The internet took the world by storm and advanced digital technology to a whole new level. It provided us new ways to transact and do business. E-commerce was born, and people could buy and sell across the world from their computers.
We found a different way to interact and stay connected. Social media sites played a great part in all that. Almost everyone is on social media nowadays for one reason or another.
As you must have noticed, wherever people congregate physically or virtually, there is a potential for business. The social media players apparently know this, and use it to their advantage.
This gave rise to what is now officially tagged as social commerce. To put it simply, social commerce is a cross between social media and ecommerce. And the name rightly did justice to the merger.
Benefits of Merging Social and Ecommerce
If online shopping has made your buying experience easier, social commerce just took the ease a notch higher.
The status quo was to visit ecommerce sites, search for what you want, and make payments. With social commerce, you can stay on your favorite social media site and buy the things you want from there.
This is a win-win situation for both the buyers and the sellers: the latter can additionally increase the sales rate, while the former don’t have to leave the social commerce platform to make purchases.
Shop Social Media
Facebook, the largest social media site, allows businesses to create online stores on its platform where they can sell goods or services. They can upload pictures of their products, customize stores, sell directly from there, etc. Brands like Amazon have been present on Facebook for a while now, posting about their special deals and offering Amazon discounts that appeal to their clientele, with the goal of extending their overall reach.
Instagram has also followed in Facebook's foot steps and integrated, "shoppable" posts. These shoppable posts are designated with a little shopping bag icon. Users will see a "Tap to View Products" pop-up in the bottom-left corner or a small white circle with the shopping bag icon.
Pinterest is another social media site that has integrated ecommerce into its platform, allowing merchants advertise goods and services, and visitors to make purchases.
There is hardly any major social media website that has not already integrated the concept of social commerce. These sites partner with retailers, giving them access to tools they can use to promote businesses to social media platforms.
This gives merchants another avenue to reach out to a wider customer base.
More Social Commerce Benefits
Many online vendors can vouch for the effectiveness of Facebook ads. Tools for businesses are used on Facebook to allow you create targeted ads that will be shown to customers interested in what you sell.
Many brands, large and small, have an active social media presence which allows them to interact one-on-one with customers. This allows them to provide real time solutions and support.
Some of these brands even create games and giveaways in order to boost presence and foster interaction with customers.
Social Commerce is Growing
Social commerce is evidently gaining more ground as income from social commerce has been growing steadily every year.
One of the reasons social commerce is increasing in success is because shopping is more or less a social experience in itself. Carrying it out on a social platform makes it even more fun, engaging, and rewarding.
Remember the last time you wanted to buy a product you have never used before?
How much research did you do?
Did you notice how much you had to rely on the opinion of people you didn’t know?
Now imagine you are logged into your favorite social media platform. You noticed that some of your close friends or family are following a certain brand you intend to patronize. Just think of how easy it will be to get a trusted opinion about the brand and its product, as well as completing your purchase, all on one website?
Getting it Right
On the other side of the spectrum where the merchants are, social commerce is also a welcomed concept. Any business person knows there is a great benefit in selling your merchandise where the customers are, rather than presenting them with your site and having to think how to drive traffic to it.
This is why even small scale businesses are making a good income from social commerce. All you have to do is identify which social media platform is best for your potential market, and display your offerings where customers can see it.
Some other ways you can get it right with social commerce as a merchant are as follows:
Use the data available from social media sites such as Facebook to personalize your ads and find out where your potential customers are located, so you can target them better.
Social media encourage conversations, right? Use that to your advantage and get your customers talking to get useful feedback.
Foster interaction between your customers and encourage them to provide reviews.
The number of potential customers available to merchants through social media is incredible. This alone is enough for any serious business to adopt social commerce.
Currently, social commerce is doing great for the bottom line of most businesses that have adopted and using it right.
The truth is that many businesses, both large and small, have one social media platform or another to thank for the increase in sales due to the wider reach. A significant number of customers have even admitted that social media played a good part in helping them reach a decision.
More than half of customers in the USA believe that social media has helped make it easier to interact with companies through customer service to resolve issues and answer questions.
Social commerce has crossed the 10-year timeline, and it has only been getting better and more useful to customers as well as helping brands achieve goals. More likely than not, it is here to stay.
Karthik Reddy, Community Manager at Webmastersjury, is the author of India’s # 1 travel blog. Boasting an MBA in computer science, he once decided to get away from the office desk life and take a breathtaking journey around the world. He is eager to use the power of the global network to inspire others. A passionate traveler and photography enthusiast, he aspires to share his experiences and help people see the world through his lens.