Have you noticed the change in social commerce?
Social commerce is, by now, a concept that most of us are fairly familiar with. And yet, in terms of what this type of selling is really capable of, we haven't seen anything yet. Social media platforms were originally designed for digital networking. Their purpose may once have been to facilitate introductions and interactions, engagement, and expression, but today this is fast evolving to embrace eCommerce.
With over 1 billion monthly active users on Instagram, and 2.27 billion on Facebook, these are potential audiences that would be foolish for any brand to overlook. Social commerce change is coming - in fact, some might say that it's already here.
Social media and buying behaviour
We have already seen consumers integrating social channels into buying decision making. For example, 23% will browse social platforms for inspiration, and 24% actively use channels, such as Twitter and Instagram, for product recommendations. However, the big switch is in the way that social media platforms are converting from sources of information and engagement, into retailers.
The IG shopping app, for example, has allowed Instagram users to go from browsing attractive looking products, to buying them within the app. Last year we saw Snapchat and Nike collaborate to sell trainers directly via the snapping app. And that's likely to just be the beginning.
Tackling the change in social commerce in 2019
Given this shift towards in-platform purchasing, there are changes that many brands need to make in terms of the approach to social commerce this year.
Working with real people
We are officially over the era of the big celebrity influencer. Today, consumers are much more likely to be persuaded by "real people" on social channels. These micro influencers can provide significant commerce support, whether that's driving users to a brand page, or helping to improve sales.
The credibility issue is real
Particularly given the sharp spike in the use of Instagram since its retail function was launched, visuals are becoming a focus for many brands looking to excel at social commerce. It's no longer acceptable to post infrequently, to post exclusively others' content, or to make do with low quality images and video. If you expect people to buy from your social profiles, they need to have a coherent, high quality and credible visual language that engenders trust and credibility at the point of purchase (which is now, increasingly, the point of social engagement).
User generated content works well for social commerce ads
One of the main reasons for this is that it looks more natural in user feeds. Customer reviews and images help to establish trust and tend to be more relatable than heavily designed ad content.
It's time to re-evaluate other platforms
You may, so far, have had most of your social success on Twitter or Facebook, but it might be time to re-evaluate whether that's where your audience will remain given the changes that are incoming in social commerce. For example, Pinterest is often overlooked, but is actually the fastest growing social platform. It also has the potential to evolve into an all-in-one social platform, retailer, and search engine, as everything can be found, researched, pinned, and bought without leaving the channel.
Changes to social commerce don't have to leave your brand feeling stranded. There are some fantastic opportunities available for businesses willing to take the next steps.
Social commerce is one of several key trends, highlighted by Wunderman Commerce in our Future Trends 2019 Report, that are set to have a significant impact on eCommerce - and which present organisations a variety of opportunities in their quest to thrive in a digital-first world. You can download the full report with our compliments: