Social Commerce: The Ultimate Guide for eCommerce Brands in 2022

In recent years, social media sites have made the likes of shoppable posts, storefronts and in-app purchases available on their platforms.

While new developments are coming on stream all the time, social commerce is already proving very lucrative for brands. In fact, it generated $475 billion of sales in 2020. And this figure is expected to grow by almost a third annually until 2028.

That’s why eCommerce brands need to take advantage of social commerce now.

 

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is about selling products directly through social media platforms. This allows potential customers to engage with brands, browse products and convert – without ever leaving social media.

Unlike social media marketing, the social commerce definition usually means that customers check out directly on social media, rather than heading to a brand’s webstore.

Right now, social media apps with built-in eCommerce features include Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

 

The benefits of social commerce

Here are just a few of the key advantages that social commerce offers.

1. A convenient path to purchase

Rather than redirecting consumers to a third-party site, social commerce allows them to check out wherever they are. This removes unnecessary steps and streamlines the path to purchase. Many shoppers even have their payment and shipping details saved.

This creates a frictionless consumer journey, which is likely to generate more conversions.

2. Mobile-friendly platforms

The use of mobile devices has shot up, yet a lot of eCommerce sites still aren’t optimised for the various devices out there. That’s why cart abandonment among mobile users is around 86% – significantly higher than desktop.

However, social sites can easily handle the growing volume of mobile shoppers.

3. A huge market

There are almost five billion social media users worldwide and many of them use these sites to conduct product research.

This means brands can reach a huge number of ready-to-buy consumers across all regions and demographics.

4. You can precisely target personas

As well as providing a huge audience, social media platforms also have a massive amount of user data and offer unrivalled product ad targeting. This allows brands to create personalised customer experiences and win more sales.

5. Grow brand awareness and sales simultaneously

With awareness, consideration and conversion all taking place on the same platform, consumers who have just discovered your brand may convert. And if they don’t, they’re likely to remember your brand in future.

 

3 social commerce trends for 2022

Social commerce is still relatively new and that means it’s constantly evolving. Here are some of the trends you can expect to see in the coming year.

1. Livestream shopping

Facebook may be ditching its live shopping tool, but Instagram Live is stronger than ever and recent additions to the market include TikTok Live Shopping, Pinterest TV and Twitter Live Shopping. The concept is still relatively new for many consumers, so this gives brands an opportunity to experiment and find new ways to wow customers.

2. More creator collaborations

With the rise of platforms like GRIN, the TikTok Creator Marketplace, Pitchbox and Upfluence, it’s easier than ever for brands to connect with highly relevant content creators. In 2022, expect to see brands engage more influencers than ever before.

3. Social commerce on messaging apps

Social commerce is all about engaging directly with consumers. That’s why Facebook Shops allows you to connect with them via Facebook Messenger. Other chat tools are joining the social commerce revolution too. WhatsApp recently launched a feature which lets users discover stores through its app. Similarly, China’s WeChat allows brands to build their own in-app mini-stores.

 

Best platforms for social commerce in 2022

While Facebook has led the way in social commerce, other sites are also expanding their offerings. Here are six of the best social commerce opportunities for 2022.

Tiktok social commerce

TikTok started to experiment with social commerce tools early on and now it offers shoppable videos, livestream shopping and shoppable storefronts. It has also partnered with big brands to run gifting campaigns, which lets users send free products to their friends.

TikTok social commerce is a great option for brands that want to target Gen Z and have products that they can create video content around. Think cosmetics, electronics and food.

Facebook social commerce

Facebook Shops is a solid option for most businesses. It’s easy to set up and will work for brands of every size – no matter what they sell or who they’re targeting.

To get started, brands simply import a product catalogue. Then, Facebook Shops will automatically showcase your products based on user preferences, behaviour and purchase history. Shoppers can check out on Facebook or your site.

Instagram social commerce

Brands that set up Facebook Shops can implement Instagram social commerce with just a couple of extra steps. Using the same catalogue, you can create shoppable posts and add product stickers to your stories.

Users can also browse products through your storefront or Instagram’s curated Shop section. Brands and products are displayed based on user interests and past activity, which means more potential prospects can discover your products.

Instagram is ideal for brands selling apparel, accessories, cosmetics, petcare, furniture and other home decor.

Pinterest social commerce

Pinterest helps consumers find inspiration for everything from fashion to fitness. This makes it a go-to platform for product research across many verticals. In fact, 47% of its users say they mainly use Pinterest to find and shop for products – a figure which far exceeds that of other social sites.

With Pinterest for Business, brands can display price tags, stock availability and other important product information on their pins. Shoppers can save products or make a purchase by clicking on a pin and checking out in-app or on a brand’s store.

Twitter social commerce

Brands can now upload their product catalogue to Twitter. With its Spotlight feature, you can showcase up to five products on your profile. Alternatively, when a user discovers your brand in their timeline, they can then browse your full product catalogue with Twitter Shops.

 

Some social commerce tools worth knowing about

As well as all the in-platform features available to brands, it’s worth knowing about some of the third-party tools that can supercharge your social commerce strategy. Here are just three you should know about.

Confect.io

Confect.io allows brands to easily create custom designs for their product videos and photos. This means they can set up a single template to create bespoke, on-brand product feeds across all their social media sites. It works across Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, SnapChat and many others.

ChannelSight

ChannelSight offers brands a range of tools to help them improve their multichannel sales. It offers all kinds of shoppable media, as well as tech for monitoring content, inventory and pricing across all your channels. But, best of all, it allows you to add trackable Where to Buy technology to your website, which can direct visitors to your social channels, marketplaces and other retailer sites so they can conveniently check out on their favourite channel.

Plytix

Product Information Management software is an essential piece of kit for brands that sell on multiple channels. Upload your product details to this software and it will automatically update all your product pages across every platform. Plytix integrates with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, so it’s ideal for brands investing in social commerce.

 

Some great social commerce examples 

Countless brands now take advantage of social commerce. Here are just three great examples across some of the key platforms mentioned above.

Trixie Cosmetics

Using Shopify, beauty brand Trixie Cosmetics has synced its product catalogue with the Twitter Shopping Manager. Now, it can showcase products on its profile and ensure its social commerce listings are always up-to-date.

Patagonia

Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia uses its Pinterest Pin board to mimic the style and layout of its website, creating a consistent and user-friendly customer experience for visitors who click through from its eCommerce store. Shoppers can then check out in-app.

HelloFresh

The meal kit maker uses TikTok to show fun behind-the-scenes snapshots, which humanise the brand and demonstrates its values. It shows workers, demos and how its food stylists get ready for photoshoots. It’s the perfect content for TikTok’s young audience which wants authentic and genuine brand content. Building trust and credibility means more shoppers are likely to check out later on.

Final thoughts

With surging sales taking place on social media, social commerce has become a must-have for online brands. So whether you’re implementing a multichannel or omnichannel strategy, be sure to add social commerce to your online toolbelt.

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