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Social Commerce: What is it and why should you care?

If you own a business or are involved in marketing a brand, you’ll already be aware of e-commerce and its importance in maintaining a steady stream of income. You understand businesses with an e-commerce platform are more likely to achieve higher sales when compared with those which only sell in-person and that in today’s digital world, it’s one of the best ways to ensure your brand stays current and reaches a wide audience. You may be starting to hear about social commerce, the new kid on the block in the digital marketing sphere. So, what is social commerce and how does it differ from e-commerce? 

Social commerce is similar to e-commerce in many ways but works slightly differently. In social commerce, social media platforms are utilised to allow potential customers to make in-app purchases, instead of clicking on a call-to-action (CTA) which will direct them to a new site. This method offers a range of benefits to a business and is growing in popularity across the globe. Here, we explore social commerce and why you should care about it.  

What is social commerce and how is it different from e-commerce?

Social commerce is the buying and selling of products or services through a social media platform. This concept adds a new element to social media, which until recently was only used to direct potential customers to an e-commerce site to make a purchase. With social commerce, users can buy the product or service you’re offering without having to leave the app and open a new one. It’s easy to be distracted by a news article or pop up when a potential customer opens a browser to search for a website. This is less likely to happen if your business has the facilities for social commerce. 

Top platforms for social commerce 

So far, only Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest offer social commerce facilities, although Youtube, TikTok and Twitter are exploring the possibility of introducing these soon.  

Offering both checkout capabilities and a shoppable posts tool, Instagram is one of the top social commerce platforms. The platform is commonly used to source and buy new products, so it’s crucial that users are given the option to make in-app purchases.

Being one of the leading platforms for fashion, interior design and beauty inspiration, Pinterest has unsurprisingly jumped onto the social commerce wagon. Their “Shop the Look” pins allow users to buy the product shown or browse similar items for sale. 

With over two billion active users, it was a logical step for Facebook to introduce social commerce. Anyone who runs a business page on the platform can set up a Facebook shop to sell products and services through the app. 

Why should businesses care?

Social commerce can allow you to get your brand in front of more potential customers and with many Brits changing their approach to online shopping and forming new brand loyalties, this could make a significant difference to your business’ success. Social commerce also allows you to convert users into customers more quickly, as they’re already interested in your product and the opportunity to buy it is just a touch of a button away. 

Businesses that utilise social commerce can access the social profiles of their customers, giving you an insight into what interests them. This information can be used by marketers to optimise the brand’s marketing and call to actions, which could increase sales and success for your company. If you need support in setting up social commerce for your business, consult marketing experts to discuss challenges and opportunities.