If you’re marketing your brand online, you can’t ignore social media. At 3.96 billion, more than 50% of the world’s population now uses social media platforms.
This means that you would have access to a massive segment of your audience if you make your presence felt on these platforms. While numerous brands use social media marketing to drive brand awareness, lead generation, and sales, they tend to miss out on social commerce.
Going into 2021, social commerce is an important strategy that you must add to your brand’s marketing plan.
But why is it important?
Before we answer that, let’s take a quick look at what exactly social commerce is.
What is Social Commerce?
Social media marketing focuses on leveraging social media to drive traffic to your website to generate sales. However, social commerce differs from it in that it’s all about developing an ecommerce experience on social media itself.
In essence, instead of driving traffic away from social media to generate sales, it’s all about offering your prospects the option to checkout on social media directly.
Doing so has a lot of advantages; let’s take a look at them to understand why you can’t afford to ignore social commerce in 2021.
Importance of Social Commerce
Whether you’re starting an online business or already have an established one, here’s why you should incorporate social commerce into your digital marketing strategy.
1. Rise of Ecommerce
The adoption of ecommerce has been gradually increasing over the years. Ecommerce penetration increased to 15% of retail sales by the end of 2019.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the penetration manifold. By April 2020, this penetration had increased to 25%.
Image via WARC
This increased adoption of ecommerce has provided a tremendous boost to ecommerce stores. And this also means that you need to make your presence felt on social media because that’s where a lot of product discoveries begin.
In fact, about 60% of people discover new products through Instagram — and that’s just one of the many social platforms.
By incorporating social commerce into your strategy, you can improve the chances of your products or services getting discovered on social media.
2. Smooth Shopping Experience
One of the biggest advantages of using social commerce over social media marketing is that all the steps of the sales funnel happen on social media in the case of social commerce. However, in the case of social media marketing, you need to get your audience to first discover your product and then convince them to click on your CTA and head to your website.
These steps not only complicate the process but also increase the chances of people dropping out of your funnel as there are additional steps involved.
Some people may not trust your website and might not buy from you. But this wouldn’t be the case on social media as the chances of them trusting the social media platform are greater.
And that’s not even the best part…
When you use social commerce, you’ll be able to reduce the number of steps required to complete the transaction too. You could offer options like one-click purchases to make it easy for your prospects to buy from you. This can have a direct impact on your conversion rates.
3. The Push from Social Platforms
Social commerce has an important place in social media’s future. When you adopt social commerce, you’ll also benefit from the push that social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are giving to it. These platforms have come up with special features to make it easier for brands to list their products for sale on their platforms.
Facebook has come up with the Facebook Marketplace while Instagram has developed Instagram Shopping. Using these features, you can sell your products on Facebook or Instagram and help your customers complete the purchase without having to leave the platform.
This greatly simplifies the work that you need to do to list your products on social media as all of the infrastructure is provided to you.
4. Shoppable Posts
While this particular feature is specific to Instagram, it makes social commerce even more attractive for brands. You can pick out products from your shop and add them to the posts that you share on the platform.
These posts will sport a small shopping bag icon and your audience can shop for the products directly from these posts. All that they need to do is click on the post and select the product of their choice and checkout. It’s that simple!
But wait, there’s more…
That’s not the only thing that you can do with Shoppable posts. To unleash the true potential of Shoppable posts, you need to partner with Instagram influencers.
The idea is to get them to create shoppable posts for you. For this, all you have to do is send your products to them and encourage them to create posts where they’re using them.
They can then make these posts shoppable and you’ll instantly have access to their wide and engaged audience. All their followers will be able to purchase your products after seeing them in the post within a few clicks.
This can help you make a lot of money as you’ll be able to get the benefit of both a short sales process and the engaged audience of an influencer.
For instance, note how Shop WeWoreWhat has shared this post featuring Danielle Bernstein. Their followers can purchase both the products displayed in the post by clicking on them and checking out.
Image via Instagram
Ecommerce registered exponential growth in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to take advantage of this, it’s essential to do everything you can to reach your prospects.
And that’s exactly why you can’t afford to miss out on social commerce going into 2021. It helps your prospects complete their purchases on social media, shortens the sales process, and offers a smooth shopping experience.
Various social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are even coming up with new features that encourage social commerce.
One such powerful feature you can leverage is shoppable posts on Instagram. You can amp up your reach and sales even further by partnering with influencers and getting them to create shoppable posts for you.
Do you have any questions about social commerce and its importance? Let me know in the comments section below.
Gaurav Sharma is the founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business 2 Community, TechCrunch, and more.