What is Social Commerce & How Can You Use It?

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Social commerce features are emerging across all major social platforms, creating exciting new opportunities for brands of all sizes. With so many options available, using a social commerce marketing agency can ensure your brand activates the new capabilities on the social media platforms where your audience is most active.

Social commerce is well and truly here to stay. But what is it, and how can it benefit your brand?

Social commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods directly within a social media platform. The new functionality moves social media from its role as a discovery method by encouraging users to complete their entire buying journey within one app.

The seamless customer journey is highly appealing to social media users. In 2021, 63% of consumers made a purchase through social commerce functions. Considering its wide adoption by consumers already, brands should be actively considering how they can make the most of the new shopping experience.

The evolution of social commerce makes shopping a social experience. It’s a significantly more interactive experience than your traditional ecommerce shopping spree. Consumers can share products with their friends, share their new purchases, comment on product posts and interact with the brands they love directly.

There are three major platforms that have taken the lead in social commerce experiences: Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

Facebook

Facebook Shops has a very low barrier to entry. The shops are free to set up and are hosted within your business’ Facebook profile. You can even automatically sync your entire inventory within seconds if your ecommerce solution is supported as a partner platform.

The Shop tab on Facebook’s mobile app shows users products based on preferences to encourage organic brand discovery. Once consumers have discovered and researched your products, they can complete a purchase within the Facebook app or on your website.

Brands and sellers can communicate with customers within the Facebook Messenger app to answer questions, offer support, share deals and more.

Instagram

Instagram Shopping is directly linked to Facebook Shop. In order to set up an Instagram shop, brands must connect their Instagram business account to their Facebook business profile. Once they have done this, they can now upload an existing product catalogue or create a new one.

Due to the visual nature of Instagram, it offers more opportunities for creative social commerce promotions. With carefully selected content, shoppable posts, Stories that link directly to in-app product pages, brands can drive a significant amount of interest. Just as with Facebook, purchases are processed within the app or on your website.

TikTok

TikTok’s social commerce capabilities are the most recent addition. In October 2020, TikTok revenue reached an astounding $115 million from in-app purchases alone.

Brands making the most of in-app shopping on TikTok will have a dedicated shop tab on their TikTok profile pages. Within this tab is a curated collection of products that users can browse through, and then add to their shopping cart. Contrary to other platforms, users can add products from multiple brands into their shopping carts, helping TikTok present itself as a shopping experience.

Users can have access to customer service within the platform and can chat with a dedicated specialist. They can also see reviews of products that have been purchased by other TikTok users.

Brands can promote TikToks with “Shop Now” buttons and can host dedicated TikTok Lives that display product in action. These Lives have their own dedicated cart, where all products mentioned are available to view. Brands can also pin specific items to the main Live screen.