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The Rise of Social Commerce: What Brands Need to Know

Published on:

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Shopping online has become the norm for shoppers all over the world, providing access to products and brands that they would otherwise never find on their local high street.

And for businesses and brands, the opportunities created by online shopping are endless - connecting even the smallest of businesses with platforms that promote their goods and spotlight their products.

Why, then, do we need social commerce?

If the online world already supports online shopping, via marketplaces and dedicated business websites, what role does social commerce play - and why is it becoming so important?

To put it simply, social commerce connects the two things that internet users love to do: scrolling social media, and online shopping.

Social commerce integrates commerce and the act of shopping within the realms of social scrolling, through ‘shoppable’ posts and an in-app store; supported by ads, live shopping streams, and influencer content to name just a few examples.

In this blog post, we’re digging deeper into the rise of social commerce and how you can leverage it as a small, medium, or even a large brand.

The benefits of social commerce for brands

Woman shopping online on a mobile phone

Social commerce is arguably the best example of a format which marries users’ obsession with social media, with their desire for quick shopping experiences and actions.

When a user comes across an example of social commerce on Instagram, for example, the aim is to convert them there and then - sometimes with a paid ad, other times with a customer testimonial video, and occasionally with influencer content. The integrated social commerce tools are used by the brand to make that piece of content “shoppable” - taking the user to an in-app store for immediate purchase, or to a direct landing page to complete their purchase.

Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to social commerce - but the benefits for brands stretch well beyond a swift checkout experience.

Brands that use social commerce can expect to see the following benefits…

  • A wider reach and range of customers, tapping into the younger generation of users who prefer shopping on social platforms and via social channels. With Gen-Z and even Millennials increasingly using social commerce for discovery and purchase, becoming accessible via these channels will increase your exposure to this demographic.
  • A seamless journey from discovery to purchase. The more individual actions and new pages there are in the customer experience, the higher the chance of losing customers. Social commerce removes the friction of traditional online shopping, letting customers checkout before changing their mind.
  • Social proof to back up marketing campaigns. The seamless blend between the customer experience and social content means that your products are intrinsically linked with the positive reviews of existing customers on social media.
  • Social commerce compliments other platforms, ensuring that your products are available to customers - regardless of how and where they choose to shop. Crucially, social commerce does not replace traditional e-commerce, but rather supports it.

Suffice to say, social commerce is worth the investment. Here’s how to make it work for you.

Different ways of embracing social commerce

Below are just a few effective ways to get started with social commerce...

‘Shoppable’ Posts

The original form of social commerce; ‘shoppable’ posts connect your grid posts with an online in-app store, allowing you to link specific products to your post.

If, for example, you post a photo which showcases a few of your products, the ‘shoppable’ function lets you tag those products - with users able to click on the tag and be taken straight to an in-app checkout page.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is growing in a number of different directions, with influencers spanning everyone from well-known creators to micro-influencers who operate in different markets and industries.

Influencer marketing supports social commerce by using the profile of others to plug your products and drive interest towards your profile. What you do with those users will depend on your goal, but the main link between influencer marketing and social commerce lies in the increased exposure and visibility of your brand.

Live Shopping

A live shopping event is a good way to showcase specific products and launch new ones - giving customers and users a chance to see your products in person and being used. This is an especially good way to convert users who might be already considering a purchase, with live shopping streams enabling quick checkout while also bolstering engagement.

Making social commerce work for your brand

The aforementioned types of social commerce are just three of the most popular among brands of all sizes and across all industries - but there’s plenty more where they came from!

Follow us on our own social media for more exclusive insight into the benefits of social commerce, or get in touch with our team for tailored advice on how to leverage social commerce for your business.