Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant | May 1, 2020


Social commerce is like a crossover between e-commerce and social media. And we have to admit this combination holds a lot of promise. 

So far, businesses have used social media to attract their target audiences and build relationships. 

Typically, here’s how it works:

Potential customers check out a business on social media. If they are interested in the products, they may get redirected to the e-commerce platform. 

On social media, there are over 2.6 billion users around the globe. What if you could sell to your target audience directly on the platform? 

That’s where social commerce comes into the picture. 

It allows customers to buy products directly within the social media channel. It is a much faster and more efficient way to close sales on social media. 

In this article, let’s take a look at why e-commerce companies need to leverage social commerce.

Benefits of Using Social Commerce 

Social commerce offers your audience a more convenient way to shop. Not only can it improve the overall customer experience, but it can also shorten the buying journey. Plus, it can also engage your social media audience and aid impulse purchase decisions. This can translate into increased sales for brands.

That said, it’s not surprising to know that the adoption of social commerce among retailers in North America grew from 17% in 2017 to 33% in 2018. 

Image via Emarketer

Audiences are spending more time on social media. What’s more, their attention spans are shrinking. So, it’s obvious that people want quick solutions to their problems.  

If you can provide those solutions, directly on the platform that they are using, you can drive more engagement.

To find out what your customers are looking for, you can leverage tools like Cortex. Using this tool, you can take your content marketing and social media marketing strategy to the next level.

To understand the concept of social commerce in a better way, let’s look at an example:

American ridesharing app, Lyft, offers convenience to its customers through social commerce. For instance, customers can book a cab using Slack and Facebook Messenger.

Image via TechCrunch

How Can E-commerce Businesses Incorporate Social Commerce? 

Want to leverage social commerce to grow your e-commerce commerce? 

You need to adapt your strategy based on the social media platform that you want to focus on. Let’s take a look at what you can do differently on different social media platforms:

1. Facebook

On Facebook, you can easily add a “Buy Now” button feature in Messenger. The “Buy Now” button gives users the convenience of purchasing without leaving Facebook. 

What’s more, you can have open your own “Facebook Store.” A Facebook business page can add a tab application for potential customers to directly make purchases. Without leaving Facebook, users can browse through your products and make purchases.

Check out how Target leverages this feature on their Facebook profile:

Image via CXL

2. Pinterest 

Just like Facebook, Pinterest has a feature to facilitate social commerce. Through the “Buyable Pins” feature, brands can help their audiences purchase products without leaving the site. 

Image via Social Media Today

The best part is that they work seamlessly on mobile devices as well as desktops. When a customer clicks on the “Buy It” button, they are redirected to the payment page within Pinterest. 

And the best part?

The social media platform does not take any fees from the sales made.

Currently, this feature is only available to a few U.S. merchants and retail partners. Those who use BigCommerce, Shopify, or Salesforce Commerce Cloud can also apply for these Buyable Pins.

Pinterest also offers a Messenger chat extension and AI chatbot to drive engagement. Users can share ideas, make purchases through Messenger, and search for products. 

3. Instagram 

When it comes to Instagram promotion, think beyond sponsored posts. To get more conversions, leverage Shoppable posts.

They allow customers to shop directly-tagged products from Instagram. Using this feature, brands can tag their products in their posts. When users tap on a product sticker, they are immediately redirected to a product details page for more information. 

If they want to make a purchase, they can pay and check out on the social media platform itself. Once the purchase is made, details regarding the order are securely saved. 

From shipping to delivery, customers can also receive notifications from inside the Instagram app.

Image via PCMag 

How to Use Influencer Marketing and Social Commerce Together to Drive Growth

Did you know that 41% of consumers find new brands weekly through influencers? 

Furthermore, 24% of respondents in the same survey said that they discover a new product or brand from an influencer every day. 

This makes it clear that influencers can help you reach your target audience. To dial it up a notch, you can also combine your social commerce and influencer marketing strategies together.

Think about it…

Influencers create a rapport with their audiences by sharing content. They already have a loyal set of followers who trust their word. 

When you reach out to their devoted community of followers, you can also influence their purchase decisions. By leveraging social selling and the power of social media, you can get more conversions. 

For inspiration, check out how NYX Cosmetics collaborated with Instagram influencer, Shayla, to create a shoppable post. 

Image via Instagram

As you can see in the screenshot above, the influencer has included details about NYX Cosmetics’ lipstick in the caption and tagged it in the post. 

When users click on the link, they can read a detailed product description and can visit the website from within the app. 

Even after the campaign has ended, you can repurpose such posts and post them on your profile. 

Puma uses this strategy to diversify their Instagram content. As you can see in the screenshot below, even the reshared content is a Shoppable post. 

Image via Instagram

Ready to Get Started with Social Commerce?

Social commerce is changing the way brands promote their products on social media. It’s no longer about just showcasing your products to an audience. With social commerce, brands can directly sell their products. 

For potential customers, social commerce makes shopping extremely convenient. They don’t need to go through the hassle of checking out the brand’s website. Hence, it significantly shortens their buying journey. If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to boost your sales and revenue, it’s time to tap into the power of social commerce.

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Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant

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Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant for 15 years with an emphasis on Influencer Marketing in the last 5 years. He is specialized in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, Influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.