Social Commerce: Is it the Next Big Tune in Online Sales?
Online retail is an integral part of how people shop around the globe. And the opportunity to buy something directly from a social network that they like is a fruitful way to pick up the game of your eCommerce sales.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to social commerce as a sales tool and show you examples of how renowned companies are using it. Plus, we will dwell upon the current trends in eCommerce that are worth noting.
Online Sales & Where They’re Going
For starters, it is vital to point out that the overall shopping behavior isn’t just moving towards online retail. Actually, to be more specific, it’s making its way towards purchases made using mobile devices.
It’s no surprise that the time that people spend surfing the internet and browsing social media feeds continues to grow all over the world. This is exactly why eCommerce websites need to keep up with the changes and make sure that their stores are equally easy to shop on regardless of the used device or shopping source.
For these reasons, eCommerce business owners are currently shifting the focus. That said, they’re creating progressive web applications and investing a lot into the optimization of the mobile web versions of their site. Not to mention that a lot of attention is devoted to selling using social media channels, especially if they are used by your target audience.
Mentioning optimization, among the major things that are tweaked for mobile regard the UX and UI. To make it simple for people to tap on buttons or use filters and menus on the screens of their phones or tablets, designers completely rethink and rework the way the website looks from a smartphone so that navigation is easier.
Furthermore, from a technical perspective, a big emphasis is made on how fast the store’s site works. To give an example, developers stick to a modern approach and use GraphQL in application programming that allows the website to render only those parts of the content that are requested instead of pulling the entire scope of data (this speeds up the page load time immensely).
In parallel with that, expansion towards the use of social media channels for selling products on additional platforms is another path that’s also employed in eCommerce.
What Are the Advantages of Using Socials in eCommerce?
It’s only fair to say that you can use social media to your advantage in multiple ways in online retail. The main points that are to be noted include building up the appearance of your website, inviting your customers to sign up to your accounts, and post the content that they’ve made featuring your brand, then using such user-generated content on your website and on your channels to enhance the trust in your brand. Not to mention that this is a popular move for retaining customers who have done business with you before by stirring up their interest.
Here’s an example of a social media block that’s placed on the official Olivia Burton website. The heading of “How do you wear yours?” invites clients to share posts of them wearing their watch or jewelry on personal Instagram accounts and mentioning the brand in their posts (@oliviaburtonlondon). In their turn, the brand can feature these posts on the website and maybe even repost them on the company’s official social media accounts as well.
Undoubtedly, though, with the advent of social media shops, eCommerce businesses got a “wild card”. It merges popular socials with the opportunity to actually put up items for sale and lead customers straight to the store checkout. The number of orders grows, thus, it’s a big booster of sales.
So What’s Social Commerce About?
The influence of social media on the lives of people is indisputable. People like to keep an eye on how celebrities and famous figures live, follow the current trends, read the news, and, as of recent, shop there too.
The basic procedure of setting up stores on social media is the following:
- create business accounts on social media,
- link the social media accounts to the backend of the store (so that the product catalog is synced with the products that’ll be added on the social media pages),
- pass all the required verification procedures,
- put up content that displays and tags the products,
- start collecting orders.
1. Facebook Shops
The first example that we’d like to overview is the Shop on the official DKNY Facebook account. As seen on the screenshot below that was taken from their Facebook page, the “Shop” section occupies the top area of the feed.
Several previews of clothing items are shown there, after clicking on an item, it opens in a pop-up window and provides not only a description of the item in the “Product Details” but also a button that can take the user to the official website of the store right to the checkout so that the client can purchase the item without the need to manually search for it on the website.
Plus, there’s also an option of viewing all products that are featured on the DKNY Facebook Shop by clicking on the “View Shop” button that’s in the right-hand corner.
2. Instagram Shops
Following from the above is an example of Shops on the mainstream Facebook-powered platform, Instagram. As you might have already guessed, the shopping feature on an Instagram business account is therefore available only if you already have a running shop on Facebook. In other words, without a Facebook Shop that’s linked to the store’s catalog it’s not possible to get an Instagram Shop.
On another note, unlike the Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops aren’t compatible with desktop computers and give the chance to buy something only if you’re browsing the account from a mobile device.
Now let’s take a look at a post on the official Pupa Milano Italy Instagram account to see how it differs from the first social commerce shop example. Instagram is all about visual content, this is why most eCommerce products are photographed (or placed in videos) and assembled in posts for the feed or in the Instagram Stories. As demonstrated on the screenshot, the featured products can be seen if pressed on the “View Products” area in the bottom-left corner of the image next to the shopping bag symbol. Then, if clicking on the item tag, its details appear in the pop-up that provides the product description and a link to the store.
Interestingly, some Instagram stores even have virtual try-on. It gives the chance to see how an item or product will look like on the person by using their device’s photo camera. Such functionality is suitable for those spheres of eCommerce that sell cosmetics and accessories, to note a few examples.
Additionally, Instagram business accounts with tagged products generally have a “Shop” tab located on the page atop the grid of posts. The Shop compiles all the products that were featured in the account’s content and are available for sale.
3. Pinterest Shops
The third example that we bring you is from the official Lacoste Pinterest page. At a basic level, just as in the first example, the featured product becomes “reachable” for purchase either from the link that’s over the image or on the right of the pin. The main difference lies in the fact that Pinterest itself as a platform is mostly used as a space for inspiration and collecting ideas using “pins”. Thus, apart from just pinning liked things to personal boards, people can buy stuff that’s on them.
As time changes and the number of online stores increases, any methods for raising your compatibility deserve the effort. What’s for social commerce in eCommerce, at the least, it’s worth giving a shot. After all, you may end up leading more buyers to your website and selling a lot more than before.
About the Author
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento 2 development services and Salesforce. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.
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