What Exactly is Social Commerce?
Social commerce sales include products or services ordered via social media networks. It includes when the shopping experience falls directly on the social media platform or includes clicking links from a social network to a product page with an immediate purchase option. Currently, the social apps that allow for direct social commerce include Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest (Snapchat is experimenting with a beta feature). With no surprise, Facebook is the top social commerce platform in the US with 56 million buyers.
Taking it to the Next Level: CommentSold
And it’s not just Facebook, but Facebook groups specifically that are taking it to the next level. Many small businesses looked for unique ways to offer a personal shopping experience to their customers during the pandemic. When physical stores were required to shut down, online shopping and live social video skyrocketed. And when you think about this, it’s truly not a new concept. The use of video sales has been around for decades with TV channels like QVC and HSN. This is just a modernized version of a concept that has proven successful for many years.
The Rise of the Platform, CommentSold
Small boutiques started using a digital platform, “CommentSold,” during their Facebook Group live sales. The platform’s name accurately describes how it works – customers tune in during a live sale and comment “sold” on any post of an item they wish to purchase (with size and quantity). This comment prompts the platform’s software to send an invoice through Facebook messaging to complete the transaction. The creator of the platform was inspired to develop the software to help his wife’s boutique sell more with Facebook and Shopify. Her customers were liking items in her Facebook group, but without the engagement they weren’t following through with purchases.
“Seeing the deep-rooted relationships you can build by going live and interacting nightly or weekly is a fun parallel trend that never happened in e-commerce previously,” he said.
The platform now supports 14,000 businesses, most of them boutiques. Many of the boutiques don’t even have e-commerce websites, and they are doing the live sales out of their living rooms but they are seeing exponential growth.
It’s Not Only Convenient, But No One Wants FOMO
One of the biggest pros of social commerce is the immediacy, but unlike regular e-commerce, live social commerce creates a demand with limited quantities or special discounts that further prompts shoppers to buy right away. Viewers are more likely to buy because they just don’t want to miss out. This is a recipe for a very successful marketing strategy.
So Why Should Marketers/Merchants Consider Social Commerce?
- It’s a good balance of direct and indirect marketing: the live sale host helps to put a face with the product/service but the act of live sales is direct to the consumer.
- Online shopping boomed during the pandemic and it will just continue to rise. Plus it’s where the younger generations like to shop!
- Social commerce can offer a more cost-effective solution if a new business doesn’t have the money for an e-commerce platform. Set-ups for live sales can be as basic (or complicated) as the merchant wants them to be.
- It combines both selling and marketing (getting the brand name out there), plus offers a direct way to collect feedback from your customers in real-time. Merchants can also offer their customers a chance to be a part of what they choose to sell. If a customer feels invested into the shop they are more likely to purchase.
- Merchants can collect and utilize customer data from social to create targeted social ads for their products.