According to Hootsuite, “social commerce is the process of selling products and services on social media” (Hootsuite, 2022). This phenomenon started in 2007 when Facebook opened its marketplace to allow users to sell items within their network. After years of testing, the social media giant finally allowed brands to sell directly on its platform.
In 2016, Instagram (now owned by Meta) allowed brands to tag products within their post with a price. The strategy behind this was that if users saw a product they liked with its price, they are more likely to purchase it at that time.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, video consumption has skyrocketed. For content creators wondering what the secret is – it’s short-form video. That’s why social channels such as Instagram and TikTok have become so popular. Both use short-form video to present information to buyers.
If you’re a brand that targets Gen-Z, know that they are two to three times more likely to shop on social channels and are persuaded by influencers or celebrities.
Social commerce has evolved over the years and isn’t limited to just Facebook and Instagram. Other social platforms such as Snapchat, Pinterest and TikTok are jumping on the bandwagon.
Social Commerce in Action
According to SproutSocial, “social commerce sales in 2020 were at an estimated $27 billion” (SproutSocial, 2021). Sales are projected to hit close to $80 billion by 2025.
One brand that uses social commerce is Clinique. Every Friday at 12 PM, the brand uses Facebook’s livestream shopping option. During this time, they provide skin care tutorials, answer questions live and much more.
So, what is livestream shopping? This feature lets brands “display and link to products alongside the video stream, and even use timestamps to help viewers find where each product is featured in the video. Viewers can also comment in real time during the livestream, increasing engagement” (SproutSocial, 2021). The only caveat with this Facebook feature is that it’s not available for every brand.
Even though social commerce is projected to grow close to $80 billion, I’m not sure if this is a channel I will use to buy products. The reason I’m hesitant about this approach is because it doesn’t feel natural to buy products this way. I’m also not sold on entering my credit card information on social platforms but they may offer a more secure checkout process than traditional commerce sites.
I do however allow influencers or celebrities to influence my buying decisions. For example, last year around Black Friday, I watched a short-from video on Instagram posted by someone in my network. We used to work together and since then she’s become a social media influencer. She was promoting the Beachwaver and how easy it is to use. I have purchased so many curling irons but none of them really worked for me. Then when I watched her tutorial on how to use the Beachwaver, I needed to buy it!
I didn’t buy it on social media. I went to Beachwaver’s website and placed my order there. It’s clear that social commerce is evolving and isn’t going anywhere. Eventually I’ll need to change my perspective on how to engage with brands but for now, I’ll stick to my old habits.
Leave a Reply