Online shopping / online shop 2020
In 2020, brands are now responsible for creating omnichannel experiences that drive sales too. eCommerce today is something that doesn't just happen on websites; it has evolved with the increasing saturation of the competitive landscape. Social media shopping is an emerging channel that could pay huge dividends as 55% of online shoppers made a purchase on a social media channel in 2018.
It is a channel that is growing significantly and those who use and deploy it can increase their profits.
What is social media shopping?
Social media icons
Social media shopping, also known as social commerce, refers to companies that sell products directly on social media platforms. It is different from social media marketing, which uses content to drive visitors to websites. Instead, the entire shopping experience takes place within the social media platform.
How does social media shopping work?
Every social media platform addresses eCommerce differently. What they have in common is that they streamline the process and require fewer clicks to buy than most websites. Specifically, let's take a look at how Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest enable social commerce.
Shopping with Instagram and Facebook
Instagram is the most popular platform for shopping on social media. Brands are taking advantage of the image-friendly concept of Instagram and have good reasons to invest in Instagram, as 70% consumers go to Instagram to find products.
Instagram shopping post
Instagram recognized the opportunity and started Instagram Checkout. With this new function, purchases are made in the app, which extends the Instagram shopping function.
Facebook is also represented in the social media shopping game. The most commonly used tools are the Facebook Page Shops and Messenger. Brands can build an entire shop on Facebook. You can add and update products, sell right from your site, manage orders and shipping, and manage Facebook ads to promote your shop.
Messenger opens up a new channel for customers to interact with brands. These interactions now take place in real time with the help of AI-supported chatbots. They can answer questions and offer promos and produce better results than traditional digital funnels.
Interest has also begun to improve social trading opportunities. Commercially available pins have been used with considerable success for several years. The platform recently released "Shop the Look," which highlights items in an image that are for sale. Pinterest also offers the ability to upload a full catalog of products.
What's next: social commerce trends to watch
There is no doubt that shoppers love the convenience of shopping on social media. To keep increasing that number, brands should keep an eye on these trends.
Social media shopping will expand beyond the established channels
Social media platforms are constantly evolving, and new ones are emerging. Because of this, buyers will flock to new channels that offer eCommerce capabilities in droves. One example is the short-form video app TikTok. These addicting snippets generate a lot of interest. TikTok has started experimenting with eCommerce by allowing websites to include links to products. With TikTok being a Gen Z favorite, it's a new opportunity to market to them.
If TikTok is a worthwhile platform to invest in based on your target buyer, stay tuned with their roadmap for eCommerce features. Keep growing your audience with compelling and clever videos.
Brands Will Provide Social Evidence With User Generated Content (UGC)
Social media campaigns that use UGC can significantly increase conversion rates. Buyers, especially younger generations, place more value on recommendations from their peers than on brand messages when buying.
Tapping into your social media community and asking them to create content about your brand can be a huge asset to your social commerce endeavors. Consider incorporating shoppable posts into UGC for a more compelling story.
To continue this trend, build your community by interacting with fans and followers. Ask questions and ask for feedback in video format. Gather more responses with incentives like discounts on products.
Improving the customer experience
Social media shopping
E-commerce is a new crossroads, often defined as an experience economy. This new phase in the economy relates to the customer experience, which has a major impact on a customer's purchase decision and loyalty.
To optimize the customer experience, you need to be able to rely on data. By adopting Master Data Management (MDM) strategies, you will be able to create a 360-degree view of the customer and personalize their experience. With this approach, promotions are more relevant which should increase conversions.
To run MDM, you need the right technology tools. Choose a platform that aggregates customer data from multiple sources and leverages AI and machine learning to create optimized customer journeys that drive hyper-personalization. Strive for simplicity in an application that is easy to scale and does not require a data expert to start. Start your research with Gartner's Magic Quadrant for MDM, which highlights the best solution on the market.
Data security and data protection are still an issue
There are two main reasons to be aware of this industry trend. First, your company collects sensitive data from social media users and must comply with data protection regulations, including GDPR and the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which affect how you collect, store, and use data.
As the Social Commerce Report suggests, the growth in social commerce adoption has stalled due to security and privacy concerns. The Facebook data scandal has raised the question of whether social media is worth the risk among retailers and users. However, social media is not a fad. They continue to enjoy incredible popularity and influence.
Social media brands have made great strides in making platforms more secure. Brands will have to do their part to reassure customers that these are safe places to make their purchases.
B2B marketers are shopping on social media
Most of social commerce falls into the B2C space as fashion, beauty, and decoration dominate the e-commerce world. B2B can also use this channel to drive conversions. B2B social commerce isn't all that different from brands aimed at consumers. You're still selling to one person, not an unknown company. B2B companies shouldn't ignore the possibilities of social shopping.
With physical products, you can do all of the same things as B2C, but many B2B companies struggle with how to socially sell services. It is likely that in 2020 the number of services offered in social media shopping could skyrocket. It could work very well for those who sell subscriptions to software and applications.
Linked B2B ad
For example, project management software often requires users to pay a monthly or annual fee. Such a brand can use social media marketing to promote demo registrations. But why not give visitors the option to watch a demo video on your profile and then buy it? This type of execution should be something that B2B should test out in 2020 to see if they see any increase in sales.
How will you use social media shopping in 2020?
It's an exciting time for eCommerce with new opportunities on the horizon. Social media shopping won't grow until 2020 when more features become available on websites for seamless experiences. Accelerate growth by selling strategically on the platforms your target buyers are already shopping on. Additionally, taking advantage of some of this year's social commerce trends can help you stand out from your competitors and increase your sales.
Do you need help creating and executing a plan? Contact us today to learn more about how we can transform your digital experience.