All Things Shipping | Mar 22, 2023

How Social Commerce Can Help Grow Your Online Business

Sarah Gage

It’s always a good idea to look for fresh ways to expand your reach and increase your bottom line as an e-commerce brand. One of the latest ways to achieve this is through social commerce. With the significance of social media in today’s society, it just makes sense to learn how to sell on social media.

Social commerce was valued at $724 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and is expected to grow to over $6 trillion by 2030. That means that if you’re not already on the social media selling bandwagon, it’s time to jump on.

What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a selling model that allows e-commerce merchants to use social media platforms to market and sell their products directly within the social media platform itself. It allows customers to complete a purchase without leaving their social media app, which means an easier purchase flow for your customers and potentially higher revenue for your business.

Many modern retailers currently leverage social commerce to create a better customer experience and increase sales. Because such a large percentage of any e-commerce market is on social media, it can help you build brand recognition and increase interactions with your target audience while also offering a convenient and safe shopping experience.

Social Commerce vs. Traditional E-Commerce

Although social commerce and traditional e-commerce are under the same umbrella, there are a few key differences that set them apart.

Traditional e-commerce relies on a company website or branded app to create its shopping experience. Brands may use social media to capture their audience’s attention, but must then navigate them to a separate website or app to complete their purchase.

Social commerce, on the other hand, uses virtual storefronts within social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to market and sell their products. This allows consumers to discover, research, and purchase without navigating away from the social media app.

Benefits of Social Commerce

If you have an e-commerce shop and you’re not already selling on social media, you should be. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting benefits of social media for e-commerce businesses:

Reach Target Audience

You likely already know that the best way to reach your target audience is to advertise and sell your products where they can find them. In 2023 alone, there were 4.89 billion social media users worldwide, which means there’s an ocean of opportunities out there for you to gain new customers.

Data Gathering on Target Audience

Social media selling can give you valuable audience insights.

For example, Instagram Insights provides a report that includes key details like demographics and geographical location of people who have visited and purchased from your social commerce operation. Facebook Insights offers even more in-depth reporting that includes data such as relationship status, job title, and education levels.

Customer Feedback

Social media makes it easy to get customer feedback. By exploring the comments section and reading direct messages, you can quickly and easily find out what’s working and what’s not for your target audience. For more specific feedback, you can even run polls or post question boxes on Instagram stories.

Smoother Shopping Experience

Selling on social media makes it quick, easy, and convenient for customers to make purchases within their social media app. By eliminating the need to navigate to a separate website, you can more effectively keep your customers’ attention.

Best Social Commerce Platforms to Boost Sales

Choosing the right social platform for your business can feel overwhelming. Let’s take a look at the top four social commerce platforms that you can use to boost sales.

Facebook

According to Statista, Facebook was the most popular social network worldwide in 2023. There are nearly 3 billion active users on the platform, which can help you broadcast to a larger audience. It’s also a great option for those new to social commerce since its test shop feature helps you get all the details right before launching.

Instagram

Since 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business, there’s no denying that it’s a great place for social commerce.

What’s even more exciting is that there are several unique benefits the social media channel offers. Instagram tags allow you to tag products in your IG posts or stories, for instance. You’ll also be able to sell through a dedicated “Shop” tab on your profile.

TikTok

According to TikTok, 47% of the platform’s users purchased something they saw on TikTok. TikTok also offers live-stream commerce options that enhance community building and brand recognition. The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon generates billions of views and can serve as free marketing for your most popular products.

Pinterest

Pinterest could be the perfect place for new brands to start using social commerce. Since 97% of Pinterest searches are non-branded, it offers the perfect environment to start making sales and earning money. It’s also worth noting that Pinterest is an especially good option for brands that target women since that demographic makes up a majority of global users.

Strategies to Take When Selling Online

If you want to be successful selling online using social commerce, you’ll need the right strategy. Not sure where to start in your journey to sell on social media? Here are a few strategic moves you can make:

Influencer Marketing

One of the best ways to connect with your audience authentically is to leverage influencer marketing. Working with content creators who are in the same niche as you helps your advertisements reach the right audience without feeling overly salesy or robotic.

There are also different levels of influencers. Macro influencers have a following of 100k+, micro influencers have a following between 1,000 to 100,00, and nano influencers have a following of 1,000 or less. The cost of using influencers will vary depending on which one you choose. Macro-influencers can charge rates only enterprise-level businesses can afford, while nano influencers will usually only ask for a free product of yours.

One reassuring stat involving influencer marketing is that 89% of marketers who engage with influencer marketing will increase or maintain their investment in 2023.

Live Streaming/Selling

It’s always a good idea to get creative with your marketing techniques. Live streaming on social media is a fun way to create genuine relationships with fans of your brand. It also allows you to answer questions and get feedback in real time, which is great for community building and earning trust. Live selling can boost your conversion rates as high as 40%.

AI Chatbots

AI chatbots make it possible to interact with customers 24/7. Utilizing them shortens wait times and makes your service more accessible to multilingual customers. By using AI chatbots, you can cut back on costs without sacrificing customer support for these social media customers.

User Generated Content

When happy customers make posts about your products on social media, it’s a huge advantage for your business. This content is completely free to you and has the potential to create a buzz around products that can increase sales from social media platforms and create loyal customers.

Targeting

One of the best ways to maximize your ad campaigns is by targeting. Targeting allows you to blast advertisements to social media users that fit a certain demographic that you select. Facebook and Instagram both have targeted ad options that make the process easy. If you know your products’ audience, then this is the perfect opportunity to reach them directly.

Pricing

It’s no secret that you’ll have competitors when selling on social media. Offering competitive pricing and minimizing extra fees like shipping is a simple way to give your store an edge, especially since almost half of the abandoned carts in 2022 were attributed to extra costs being too high.

Shipping Your Social Commerce Orders

While using social commerce can help you get the attention of new customers, you’ll need to provide a positive shipping experience to earn repeat business. Providing a positive shipping experience means offering customers choice at checkout, limiting the cost of shipping, and getting products into your customer’s hands as soon as possible.

Shippo makes it easy for e-commerce brands to compare rates, take advantage of discounts, and even print shipping labels all in one place so you can get parcels in the hands of carriers faster. Using a tool like Shippo alongside social commerce makes it easy and convenient to find new customers, earn repeat business, and increase sales simultaneously. Get started today!

Sarah Gage is a Michigan-based freelance writer covering business, marketing, and technology topics. She is also the owner of Content Conquered, a B2B-focused content marketing consultancy.

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