Phone showing social shopping

Is Social Commerce Going to Impact Your Business?

eCommerce, Social Media

By Lena Brechtelsbauer & Diamanta Hykaj on 06/14/2021

WHAT IS SOCIAL COMMERCE?

2020 caused a massive shift in the way we live. New rules and ways of life meant an increase in social media consumption and online shopping. This rise in activity on both channels resulted in an upsurge of innovation that produced social commerce. You may have heard this term before or a term called social shopping. The idea here is that social media platforms such as the Facebook group, TikTok and Pinterest are all offering users ways to shop directly from products they see on posts.

what is social shopping?
Social commerce example on Instagram

Now that we’ve answered the question ‘what is social shopping?’ Let’s see how social commerce on major platforms impacts your industry and business.  

SOCIAL COMMERCE ON FACEBOOK

A social commerce example setter is Facebook. Facebook has two main shopping functionalities, firstly Facebook Marketplace which is comparable to eBay, allows individuals to find products and get in contact with sellers. Secondly, Facebook Shop, where companies can list their products and redirect consumers to their external platform.

What is the latest social commerce feature on Facebook?

The platform is currently testing an QR-code-based peer-to-peer payment channel. The service will be under the Facebook Pay Umbrella, to aid social shopping on the platform.

This feature also integrates a scanning option, within the Facebook Pay Carousel. Users can scan the code and generate a personalized payment URL.

What are the requirements to transfer money via the QR-Code?

Users need to be above 18 years old and have Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, or prepaid debit cards.

What does this mean for your business?

If your consumer products can be sold through Facebook, this update can increase transactions. Smooth payment systems on social media will make it easier for users to shop directly on the platform. For example, when PayPal integrated QR code-based payments for businesses, it experienced an increase of 19% in total sales volumes in 2020. 

Watersky’s recommendation for this social commerce example:

Keep a lookout for how this trend will be evolving in your country. This could mean that Facebook shops become a legitimate channel for sales. Further, depending on how many individuals adapt to this payment method, it could also become a valid payment method on other platforms and services.

INSTAGRAM SOCIAL eCOMMERCE

Instagram offers multiple ways to shop on its platform. The two key shopping features are “Shoppable Posts” and the Instagram Shop tab. Shoppable Posts allow businesses and photo creators to tag diverse products within the image post. Whereas, the Instagram Shop tab creates a personalized recommendation of brands and creators. Both features allow an outline of product offerings and to be redirected to an external platform to purchase products. Thus, creating a seamless customer journey experience.

What is the latest social commerce feature on Instagram?

Instagram Reels ads have been trending in the pilot regions in Australia, Brazil, Germany, and India. This resulted in Instagram recently announcing that it will further extend testing of the Reels Ad feature within Canada, France, the UK, and the US. Additionally, some brands which will be part of the next test group include Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, and Netflix.

The Reel Ads can be up to 30 seconds long (just like normal Reels).  Similar to Instagram stories, the video can either be vertical or full-screen. Moreover, Instagram Reel Ads also allow brands to advertise and sell their product through displaying tags within their videos. 

Instagram Reels Ads example for social ecommerce.
Instagram Reels Ads example, Source: Adweek.

What does this mean for your business?

Instagram has already been making it easy for businesses to sell products through various methods within the application. Now, Reels Ads provide brands the possibility for videos with their product or service offering to be viewed not only by their followers but also by individuals who don’t follow them. This allows a wider reach to a larger audience. 

Watersky’s recommendation for this social commerce example:

As currently, Instagram is testing regions and brands’ success rate of this feature, it is good to monitor social commerce examples in your industry. Further, Reels Ads can even be used to offer guided selling, tools, and tips that make it more compelling for users to take a look at your products. 

PINTEREST SOCIAL COMMERCE

Pinterest is known as a product discovery platform. However, it has been advancing by integrating social commerce features. One key functionality Pinterest added was “Shop From Pins”; this is where you can simply click on the image and immediately see available products while seeking inspiration. “Shop from search” is another social commerce example on Pinterest where users search for ideas in the search bar. Here they have the option to filter by price and brand, allowing them to find shoppable products on the results page. 

What is Social Selling like on Pinterest?

Due to corona restrictions, there has been a drive of optimizing online shopping experiences. As well as an increase in renovating homes. Ikea took upon this trend and launched an interactive quiz on Pinterest “Ikea Renocations”, thus merging social content and shopping. Answering the short quiz leads users to a personalized pinboard that they can shop from.

Questionnaire of IKEA's guided selling tool in Pinterest.
Source: Watersky Digital, click here to give it a try.
Pinterest social ecommerce example using guided selling with IKEA.
Inspiration board after answering chatbot questions, Source: Watersky Digital.

What does this mean for your business?

Pinterest is great for driving traffic and sales, as pins can be integrated to link back to businesses’ websites. Unlike the traditional social media channels such as Facebook, Pinterest’s focus is product discovery. People are also 7x more likely to purchase products saved on Pinterest. Thus, marketers can use this consumer insight with the aim to ease the design and shopping processes for users by combining guided-selling and newly launched ecommerce features such as: shop with from search or shop from pins.

Watersky’s recommendation for this social commerce example:

A significant percentage of Pinterest’s users are “Planners” who use the platform for inspiration and as a product discovery engine. “Shop by Search” can be interesting as the search result comes up with generic terms, not specific brands. Thus, smaller companies can benefit from this feature and become more visible within the platform.

If you are considering experimenting with social commerce for your brand, Pinterest’s extremely engaging format may be a good starting place.

SNAPCHAT SOCIAL SHOPPING

Snapchat has been a big part of the social shopping race. Combining AR and eCommerce, the platform is making the purchasing process more experiential. AR filters also called “lenses” are used on business pages within Snapchat, where consumers can try on product offerings in a brand’s catalog and then conduct the purchase within Snapchat. Creating an experience that leads directly to purchase makes the process seamless for users.

What is the latest social commerce feature on Snapchat?

Recently, Snap– the parent organization of the social networking app, bought Fit Analytics, a start-up that works with 18,000 apparel stores in general, including North Face, Asos, Calvin Klein, etc. Fit Analytics uses data and machine learning to help brands provide better fits and sizing.

Shopping example of Snapchat lens.
Example of the augmented reality lens,
Source: Watersky Digital.

Snapchat is purchasing the company as part of a long-term strategy to expand Snapchat’s eCommerce sales through its AR features and lenses. 

What does this mean for your business?

With more people shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for shoppers and businesses to make sure their clothes fit appropriately. A lot of consumers are predicted to return goods purchased online, which can quickly start logistics and increase expenses for retailers. Combining ‘fitting’ within the context of social media creates a content-rich and personalized social shopping experience.

Watersky’s recommendation for this social commerce example:

Snapchat’s target group may be young, but they are most likely to adapt first to social commerce features. One way to learn from Snapchat’s lenses is through your retail channels. If your retail partners use Snapchat, it may be worth requesting their marketing teams for data on engagement and conversion from this immersive experience.

TIKTOK SOCIAL COMMERCE

Unlike Instagram or Twitter, TikTok content can also be shown to users who do not follow you. On a brand’s TikTok channel, it is possible to post video content to promote products, feature influencers, and follow trends to gain visibility. 

What about social selling? For this, TikTok also relies on advertising. Video ads can feature a buy now button that can allow users to buy featured products without leaving the platform.

Video and Image advertising are presently supported by TikTok Ads Manager and depending on the advertising objectives or ad placements you select, your ads may seem different.

What is the latest social commerce feature on TikTok ?

TikTok released a new advertising and outreach solution to support social commerce activities. Brands can run “lead generation ads”. Companies can store information on advertised products, services, or offers in in-feed ads that are relevant, appealing, and interesting for their target groups. 

Shopping efficiency can also be gained by using autofill. When users go through the checkout process, forms can be auto-filled using information from their profile. 

Social Ecommerce TikTok example of Lead Generation Ads
Lead Generation Ad examples
Source: Watersky Digital.

What does this mean for your business?

Even though TikTok social commerce is ad-dependent, it may be worth considering for certain campaigns. Businesses can target TikTok Ads based on gender, location, age, interests, and other unique factors. Businesses have the opportunity to create “Custom Audiences” and “Lookalike Audiences” to reach additional segments that are similar to their current consumers for more precise results.

Watersky’s recommendation for this social commerce example:

For TikTok advertising to succeed, your tone of voice must match the tonality of the platform. A younger audience and short-form content mean creating striking content that can guarantee engagement. Plus, if your customer base consists of millennial women, you may be surprised to know that they are heavy users of the platform as well.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

We hope these social commerce examples have been interesting and insightful for you. Now that you know what social shopping is, it may be time to analyze your business’s readiness for it. To continue the conversation, email us at moin@watersky.digital 


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