13 August 2020 Luke Goldsworthy

Why Social Commerce?

Social commerce enables you to make your products available natively on social media, such as on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Like you, me and the ever-growing number of people are already using social media for product recommendations and reviews, so the natural next step is for goods to be available for purchase directly. Social commerce brings the shopping experience to where your potential customers are more often.

As we discussed in our recent post on best checkout practices, to maximise conversions you need to remove as many steps as possible on the customer’s journey towards a sale. Social commerce leverages your customers existing social media behaviour by allowing them to seek the featured product information and potential purchase there and then.  Social media also assists with driving traffic to your website, either mobile or full site to understand your product better or see a full range available. Every step you can remove is one less place where a customer may abandon their purchase.

The importance of back-end development and integrations are crucial in ensuring your business maximises the benefits of Social Commerce platforms. Often forgotten when re-platforming or upgrading your eCommerce but the importance of integration can’t be underestimated for a smooth UX and CX experience for your customer and also the staff.  In many ways, it’s a cost-saving path if you can have less ‘hands’ involved in the purchase of products or services. 

As we have discussed previously, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the growth in eCommerce and with it the uptake in social commerce. The Business Insider reported last month that it forecasts US retail, social commerce sales to increase by nearly 20% this year, to US$23.3 billion. The trend should increase for 2021, up 34.8%, before reaching US$38.2 billion in sales for 2022. It estimates that 38.4% of all US social media users will purchase via one of the platforms at least once this year. Numbers could very much be higher based on the short term steep upward trends with COVID and the current movement restrictions in place around the country. 

Forbes this month listed social commerce through celebrity endorsements as one of its three emerging eCommerce growth trends to leverage in 2020 (along with personalised commerce and interactive product visuals). It found that 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase this year alone, and that 7% of companies are planning to invest over $1m per year on it. Celebrity endorsements are nothing new, but new sales are being driven by having them coupled with the ability to directly purchase via the social media platform where the endorsements are made. 

In May, Facebook started rolling out Facebook Shops, which enables merchants to develop customised online storefronts across Facebook and Instagram. This mobile-first shopping experience is enhanced by its partnership with companies such as Magento, Shopify and Big Commerce for product management, inventory, orders, fulfilment and checkout. 

“Shopify powers more than one million businesses that are transforming the direct-to-consumer landscape and changing the way we shop,” said Tobi Lütke, CEO of Shopify. “With Facebook Shops, we’re bringing the tech industry together to help entrepreneurs succeed at a critical time. By pairing Shopify’s platform and commerce capabilities with Facebook’s reach and scale, we are reducing the barriers to entrepreneurship and advancing the future of commerce.”

“Shopify offers tools that entrepreneurs need to start and run their businesses,” added Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, “and they’re helping a lot of companies move online. We’re excited to work with them to help small businesses prepare for the future.”

At The Playhouse Group we can also integrate your existing Magento 2 store with Facebook Shops.  Several of Playhouse’s clients are or are interested in integrating Social Commerce into their business.  Luke Hilton, The Playhouse’s Online Strategy & Technical Director, recently said “Social Commerce integrations and implementations done correctly will see major benefits for customers and eCommerce. But the crucial element to the success is the integration piece and education of how to use it.”

Facebook Shops will be available in Australia in the coming months, while Instagram Shopping and Pinterest’s Verified Merchant Program are live now.

eCommerce is rapidly evolving and social commerce is at the vanguard. Click below to set up a meeting and we can discuss with you how to incorporate it into your sales strategy.

Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any eCommerce questions you may have.