The difference between social commerce and general social media marketing is that social commerce allows consumers to purchase from a brand directly without ever leaving the social media platform.
So what is it that makes social commerce so successful?
We are always shopping
It’s essential to remember why people go to social platforms in the first place — for inspiration! People are constantly scrolling their feeds. A few people browse with a specific purpose in mind, like finding home decor tips, but most just want to stay in touch with family and friends and just stumble across things they didn’t even know they wanted and now simply have to have it.
Where does this inspiration come from? Influencers. Consumers have undeniably strong relationships with influencers — so much so that people trust influencers 94% more than friends and family when making shopping decisions. When you combine this strong trust relationship with increased time spent online, social media becoming the dominant space of discovery is a certainty.
The social media’s algorithm can learn consumer preferences to suggest relevant recommendations and provide a more personalised shopping experience (which also reduces the risk of abandoned carts). It also reduces the friction between purchase desire and checkout and is more engaging with the use of in-app filters, augmented reality features, and live streams.
97% of Gen Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration!
People buy online! Through platforms, online shops, and, more recently, in-app. The fewer the clicks, the faster the spending. This is not only smoother for users but also more effective for brands.
The advantage is that the online shopping experience can happen without the consumer having to leave the social media site they are on, meaning there are fewer interruptions to the purchasing journey. Consumers will purchase in the moment, with fewer clicks supported by features like autofill payments.
It’s getting even easier to buy in-app.
As is often the case, Gen Z has been the first movers in this space. Social commerce platforms for Gen Z include Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat. The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit has upwards of three billion views on TikTok, and #amazonfinds has more than nine billion views.
Anticipating this upcoming shift in the market, the big platforms have already evolved to ensure purchases are not only frictionless but also safe and reliable. Instagram swipe-ups that take you directly to the product are nothing new. However, Instagram’s “shopping” tab allows for more brand visibility, which means the ability to promote their products and services to a wider audience. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have also all recently announced or expanded their Shopify partnerships — a platform ensuring fast, secure payments which don’t require users’ financial information.