Social commerce is expected to explode this holiday season thanks to the increase of shopping on social media, the sustained success of Ecommerce, as well as some lingering hesitancy for some to do in-store shopping.
Here’s what you need to know about using social commerce to boost sales this holiday season.
What is social commerce?
Simply put, social commerce is when shoppers have an end-to-end buying experience entirely on a social media platform. Instead of clicking from social media to an online store and completing the purchase from the store, the entire shopping experience takes place on Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat or whatever social media platform customers are using.
For shoppers, this means they can see something they like and buy it immediately. For retailers, it means higher sales because you’re letting customers buy at the moment of inspiration.
Why should I care about social commerce?
Social commerce was roughly worth $89.4 billion in 2020 and it’s expected to skyrocket to more than $600 billion in the coming years. It makes intuitive sense, too: as social media becomes a larger part of our lives, it will increasingly be used for shopping.
In many ways, social media is an ideal place for shopping. People can see products, get real-life testimonials about them, and engage with friends or influencers. New technology, like one-click checkout, has simplified the buying process on social media, so the ease and convenience mirrors or exceeds the experience of purchasing from an online store.
The winning brands of the future are already expanding their storefronts to social media so they can meet shoppers where they’re already spending time.
Social commerce tip #1: Make shopping a great experience
The typical social shopping experience goes something like this:
- You see something you’re excited to buy on your social feed
- You click to buy it and are sent to an online store that may not be optimized for your phone
- You land on a product page, then have to add to cart to checkout
- You have to fill out multiple forms for payment, billing information and more
- You finally have to confirm your order and complete the purchase.
Conservatively, you have to take at least five steps to give a retailer your money. Every one of those steps is an opportunity to reconsider buying or to get distracted. It’s no wonder that nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned and that number jumps up when it’s a mobile shopper.
Focus on making shopping a great experience so you don’t lose sales to inconvenience. The checkout process is a key part of that. You can use solutions like Remote Checkout to create one-click checkout directly on social media to give shoppers an experience like this:
- They see something on social they’re excited to buy
- They click the buy button and can check out in one click
- They complete the purchase in seconds and aren’t disrupted from the social experience.
Your shopper sees something they want and can buy it immediately. You get an enthusiastic sale and your customer knows your brand can be counted on for good shopping experiences. Social commerce is a win-win.
Social commerce tip #2: Make social commerce a part of your holistic social strategy
Some people hear “social commerce” and think, “every post can be a storefront, so I’ll sell on every single post.” This sales-first approach likely won’t resonate with customers and may even turn some of them off.
Instead, you should focus on using social commerce to create specific, tailored campaigns and amplify your existing social strategy. For example, if you’re using paid to boost posts or creating social media ads, you can improve those campaigns by turning those posts into one-click checkout surfaces with solutions like Bolt Remote Checkout.
Think of social commerce as additive for your organic social posts, too. The goal of those posts may not be direct commerce but enabling shoppers to buy could lead to some incremental additional revenue.
Social commerce tip #3: Use social proof through user-generated content
Social commerce can amplify another aspect of your social media strategy: user-generated content. I love slick, well-produced aspirational videos as much as the next marketer but there’s tremendous power in real people giving you their real thoughts on products.
Thankfully, social media is filled with people giving you their opinion on products and services. Whether it’s TikTok, YouTube, Facebook or Pinterest, your brand will likely have real people who created reviews or testimonials. Those are great posts to promote or boost to encourage social commerce.
Social commerce tip #4: Tailor your content to each platform
Hopefully, this one is a no-brainer for many of you out there. But, far too many brands still take a one-size fits all approach to social media marketing and that won’t perform well with social commerce.
To maximize the impact of your ads, make sure the social posts are tailored to the audience you’re looking for and the platform you’re posting on. For example, Pinterest’s audience is more than 60% women and Snapchat’s audience is primarily younger millennials and Generation Z. You should target your social commerce posts accordingly.
The best social commerce posts feel like a native experience. Successful TikTok videos aren’t just cut-down versions of tv ads or shorter YouTube videos—they’re videos that were created explicitly for TikTok (or maybe Instagram Reels). It’s a similar story for great Pins or Instagram Stories.
Of course, make sure you’re optimizing every image and video size for each platform. Sprout Social put together an always-up-to-date social media image size guide here.
It can take a lot of bandwidth and people to create properly-optimized content for all the social media channels out there. If you have limited resources it’s often better to start on one platform, get really good at it and then expand out to other channels.
Social commerce #5: Don’t forget about the post-purchase experience
Most of these social commerce tips are focused on the point of inspiration and how to optimize your social content. But, the best brands nourish long-term relationships with social commerce shoppers by creating a great post-purchase experience.
This includes things like fast and reliable shipping—many of us have been burned by drop-shipped items from social commerce that don’t arrive for weeks. It also includes a personalized experience when it comes to returns, future promotional communications, and more.
This can often be challenging to pull off when you’re using something like Instagram Shop. While it’s a good way to get access to Instagram users, it often treats retailers like dropshippers by limiting the amount of information it shares about shoppers.
Again, this is where solutions like Remote Checkout shine: not only does it let you turn every social media feed into a one-click checkout surface, it also seamlessly integrates with your existing backend system for order management, fulfillment, and more. This provides retailers of all sizes with the data needed to provide an amazing post-purchase experience.
See how Bolt powers social commerce
Bolt provides checkout solutions that will help you boost conversion rates, increase sales, and create personalized omnichannel experiences. Bolt lets you expand your storefront to anywhere your shoppers are: in-app, on social media, in person, and online.