The social commerce industry is currently worth $89.4 billion, and it’s expected to reach $604.5 billion by 2027. If this prediction is to be believed, social commerce will have a big year in 2022.
Social commerce has paved the way for brands to engage and convert more customers online, but there’s still plenty of room for growth.
Brands can create more unified customer journeys as social media evolves, allowing them to deliver seamless shopping experiences matched with excellent customer service.
However, marketers need to leverage the right strategies to be successful. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of what social commerce can do for your business and the top trends to watch out for this year.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce brings together social media and ecommerce. It refers to the process of selling your goods online through clever marketing on various social media channels.
People often confuse it with ecommerce, but it's not about providing a shopping experience on a website or app. Instead, you’re doing it within the confines of social media.
An average person spends 145 minutes a day on social channels, so it makes sense to give social commerce a try if you want to borrow a few minutes of people's time to call attention to your business and products.
Five of the best platforms to fire up your social commerce campaigns are:
1. Instagram. 70% of shoppers use the app to discover new products.
2. Facebook. There are currently a million active Facebook Shops, and more than 250 million people interact with them every month.
3. Pinterest. Every month, more than 400 million people use Pinterest to find shopping inspiration and design ideas.
4. TikTok. Almost half of TikTok users (49%) buy something they see on the platform.
5. Snapchat. Nearly 4 out of 10 Snapchat users say that they have discovered brands through Snapchat celebrity endorsements and online posts.
There are other platforms geared more toward social commerce, but these five social media channels generate the highest returns.
Why is social commerce important for businesses?
Social commerce is important for all businesses, regardless of your size, since it enables you to reach their customers where they are. The following are some of the reasons for its rapid growth:
1. Social commerce transforms online shopping into a social activity 🛍️
One advantage shopping centers offer over ecommerce businesses is their social component. But social commerce is bridging that gap by recreating the experience of shopping with your friends at the mall. Users can share videos of the products they are eyeing and ask their friends for feedback via polls or comments.
The concept also works well from a business perspective. Interacting with your audience and using them as focus groups can help you design your products better. Here’s an example:
2. Transactions go much faster and smoother than on websites 🛒
It’s not uncommon to look at hot products on social media. Once you find something that you like, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can redirect you to where you can buy it.
And with platforms making it easier for brands to sell via social media, the shopping experience is becoming more seamless for customers.
Native, a skincare brand, does a good job leveraging Instagram’s social commerce features:
3. It enhances brand recognition 🏆
Due to the enormous number of people on social media (approx 4.48 billion), your presence makes you searchable, which in turn increases brand awareness. 71% of social media users who enjoy a brand's products or services are more likely to recommend the brand to their family or friends. Therefore, it also makes a great opportunity for some word-of-mouth marketing.
4. Customers and prospects can engage on social media platforms 🤝
The modern customer loves to stay engaged with their favorite brands – and social media is a two-way street when it comes to communication. Not only can you talk to your audience, but they can also communicate with you through posts, comments, and instant messages. Social commerce allows you to cultivate and improve relationships with them over time.
The top social commerce trends to watch in 2022 👀
The following seven social commerce trends can elevate your game and help your brand generate a higher return on investment.
1. Chatbots and virtual assistants
Chatbots automate routine customer service tasks, while also providing shoppers a way to communicate with you even after hours. These days, more than 50% of consumers expect businesses to be open round the clock.
- Chatbots welcome new visitors. Chatbot platforms allow you to customize your welcome message, set time delays, and adjust the language based on your target audience.
- Chatbots start the conversation. Starting the conversation builds a solid first impression and forges closer relationships with new audiences as soon as they land on your page.
- Chatbots answer FAQs. Chatbots assist customers in receiving faster answers to their queries. If you’re not available to respond, chatbots can come to your customer’s aid.
- Chatbots reduce abandoned carts. We’re talking about a whopping 20 to 30% reduction simply by keeping customers engaged, and sending them reminders.
- Chatbots are the future. According to projections, chatbots will drive e-commerce transactions worth $122 billion by 2023.
83% of consumers have said convenience is more important now than it was in 2015. And convenience includes not having to wait. Here’s how Terra Kaffe, a maker of elegant espresso machines, uses chatbots on Facebook to keep their customers happy:
2. Facebook Shops
Facebook Shops allows SMBs to compete on an equal footing with big brands. It’s Facebook's way of helping brands drive in-store traffic during the pandemic because it allows people to browse, explore, and buy your products directly from the platform.
The best part about setting up shop on Facebook is that it comes with easy and customizable design tools. Choose products from your catalog that you want to feature in your shop and create a theme that illustrates your brand. Other features you can personalize include a cover image and accent colors.
One brand that has found success on Facebook Shop is Pink Tag Boutique. By creating collections and enabling the checkout function, shoppers could easily sift through their picture ads and buy them instantly.
Traditional Facebook Stories, Ads, and Live are all helpful in introducing new products to the target audience. But Facebook Live Shopping takes social commerce a notch higher because it enables viewers to purchase featured goods once the broadcast is done.
All these Facebook Shops features have allowed the boutique to enjoy a whopping $44,448 in incremental sales.
3. Instagram Shopping
Like Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping is all about increasing your product’s visibility on the platform. It shares many of the same features as Facebook Shops, such as:
- The shop, where you can sell your products and tell your brand story.
- Collections, which allow you to organize your products into themes, such as new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends, etc.
- Product Display Pages, or PDPs, present all relevant information about items from your product catalog, including pricing and descriptions.
- Direct checkout, allowing Instagram users to make in-app purchases.
On Instagram, you can see the Shop button on the navigation bar at the bottom of the page. Once you click it, an assortment of products from different Shops will appear.
4. Micro-influencer marketing
Social commerce has become intertwined with the creator's economy. But instead of working with big influencers, social commerce continues to put the spotlight on micro-influencers.
These smaller-scale celebrities have a following of 10,000 to 100,000. Despite having a more limited reach than macro and mega influencers, this range is more than enough to create a tightly-knit, highly-engaged circle that listens to their recommendations.
Look for influencers in your specific niche or business vertical. For example, if your brand sells workout clothes, you can collaborate with influencers like @amanda_works_out (31.7K followers) or @jeannie.g.fitness (40.4K followers) who are trained, online fitness coaches.
Micro-influencers usually take the time to interact with their audience, making them more trustworthy as brand ambassadors. Reach out to them warmly by following them on their social media accounts first.
5. TikTok Advertising and Shopping
If there ever was a pandemic platform, the award would go to TikTok. During the outbreak, no other platform has given its users as much entertainment nor achieved as much success. TikTok took their newfound fame to enter into social commerce – and it worked. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is proof enough, with 7.1 billion views:
In September 2021, the platform made its run for social commerce official by launching TikTok Shopping. Brands can now add product links, create customized ads, and engage in live shopping. This new feature came a month after the announcement of TikTok and Shopify’s partnership. These developments strongly suggest that TikTok Shopping will get bigger in 2022.
6. Augmented Reality
AR and VR can improve audience accessibility for ecommerce businesses. These tools allow consumers to test your goods before they purchase, drawing physical shopping and online shopping even closer.
With AR and VR, fashion brands can let shoppers try out their products without having to visit the store. Here’s a cool example from a new generation digital platform called ZERO10:
What’s more? Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement of “Meta” might skyrocket ecommerce sales even more. And it seems that big brands are already gearing up for it. Just look at H&M’s Metaverse Store vision:
7. Ephemeral content
Ephemeral content is anything that you post on social media that disappears after 24 hours. Like with AR, Snapchat was also the first to integrate this feature into a social media platform.
Ephemeral content usually means your followers can’t find your post again on social platforms unless you have it saved as a Highlight on Facebook or Instagram. This type of content attracts attention because it evokes “the fear of missing out” or FOMO.
An added benefit is that it enables brands to post stuff without overthinking. Not only does their brand personality shine through, but they also don't have to worry too much about curating their content perfectly because of its low-maintenance format.
But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan your content. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Behind-the-scenes of making a product or shooting your new product line
- Progress reports on your new projects
- Helpful tips for your audience
- Reposting customer stories or testimonials.
Here’s how the throw blanket manufacturer Bien Mal does it:
Wrapping it up
Facebook and Instagram are good starting points for social commerce newbies, but other platforms are also worth your attention, especially TikTok.
Aside from leveraging the right platforms, brands should also adopt new innovations, such as AR and chatbots. Take advantage of these 7 social commerce trends and watch your company grow in 2022!