Blog Post - Chloe Cox , Nov 27 2020

​How to succeed at social commerce

​How to succeed at social commerce

Did you know that 62% of UK shopping was done online during the first lockdown in the UK? More significantly, over half of consumers are expecting to continue that digital habit once the pandemic has run its course.

It’s a change forcing companies to rethink how they reach customers, beyond selling through a website or mobile app.

If it isn’t already, social commerce should form a key pillar of that strategy. Let me explain why the opportunity for brands is too large to ignore.

Getting the basics right – your digital shop window

As well as impacting the habits of shoppers, 2020 has been a buoyant time for social media usage. And it all makes sense – in these testing times, social is an easy way of staying informed and connected, discovering distraction, or finding entertainment.

I’d argue these two trends of social usage and online shopping habits should be looked at together, with brands using social as their digital shop window.

Our Future Shopper research found a fifth of consumers get their inspiration to purchase online from social media channels. Furthermore, this same group buys 3.5 times a month from these platforms.

It means creating the seamless experience you would expect in a physical store online is more important than ever.

Instagram’s Shop feature is a great example of this. Launched in the summer, Shop gives the network’s 1 billion+ active users the chance to browse and buy from creators and brands they love, without ever having to leave the app.

Ultimately, features like Instagram’s Shop make consumers more likely to spend with you, rather than scrolling and moving on.

Reaching Gen Z shoppers in the pandemic age

The rise of influencers is nothing new in recent years, but the pandemic has accelerated their impact and the opportunity for retailers.

As such, grabbing the attention of the ‘future shopper’ has changed. Previously, Generation Z and Generation Alpha would use social media for inspiration before a purchase. Now, they are turning to influencers for guidance on their day-to-day spending.

It has given this group a huge sway over people’s spending habits – more than eight in ten consumers (82%) make a purchase based on influencers’ recommendations. This is a force which can’t be ignored.

This is compounded further with shoppers who are yearning for authenticity, empathy, and entertainment while stuck at home.

The explosion in popularity of TikTok taps straight into this. Famous for its lip-syncing videos and dance routines, its high-powered creation tools have armed a new generation of content creators and influencers.

On top of this, the TikTok algorithm is more geared towards generating engagement – with the ability to go viral on a post even with a low following.

In my view, this has given brands an additional route into utilising micro-influencers – people who may not necessarily have massive followings but have high engagement with their audience.

Our research backs up this opportunity – we found 42% of consumers are now actively recommending products through social platform activity such as tagging or direct messages to their friends. Focussing on the small could mean winning big.

While this is a fast-moving and complex world, I wanted to share my three key tips to success for social commerce:

  • 1.Engage with your target audience on social before starting to talk product. Shoppers simply won’t take notice of a pushy, hard sell.
  • 2.When looking at influencers, consider the objective you want to achieve and how that fits your overall strategy. Influencers with large followings are great for generating awareness, while micro-influencers are better for engagement (and typically cost less).
  • 3.Don’t be afraid to experiment and trial new platforms. Test what works for your audience. TikTok has boomed in just over a year, and the ‘next big thing’ on social is always just around the corner.

Find out more about how we can help with your social strategy.

Social Commerce