redefining the online shopping experience.
- It's a golden opportunity for understanding consumer behavior
- A highly efficient way to get customer feedback
- It’s an easy way to get into affiliate marketing. According to the latest affiliate marketing trends, right now is now of the best times to best time to get started
Is It Right For Me?
The most important thing is aligning your business goals and sales strategy with what your consumers want and where they are. You've got to align the customer experience with your business needs.
Some questions to help you decide whether social commerce is right for your business:
- Is my target audience active on social media? Which platforms?
- Does my business have the capacity to fulfill the extra purchases made on social media?
- Can I provide shipping to the locations required by customers on social media?
- Does my business have the capacity to manage the story - including the photography, strategy, and community management required? Will I need a dedicated social media manager?
- Is there a market for my products on social media?
The types of products that are seeing the most success on Instagram shops, as well as Pinterest and Facebook, are:
- Beauty and skincare
- Eco-friendly products
- Fashion products
How To Make A Sale
If there's anything you can trust to make a sale, it's convenience.
Social shopping sells products because it makes the purchase so incredibly convenient with a streamlined sales funnel. Some top tips for making a sale on social media channels include:
- Optimizing product discovery - make the products easy to discover and browse on your business page
- Include posts about your products in your social media content strategy where you show their appeal by placing them in context and educate your audience about them. Create the posts to be shared and saved, and make sure your audience knows where to find them in the shop.
- Create a streamlined purchase journey
- Optimize product tags
- Figure out what is the best Instagram posting time for your audience
- Encourage your customers to ask any further questions in DM
- Create an enjoyable social shopping experience with beautiful, well-laid-out product photography, plenty of information about the product, and diversity in your posts, so they tick all the boxes of either informing, educating, entertaining, or promoting. Use software such as Visme, Vectornator, or Adobe Spark to create beautiful visuals.
- Engage with your customers by asking questions about what they would like to be able to buy and how you can improve their social shopping experience.
- Provide amazing customer support - try to answer all the queries and treat every single customer as it was your best friend.
- Share product recommendations with your audience and guide them towards the shoppable posts for these products.
- Collaborate and engage with other brands so you can access their audience as well.
- Use Instagram analytics to oversee the whole picture
- Know your platform inside-out so you can use it to its full capacity
How To Start
Starting your social commerce journey is simple and exciting once you have everything in place.
To get started you'll need:
- A website - this is a requirement on all platforms. Your website does not need to have an online store, though.
- A social commerce strategy that includes content, a marketing budget for some paid posts, influencers collaboration ideas, and your goals and objectives and intended target audience. You can collaborate with both TikTok and Instagram influencers, depending on your platform
- An Instagram business profile or a business account for the social platform you're selling on
- An organized profile that makes finding shoppable posts and product discovery easy and optimizes the customer experience. Help yourself by creating a customer journey map for your social shop. The profile should also feature your logo and other branding details. Before committing to anything in particular when searching for your logo inspiration, make sure you know exactly what you want your branding to look like.
- Product details for your posts
- An understanding of the social media sites' policies for shopping
- A social commerce campaign to launch your shop
- An efficient payment strategy and checkout process that makes it easy for customers to pay you
- Source some product reviews, and encourage your consumers to rate and review so you can build credibility. You can share reviews in social media posts
- Ideas, research, and a strategy behind how you're going to stand out amongst the social media noise
Pro tip: Check out social commerce examples and stalk other shops to learn, get inspired, and understand what is driving success in the social commerce experience. Create and use a mood board for further inspiration.
There are plenty of social commerce tools and features within social channels that make starting and maintaining a profitable shop on social media quite simple!
It's an exciting and creative space to play in that will ultimately result in deeper connections with your consumers. Hopefully, you found some helpful tips in this article, and have a successful social commerce journey ahead.