Social commerce is set to have one hell of a 2020, off the back of a big 2019. Many still aren’t sure what social commerce actually is. Luckily, we are so pull up a chair and let’s get into it.

Simply, social commerce is sales directly on the social media platform itself. This is not to be confused with social media marketing, which typically involves pushing traffic from your SM platform of choice to a specific, external website or online shop. Social commerce keeps the entire process on the social media platform, minimising the customer’s journey, thereby minimising loss of sales. Simple!

The benefits are pretty obvious immediately in a world where efficiency, streamlining, and removal of as many obstacles to making a sale reign supreme, especially if you factor in chatbot checkouts, auto-completing payment and delivery details and so on. Traditional websites & stores have low email-address capture rates. Address that are captured can then be mailed offers, of which only a small percentage will open the email and an even lower amount (typically around 5%) clicking the link contained in the mail.

Three percent of those clicks end up buying something. The Big Commerce article suggests that 10,000 visitors to your webstore, by the end of the process listed above, translates to 1 purchase which is, obviously, terrible.

A Social Commerce journey presents a vastly different picture. A messenger chatbot can message almost every single of those same 10,000 visitors, and chatbots have a high open- rate of around 75%. Superior numbers at every step of the visitor-journey roughly translate to 35 purchases compared to the website & mailing-list’s 1.

Of course, there is no one size fits all solution and results will always vary dependant on a thousand different factors, but one thing rings true everywhere and in all aspects of online life in today’s world. Make it appealing, make it easy, and it’ll likely make you money. Teikametrics’ Andrew Waber states that there are stages to the shopping experience:

  1. 1. Convenience
  2. 2. Shopping as play
  3. 3. Shopping as exploration
  4. 4. Shopping as entertainment

Social commerce delivers on all four elements whereas traditional e-commerce caters towards only 1 and 2, because social commerce is a natural extension of existing consumer behaviours.

Facebook says that 70% of shoppers use Instagram for product discovery and the whole platform is very obviously heading in a commerce-driven direction. This is exemplified by Instagram Shopping and more recently Instagram Checkout, which allows you to purchase products seen on the feed without leaving the app.

Facebook have also pushed heavily into commerce with Facebook Page Shops and Messenger, giving businesses the chance to create a store from within Facebook easily and smoothly using templates. You can add new products, manage orders, shipping and much more with just a few clicks.

The fact is that consumers everywhere are turning to social and mobile as a primary means of content consumption and product discovery.

If you’re looking to start your own social commerce endeavour this year, here are some tips to start you off best e-foot forward.

  1. 1. Focus on your strongest, cheapest items. This appeals to people eager to buy and not waste time weighing up the validity or necessity of an expensive purchase. Research the most relevant verticals for social commerce, which tend to be categories such as Luxury goods, home décor, beatify goods and apparel.
  2. 2. Research the right third party tools to make your experience easier and more efficient. Messaging tools like Manychat allow you to combine Facebook Messenger and SMS campaigns, and can make it easier to collect leads and turn them into paying customers. Tools like Jumper.ai can provide pre-built, automated chatbots that you can integrate into Instagram etc.
  3. 3. Consider partnering with people who can extend your reach – influencers can be powerful allies, exposing your brand to wider audiences. Similarly, an active, engaged community around your social media platforms will do wonders for organic growth, as they share your products and their experiences with them.
  4. 4. Measure and track your success, but be mindful that success can take different forms in this still-developing sector. Finances will always be the bottom line but has your mailing list increased? Is your (hopefully) quality content gaining likes and shares, building your reach further? These might not immediately translate into zeros in your business account but in the long-term can take your business higher and further as they guide customers back again and again.

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