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BlueSwitch10/26/20163 min read

What is Social Shopping? How Social Commerce is Disrupting eCommerce

What is Social Commerce?

What is social commerce? Social commerce is an online shopping experience that allows customers to discover, engage with, share, and purchase products through a social media platform. Social commerce (also known as social e-commerce) ensures that customers’ online purchasing experiences are seamless and engaging.

Instead of relying on customers to visit your website to find or buy items, you can use social commerce to boost sales and customer engagement with your products and brand. In order to make sure you're using social commerce to your full advantage, work with a social media marketing agency to solidify your strategy. Here are some popular examples of social commerce sites:

  • Facebook allows you to create a store in its marketplace. It has also implemented a “Buy” button on targeted ads, making it easier for customers to purchase products without leaving their newsfeed.
  • Instagram allows you to add a “Shop Now” button to carousel ads that feature multiple photos. You can create a business account and access insights and analytics about traffic and advertisements.
  • Twitter has a “Buy Now” button that allows customers to make purchases within their feed. Twitter also allows you to personalize and optimize ad campaigns. And, of course, you can #hashtag them.
  • Pinterest has a “Buy It” button that allows customers to purchase multiple items. You can share ideas with followers and see who’s talking about and sharing your products.


4 ways that social commerce can benefit your brand

Social commerce is gaining more and more traction every day. According to Marketing Week’s parsing of loyalty analytics company Aimia’s research, 56% of consumers follow brands on social media in order to see products, 41% follow them to look at new products when they launch, and 35% do so to get ideas for the next time they go shopping. Below are four reasons why social commerce should matter to your brand.


1. Relevant Marketing and Advertising

Through social media ad campaigns, social commerce allows you to target customers based on what they actually “like.” You can even run multiple ad campaigns at once on different sites and for different products your brand offers.

This allows marketing and advertising efforts to be segmented properly and geared toward the audiences most likely to buy particular products, based on customer data and analytics that social commerce platforms offer.


2. Increase Customer Retention and Engagement

With customer participation campaigns and special offers through social commerce, you can influence customers’ decision-making process by allowing them to engage with your products. For instance, you can ask your customers what color they want your newest shoe design to be and tell them to follow you to see the outcome.

You can increase your reach by producing special offers for those who like your ads and share them with others. Customers who follow your brand have immediate access to all of your new offerings, and if your content is engaging, they’ll want to consistently be involved with what your brand does and offers.


3. Build Brand Loyalty

Customers who see pictures and videos of products that others share and like on social media are more likely to follow those brands and continue to talk about them, especially if a positive review or personal story accompanies them.

This is where social commerce ties in both the social media and business aspects of a brand. Customers are more likely to believe someone they know who’s used a product and likes it than a person who works for the brand that posted the ad. A social media marketing agency can help you determine which ways are best to build brand loyalty.


4. More Frequent, Seamless Purchases

Perhaps the most important component of social commerce is that it’s convenient for both the brand and the customer. The brand promotes a new product through a low-priced (sometimes free) targeted advertisement. The customer then sees it shared in his or her news feed. The person hits the “Buy” button while scrolling through newsfeed, provides payment information, and then shares the experience with friends and followers.

Ultimately, social commerce platforms matter because it provides your brand with an opportunity to engage customers throughout the entire sales cycle. It also allows your customers to discover and explore new products, see what followers are saying about those products, purchase products directly through social media feeds, and share their experiences with others.