Social commerce – where social media meets eCommerce – has been on the rise since about 2015, and its adoption by brand has only accelerated during the pandemic.
The average person spends about 2 hours and 30 minutes on social media every day. And with younger generations (those aged 16–24) turning to social media rather than search engines to research brands before purchasing, it’s no doubt that social media is fast becoming one of the most important direct sales channels.
After all, that’s where all your customers are! By creating seamless paths for customers to purchase products and services within their social media channels, brands can engage customers and convert them instantly and effectively.
In the coming year, we see an increase in buyer-seller interaction on social media through engaging and interactive short-form content. As the world (hopefully) begins to open up in 2022, here are some trends we’ve noticed that will come to play a big part in your social commerce strategies.
1. Mobile Optimization for Social Commerce
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but we can’t overstate how important it is for brands to shore up their mobile presence, especially as mobile commerce sales are expected to rise by 200% by 2025.
Make sure that you have responsive web design for your online store, and set up a branded storefront on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook, to amplify your brand and sell to your followers at the same time. These upfront investments will be well worth it as according to industry experts, mobile commerce – which encompasses social commerce – will drive 50% of eCommerce sales in 2022.
It’s important that brands keep the conversation going with their customers on their mobile platforms. By leveraging conversational commerce, you can automate cart abandonment messages, promotional updates, shipping notifications, and more to turn your followers into customers. Find out about SHOPLINE’s social commerce tools here.
2. Live Stream Selling
An essential part of the pandemic, live streaming will continue to be an integral part of social commerce moving forward. In fact, many of SHOPLINE’s top live stream merchants got their start during the pandemic, and have seen sustained growth in both engagement and sales since.
Live streaming has become a great way for brands to engage with their audiences in real time. They’re more authentic and interactive, which make brands feel much more approachable to their followers. Live sellers have leveraged this, turning live streams into “shoppertainment” (as coined by Lazada) and drawing in audiences who not only tune in for entertainment but also purchase products directly.
Larger brands are paying attention. As consumer purchases transition from brick-and-mortar stores to digital platforms, shopping via live streaming creates a strong interactive feedback loop between the customer and merchant in real time. This creates a more engaging out-of-store experience that synergizes effectively with conversational commerce and your social content strategy.
Learn more about kickstarting your live commerce journey on Instagram and/or Facebook with SHOPLINE.
3. Short-Form Content a.k.a. TikTok is important
TikTok’s meteoric rise in popularity makes it one of the most important social media platforms that brands should be on right now, especially if your demographic skews younger (think Gen Z and millennials). Even if you have an older demographic, brands such as Ralph Lauren have found new audiences by marketing their products and services on the short-form video platform.
The platform’s interactive nature and the large community of expressive users, create a feeling of casual authenticity that many brands can and should leverage on to convert customers. In TikTok, it’s more important than ever for brands to pay close attention to organic content trends, and style yours after them – yes, even for ads.
A recent study found that short-form content – even ads – that “fit-in” with organic content already being produced by regular users are encouraged by platforms such as TikTok and Pinterest. Your ads will be perceived as more entertaining and less disruptive to the already ad-weary millennial and Gen Z community, which has led to better engagement and increased conversations for businesses.
4. Partner with Content Creators
In a word, more effective influencer marketing. Creating a community around your brand has always been the key to a successful social media strategy. However, in 2022, you may need to rethink your approach to influencer marketing.
Many brands have found success by forging strong partnerships with the right influencers/content creators. Look no further than TikTok, where brands not only form loyal partnerships with certain users, but also interact meaningfully with them via their own channels. These partnerships generate content and conversations by your brand, and more importantly, around your brand as you tap into the communities of your partnered content creator.
As the social media landscape moves away from glossy, generic, large-scale influencers to smaller and more authentic communities, brands that can partner with the right creators will gain access to these interest groups. Rethink large, generic partnerships with big-name influencers. Instead, tap into more micro-influencers who have a tight-knit community – consistently work with these influencers to gain the trust and loyalty of their following.
5. Social (Customer) Service
So you’ve got the community. Here comes the hard part – it’s time to manage it.
In 2022 and beyond, the rise in consumer demand in the eCommerce space comes with a massive shift in supply-chain and logistics. The rise in social media engagement will be a double-edged sword. Customers can and will flock to your social media platforms for inquiries and complaints, and it is vital that you also see it as a key customer service channel.
Now more than ever, brands have the distinct advantage (if you see it that way) of managing a customer’s buying experience in public. Competent social marketers, who know their audiences well and where they are likely to enquire, must work closely with their customer service departments to manage public reviews and complaints. This becomes a golden opportunity for building goodwill and a positive brand reputation for organizations.
Communication with your followers (and customers) is key. Having chatbots that can constantly keep them informed with shipping updates, offers and promotions, etc., can be very helpful. SHOPLINE’s social commerce tools have been vital in that regard to help our top merchants manage customer conversations.
Social commerce isn’t going anywhere. An incredible 97% of Gen Z use social media as shopping inspiration. The numbers are not too far off for other demographics, with 62% those aged 13-39 making consumer purchases influenced by their social media feeds.
As this number only continues to grow in 2022 and beyond, brands need to closely follow the trends in social commerce to turn loyal followers into their best customers. If you’re looking to scale your social commerce business with SHOPLINE, click here to speak to a consultant or get started on a free trial.