Let’s be real: your eCommerce website is probably a cash cow.
But even if you’re making money hand over fist right now, you’re still missing out on a ton of sales.
As an eCommerce brand, you can’t afford to sell your products on just one platform, like your website.
After all, your customers aren’t actually browsing your website every day. They’re splitting their time online between Instagram, their email, and YouTube playlists.
Oh, and your competitors are trying to entice these distracted customers with juicy deals and awesome content.
Put together, customers’ goldfish-like attention span and your eCommerce competition are actually harming your earning potential.
So, what’s the solution?
Our definition of social commerce
Here’s how eCommerce conversions usually work:
You snag a potential customer’s attention on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or other social channels.
They click your ad or content to go to your site.
The customer browses your site and decides to buy.
They convert and live happily ever after.
At first blush, it doesn’t look like we can shorten this buying cycle, but it’s possible with a snazzy approach called social commerce.
Social commerce happens when you use social media to sell your stuff.
And no, before you roll your eyes and say, “That’s social media marketing,” it’s not social media marketing.
Social commerce takes things a step further. This is about making the sale within the social platform itself.
That means customers don’t have to click through to your site at all, bringing the function of an eCommerce site straight to social media.
And yeah, it’s a big deal. Social commerce is expected to be an $84 billion industry by 2024.
While there are a lot of social platforms out there, we’re seeing social commerce picking up steam on 3 networks.
1 - Facebook
Facebook is obviously first on our list. 75% of adults aged 18 - 49 use Facebook, and that means you’ve got a lot of opportunities to sell.
Use the new Facebook Shops feature to curate and customize your product catalog, selling directly from your Facebook page.
You can even sell directly through Facebook Messenger or link your Facebook Ads directly to Facebook Shops.
2 - Instagram
If you’re targeting a more Gen Z audience, sell your wares on Instagram.
Instagram Shopping ads place links on your Stories or Sponsored Posts to sell featured products directly through Instagram.
Best of all, customers can shop products in your Instagram feed without even leaving the platform, significantly reducing bounces and abandoned carts.
3 - Pinterest
“What? Pinterest?” you might think. Oh yes, Pinterest is a great social commerce example in action.
This image-based platform allows for Rich Pins, which pull information directly from your eCommerce store. And the more repins you score, the better your sales will be!
Buyable Pins also allow customers to buy your products without even leaving Pinterest, too.
Why do brands need social commerce?
Still not convinced you need to invest in social commerce? Consider this.
1 - Social commerce boosts conversions
Social media cultivates audiences at every step of your funnel, regardless of whether they’re shopping through your site or social media.
That’s because it puts power back in the hands of your customers. They engage with you in a way that’s convenient for them—which translates into more sales.
2 - Social commerce makes it way easier to shop
Have you ever tried to click through to a site from social media on your phone?
Sometimes it takes forever.
Plus, customers don’t like inputting their payment information on eCommerce. The entire process is so draining.
But with social commerce, they can buy via their favorite social platform with payment options, like PayPal, that are already available.
In other words, social commerce removes the friction that’s been part of eCommerce shopping for so long.
3 - Get end-to-end metrics on your performance
The problem with social media marketing is that it doesn’t give you a full view of the customer journey.
Sure, you can see someone visited your site from Instagram, but did they buy anything? It’s hard to attribute that visit to a purchase.
Fortunately, social commerce solves the attribution puzzle.
Most social commerce tools have built-in metrics that not only show impressions, engagement, and reach, but clicks and purchases.
If you’re banging your head on the wall trying to measure your ROI, social commerce has got the goods.
4 social commerce best practices
Social commerce doesn’t mean you’re retiring your Shopify site. It means you’re opening a new avenue to sell your products.
But how do you get started? Will your customers actually start shopping on social?
Never fear: use these 4 best practices to set up social commerce that actually sells.
1 - Start with research
Like all good things in business, we’ve got to start with some old-fashioned research.
Before going all-in on social commerce, plan your next move carefully. The last thing you need is a shoddy presence on Instagram that causes more headaches than sales.
Research important things like:
Your audience: What does your audience like? What do they want to buy? Where are they? For example, Gen Z is on Instagram and TikTok and Millennials still love Facebook. Know where your people are, what they want, and their shopping habits to make social commerce work.
The best social commerce platform: You don’t have to sell on every social commerce platform. Thanks to your audience analysis, you can sell just on the platforms where your customers feel like shopping. If they aren’t on Pinterest, don’t sell on Pinterest. Pick your battles and sell where you’ll make the most money. Start on one social commerce platform and expand from there.
Your product selection: It doesn’t always make sense to sell your entire product collection through social commerce. Choose your bestsellers to make more sales, more quickly. Feature products that make sense for the platform. If you sell beauty products, Instagram lifestyle photos are probably your jam, for example.
A little bit of research will help you avoid social commerce missteps as a newbie.
If you aren’t sure where to start your research, check your Google Analytics, Shopify orders, and social media follower demographics to find a path forward.
2 - Make it easy for your customers
If a customer goes to your Facebook page and has no idea he can shop directly from your store, you’re doing something wrong.
Social commerce is still relatively new, and you need to make it as clear and easy for shoppers as possible.
Instead of burying your eCommerce features on social media, celebrate them. That means:
Writing clear CTAs: For the love of all that’s good, please change your Facebook CTA to “Shop Now.”
Integrate with payment solutions: Make it super easy for customers to buy from you. Connect your social commerce with payment options like PayPal or Venmo for faster checkout.
Minimize form fields: Use as few checkout fields as possible on your social commerce orders. Some platforms will auto-populate these fields for your customers, which is awesome, but don’t push your luck. Design forms for distracted and busy shoppers to prevent abandoned carts.
Optimize product pages: Yes, you still need to optimize your on-site content to make social commerce happen. The buyer’s journey isn’t linear, and a mobile-first eCommerce experience will boost your conversions across all platforms.
3 - Use influencer marketing
Setting up the systems for social commerce is one thing, but actually selling yourself is another puzzle entirely.
While we love paid ads, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. The best way to sell products on social commerce is by tapping into the kings and queens of social media: influencers.
90% of marketers say their influencer marketing ROI is equal to or better than other channels.
Best of all, since influencers are promoting your products natively within the social media app, they bring more customers to purchase. Since customers trust an influencer’s word over yours, they’re more likely to buy.
If the thought of manually managing an influencer campaign sounds terrible, we don’t blame you. Try a platform like Trend to access pre-vetted, professional influencers that match your brand goals.
4 - Track your progress
If you’re new to social commerce, you’re going to learn through a lot of trial and error. That’s life!
Don’t continue making the same mistakes. Always track your metrics and progress when you implement a new eCommerce system.
That means tracking your:
Sales and conversions
Frequency of page visits
Time spent in your social commerce shop
Number of social reviews
Do you see an uptick in overall sales with social commerce? Or is there unexpected friction in the buyer’s journey?
The bottom line
Social commerce is the bee’s knees, but it’s not a replacement for your eCommerce site. You don’t have complete control over social networks, and you never want to put all of your faith in someone else’s platform.
However, if you’re jonesing for some serious increases in product sales and a reduction in UX friction, boost your brand with social commerce.
Now, the fastest way to get up and running is to promote your social commerce store with trustworthy influencers.
If you’re not sure how to get the sales you need, give Trend a try. You’ll get a shortlist of qualified freelancers with pre-negotiated rates, getting your social commerce campaign up and running at the speed of light.