So far brands have mostly used social media for communicating with their prospects and customers and promoting their products.
But Social Shopping is a game-changer.
It now enables brands to sell their products directly from social media platforms.
Coming from China, the Social Commerce trend is reaching western countries. And it opens up huge prospects for businesses willing to dive in.
Here are some key-figures:
- 74% of consumers turn to social media to gather information before a purchase
- In China, social commerce already accounts for 30% of online sales
Less « dehumanized » than e-commerce, Social Commerce allows brands to leverage events, influencers (through live shopping for instance), recommendation, conversations to engage customers.
Unquestionably Social Shopping is to become a must-have for brands. But to benefit from its advantages, they will have to overcome several obstacles :
- Ensure the security and fluidity of transactions
- Get consumers used to this new way of purchasing
- Articulate social media experience and in-store purchase for some types of products (clothes, perfumes,…)
- Track social shopping performance and optimize processes
Clearly some questions remain. How can CPG brands benefit from Social Shopping ? How to create a unified customer experience between social media and retail ?
What are the benefits of Social Shopping ?
A fast-rising sales channel
Social Shopping is on the rise. According to Insider Intelligence, US retail Social Commerce sales will rise by 34.8% in 2021. They will account for 4.3% of all retail e-commerce sales in the US.
This growth is mainly driven by fashion categories but other lifestyle brands (beauty and cosmetics, home electronics, interior design,…) also invest in Social Shopping.
It comes as no surprise that Social Shopping that new generations are the early adopters of this emerging trend. First they spend more time on social networks than older age groups. But they are also willing to experience new purchasing habits.
72% of younger generations prefer digital interactions with brands whereas 55% of the more than 55-year old would prefer to do business in person. Consumers between 18 and 49 year old are used to conversational interactions with brands.
Social Shopping also provides a “warmer” experience than traditional e-commerce, close to an in-store experience. Indeed it involves social features to create consumer commitment such as :
It places the consumer back at the heart of the process by providing many interactions. With Social Commerce, brands can inspire customers with personalized content. But content works in both ways. In turn, consumers can inspire their own contacts with user-generated content, reviews and shares.
How can Social Commerce benefit your brand ?
There is undoubtedly an aspiration from consumers for a more social way of buying online.
But what can businesses expect from the rise of Social Shopping ?
- Create immersive omnicanal experiences and let the shopper choose whether he wants to buy directly on social media or from a retailer (online or offline)
- Accelerate the buyer’s journey by providing instant interactions and social mechanisms to create commitment
- Increase online sales thanks to a fully customer-centric approach
- Improve marketing efficiency by collecting data all along the buyer’s journey : brands can gather information to improve their customer knowledge. They can also measure to what extent each social channel contributes to sales.
Social Commerce enables multi-distributed brands to follow purchase paths on any channel, whether the shopper chooses DTC or retail.
What are the obstacles to the adoption of Social Commerce?
Social Shopping is likely to be the future of online commerce. But if you want to be successful at it, there are still a few obstacles to overcome.
Social Commerce relies on a wide range of interactions that brands will have to fully master. Your brand will also have to live up to consumers’ high expectations in terms of personalization and contextualization. Moreover, as any new purchasing way, social shopping raises questions concerning transactions.
So what can you do to convince your customers to dive in and be successful at Social Commerce?
- Create a seamless social media experience from researching to buying : as Social Commerce relies on many types of interactions, brands will have to learn how to find the right balance to provide a coherent (and not too aggressive) customer experience
- Ensure the fluidity and security of transactions : some consumers might be worried about a misuse of their personal data on social networks, especially when it comes to payment.
- Choose the right channels to optimize your strategy : customer knowledge and relevant Social Commerce KPIs will help you find your way through all possibilities
- Convince customers to buy directly from social media or connect them with your retailers : buying on social media is a change of habits. Consumers will have to be educated and reassured. For some categories of products, consumers are used to buying in-store because they want to see, touch, feel the product or because they benefit from loyalty advantages from retailers. So, as a CPG brand, you will have to offer a Social Commerce experience that involves directing customers towards partner retailers.
What is Social Shopping?
Social Shopping combines online shopping with social media technologies to augment customer experience. It relies on the idea that customers are influenced by their friends purchases or recommendations when purchasing online.
Which psychological mechanisms does Social Shopping rely on?
Social Commerce relies on some universal mental rules we all use to process information and make decisions.
Individuals have a tendency to look to others for inspiration. When a product or a brand gets particularly popular, they instinctively consider it as a proof that it is the best option.
Social Shopping leverages social proof by providing customers with recommendations and reviews.
Customers have a natural inclination to share the views of experts or thought leaders. They help them form an opinion and save time thanks to their knowledge, previous experience and level of expertise.
As far as Social Commerce is concerned, authority comes for instance from influencers promoting or reviewing a particular product.
People tend to value scarce resources. The less available a product or an offer becomes, the more valuable they think it is. By leveraging the FOMO (fear of missing out) mechanism, brands can increase their Social Commerce sales.
For instance, businesses can use social tools such as :
- Exclusive time-limited offers
- Private shopping events
- Exclusive deals for social followers only
Individuals tend to emulate people they like, admire or consider inspiring. By doing so, they create some form of trust and complicity. It is also a way to manage their own social media image.
Brands can use this mechanism for Social Commerce in several ways :
- Using likes to drive purchase through a “ask your friends” process
- Referral programs
- Tools to share exclusive deals or invitations to private events with friends
When facing uncertainty, we generally choose the option that is the more consistent with our values and previous behaviors.
“Ask Your Network” tools or intelligent suggestions based on your online behaviors rely on consistency to drive Social Commerce sales.
People have a natural tendency to return favors. When you get something, you are very likely to give something in return. This is the basis of cooperation, relationships and communities. To be part of any social group, you need to find the right balance between give and take.
When it comes to Social Shopping, reciprocity is expressed in referral programs or sharing deals with friends.
3 Social Commerce examples
Havaianas : turning user-generated content into conversions
The fashion brand Havaianas uses Social Shopping mechanisms to turn UGC into conversions.
Social fans are willing to share their inspirations with brands on social media. So Havaianas decided to allow their fans to post user-generated photos on the brand’s Instagram.
Not only does it generate more social shares but, thanks to shoppable Instagram feeds, it also leads to increasing online conversions.
Ipsy, using social to spread the word on their new products
Ipsy commercializes a monthly “glam bag” including samples of makeup and beauty products. Their subscription model raises curiosity : many shoppers want to be the first to know what they will find in their next “glam bag”.
That is why Ipsy successfully uses social media as an incentive for shoppers to share their content. Subscribers can have a preview of the next bag’s contents. All they have to do is share a link via Facebook Messenger to have access.
L’Oréal – La Provençale Bio: using Swaven to make social media instantly shoppable
It is one thing to use social media to lead social fans to a e-commerce storefront. But it is another to make your social media presence shoppable by itself. LOréal uses Swaven POP (Point of Puchase) technology for several of its brands.
It helps them create immersive social media experiences with an integrated shopping screen. In this La Provençale Bio example, the consumer is geolocated and is offered several retail options to buy the product.
Swaven, a solution to make your brand shoppable from social media
Swaven provides brands with an opportunity to unlock the power of Social Commerce interactions. We help them design immersive and seamless omnichannel experiences to turn their social followers into buyers.
Our goal is to help our customers drive sales conversion from their impressions to accelerate the path to purchase. We provide a fully unified experience between social media and retailers to drive your sales, improve your collaboration and image with retailers.
Our PoP technology allows our clients to make their different consumer touchpoints shoppable and to capture sales data from their retailers.
By capturing data throughout the buyer’s journey, we also provide brands with valuable insights to make informed decisions.
Social Commerce is on the rise. Brands start to discover the potential of leveraging social media interactions to drive engagement and sales.
Nevertheless they still find it hard to design immersive and seamless omnichannel experiences from social media.
Swaven’s POP technology plays a facilitating role as it enables brand to easily make any social media touchpoint shoppable. Consumers are provided with a homogeneous experience and have the choice to buy directly online or from a retailer. Brands can gather information on the buyer’s journey and improve their decision-making.
Would you also like to benefit from unlimited Social Shopping potential?
Contact Swaven team for a demo!