Social Shopping Platforms: The Future of Ecommerce

Social Shopping Platforms: The Future of Ecommerce

Online shopping keeps getting easier. With evolving technology, a growing social media user base, and functionality designed for integrated purchasing, we see shoppable products everywhere. Users can browse their social media feeds, view product pins, and purchase in real time without ever leaving the app. That new and improved buyer process leaves room for brands to step in and profit, no matter their size, with social commerce.

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce, also known as social shopping, is where ecommerce meets social media. A subset of ecommerce, social shopping allows brands to sell products and services directly through their social media accounts in a streamlined path to purchase pipeline. Any time users make a purchase via a social media app, it’s considered social commerce.

Unlike regular online shopping, social commerce doesn’t require consumers to have to search for products they see in a social media post. By creating informative content, sellers can help customers avoid the need to do extra research or figure out how to navigate to an online shopping cart independently. Retailers can link directly to a shopping cart by making their social media shoppable. Sellers can also link to their storefront or a product selection page so the checkout experience is simple and seamless for users.

Where Is Social Shopping Happening?

Big-name social media apps with substantial monthly active users are the most populated social shopping platforms. For example, Meta designed Facebook shops, and later Instagram shopping, allow businesses to set up online storefronts. Users can pick through their product pages, purchase directly from the site, and communicate via the apps (e.g. Facebook Messenger) about their purchase. TikTok, though newer on the scene, is taking the social shopping world by storm due to its growing number of users, space for influencer marketing, and hypnotizing feed. 

Other apps like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter are following suit in becoming popular places for social commerce. Additionally, platforms like Shopify and Amazon can now be added to different social media sources to give ecommerce brands the integrations they need to take their shopping to new heights, regardless of the platform.

Social Commerce as a Marketing Strategy

Implementing social commerce within your marketing strategy is non-negotiable for most brands nowadays. This approach offers a few benefits you can’t easily get elsewhere – and because you’re likely already on social media, it’s simply an extension of the things already working for your brand. Adding intentional social commerce tactics to your social media and content strategy can:

Help you Reach Your Target Audience

If you’ve spent time researching social media strategy, you’ve likely realized that social media gives brands something they can’t get otherwise – access to an overwhelming number of users. And within that extensive user base is your target audience. Employing the popularity of social networks in your favor means you get to connect with audiences you might not see in other spaces.

Offer a Frictionless Buying Experience

One of the most significant benefits of social commerce strategy is that it creates a uniquely seamless buying experience. As shopping has shifted from in-store purchasing to online stores and onward, we’ve seen customers asking for more and more ease within their shopping experience – and shoppable commerce gives just that. 

Improve Social Proof

Consumers often turn to social media to find reviews, user experiences, and more before they make their purchase decision. Because that information is all gathered in one place, social media becomes a staple for enhancing your social proof. That’s even more true when your socials are set up for in-app purchasing. As customers buy and use your products or services, they can quickly head straight back into the app to let others know about their experience. Further, you increase your chance of gaining organic user-generated content (UGC) that can heighten brand awareness and drive sales.

Give You Helpful Data

Any data you can gather on your target audience benefits your future marketing efforts. Many social commerce platforms have baked-in analytic features that give insight into the user experience, customer journey, who is accessing your content, and more. As you grow your brand and social media presence, your audience data and performance metrics from social commerce tools can help you develop marketing campaigns to attack specific user bases.

Boost Your Social Media Presence

Social media is increasingly important in brand health, not just for social commerce, but because it’s where brand awareness can expand. Instead of siloing your social media and ecommerce sites, you can build upon both by merging your efforts for enhanced presence and brand awareness. Provided you’re focusing on producing quality content users want to see, you have the opportunity to gain likes, views, followers, and buyers.

Social Shopping: How to Do It Right

Social commerce has an open entry point, but it still requires a focus on quality content, audience targeting, and a thoughtful approach to delivering that information. Giving customers incentives to buy your products is all you need to take your social shopping to the next level. To develop an effective social commerce strategy, keep a few things in mind:

1. Post Content People Want to See

Adding social shopping to your ecommerce platform won’t offer you any benefits if you’re not integrating it into an already high-quality social media strategy. Whatever app you’re focusing your efforts on, make sure you’re following best practices for the content on that platform. Our experience with successful TikTok strategy tells us that users on the app engage most with authentic content offering a blend of visuals and sound that is created uniquely for TikTok. That logic applies to other socials as well – every app has its own dynamic.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

The only way to post high-quality content social media users want to see is to understand their profiles, needs, past industry experiences, and other informative data. Using buyer personas, customer journey mapping, and any additional resources can enhance your appreciation for your target audience. With that, you can produce content they’ll enjoy, engage them successfully, and improve their social shopping experience with your brand.

3. Minimize Friction

Though social commerce offers an inherently more streamlined purchase funnel, it’s still essential to find and remove places of discomfort for your customer along that pipeline. Look for pain points within the in-app checkout process, find areas where you can simplify or remove steps, and optimize your social shopping experience as much as possible. For example, incorporate product tags into your posts to improve the live shopping experience, ensuring users don’t have to search anywhere for your product information. Slight changes can make a big difference in how often users click the buy button.

4. Incorporate Influencer Marketing

The benefits of influencer marketing can’t be understated. When you work with influencers, you get access to their following, skillset, and all the awareness that comes with it. Partnerships with influencers can enhance your social shopping strategy, not just with Gen Z but with the massive number of social media users looking for reviews and advice from influencers they trust. Strategize with influencers on creating livestreams or live videos, using specific hashtags, and incorporating shoppable posts that touch on particular features of your products or services.

5. Use Your Data

Small businesses and larger ones alike can benefit from the meticulous use of data to inform future strategies. As we described earlier, social media platforms typically offer excellent data on your users. You can see who views your profile, when they purchase products, what content they viewed before purchasing, and more. If you’re ready to start or improve your social selling, make sure you incorporate that data into your marketing strategy and plan how you’ll use it later.

Fine-Tuning your Social Commerce Strategy with First Media

Establishing a social shopping game plan from ground zero means you often start with little social presence and a limited relationship with your target audience. Making the transition and developing a social shopping experience that reinforces your ecommerce website means devoting substantial time to your social content and social media marketing strategy.

At First Media, we come equipped with an understanding of and relationship with your potential customers. As a comprehensive digital publisher, all our content, distribution platforms, and solutions for clients fit under one roof – owned and operated by us. We know our audience and give our clients access to our experience, user knowledge, and platform by publishing high-quality, action-driven content, incorporating proprietary AI technology to inform our data, and executing shoppable content that works. Learn more about partnering with First Media for real-world action.