top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureJane Hayes Consulting

What Is Social Commerce, And How To Use It In Your Business?

Updated: 2 days ago


Hands hold a mobile phone on a marble background. On the phone is social media shopping

With the rise in popularity of social media has come the creation and fast adoption of social commerce. Some of the rapid increase is due to the COVID-19 pandemic that saw consumers change the way they shopped on mass and adapt at a higher rate to a new way of shopping. The word social commerce first started appearing in 2005 through Yahoo, but its modern form came into effect in 2015, initially through Facebook, then through Instagram, and now through platforms such as TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube.


Part of the draw of social commerce is that the consumer can research, browse, and purchase all in-app, though this can depend on which country you’re browsing from. This seamless shopping experience works well with an ever-increasing pace of life where customers want ease of purchase and for shopping to work into their lives, not the other way around.


According to Oberlo, the average person will spend two hours and 27 minutes on social media per day worldwide in 2022. With this likely to increase year on year, it makes sense that businesses implement social commerce strategies to make the most of the time viewers spend on platforms.


According to a recent Forbes article, globally, social commerce is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional commerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025, up from $492 billion currently. Roughly 62% of this growth will be driven by millennials (33%) and Gen-Z (29%), with Gen-X (28%) and baby boomers (10%).


A pie chart for social media generational use

Top Categories For Social Commerce Purchases.


A bar graph for Top Categories For Social Commerce Purchases.

Source Statista.


Shopping was once, and for some still is, a physical, social outing. A time to get together, drink coffee and plan your updated wardrobe. Through the years and the development of online shopping, this has changed. People started shopping with convenience in mind; for many, that was shopping online via their mobile on a lunch break or during the ads of a favourite TV show. Social commerce, for some, is bringing the social back to shopping! Individuals can interact with a brand, share their desired purchases with a friend via a DM or a tag and have a conversation. When the purchase arrives, they can also share their new additions, tagging the brand and friends for feedback.


“Social media users in the US spend an average of 38 minutes on TikTok daily. The number of brands using TikTok is expected to increase by 40 percent this year. 20.6 percent of social media shoppers say they buy things on TikTok “all of the time.” TikTok ad revenues are set to hit close to $12 billion in 2022“Shopify


Apart from increased sales, social commerce is an excellent tool for collecting information from your audience; it’s an instant focus group. In one place, you can exhibit your entire product catalogue where customers can review and discuss it on mass. You can create polls on which product they like best, which colour way is their favourite or what they would like to see designed next. This invaluable product insight can assist you in avoiding development mistakes which can be costly, and can help you with inventory levels.


What Is Social Commerce?

Social commerce falls under the e-commerce banner in which businesses sell their product through social media channels. This type of online commerce enables the consumer to research, browse and purchase all in-app.


Six Types of Social Commerce:


Storefronts On Social Profiles:

A social storefront is a functional e-commerce store within an established social media network. A social media presence gives brands a chance to engage with customers and mould the perception of a product, service, or mission.


Shoppable Organic Posts:

A shoppable post is any content that gives your customers a direct opportunity to purchase. If you're a clothing retailer, you can add a Shop Now button on a product image or an order link to a video caption.


Shoppable Paid Ads:

What are shoppable ads? Shoppable ads are just how they sound, ads that are shoppable. Instead of having to remember the product being advertised and buy it at a store later, consumers can make the purchase directly from the ad they're viewing.


Branded Influencer Content:

They're posts shared by creators in partnership with a brand, which are then promoted as an ad. Branded ads take influencer content up a level. As a brand, if there's a particular collaborative post from an influencer that's resonating with your audience, you can pay to promote it further in the app.


Live Shopping:

Livestream shopping is used by brands to promote and sell products through live streams on digital platforms, often in collaboration with influencers. Think the shopping channel but via social media! The aim is to provide consumers with an immersive and interactive experience, allowing them to ask questions and buy products during the livestream.


A Shop Tab Or Feed:

In the shop tab, people can browse, save, and buy products listed by businesses or tagged by creators. Ads with shop tab placement appear with a “sponsored” label and otherwise function as any other post or product listing.


Share of internet users in Australia who use social media for online shopping in 2020 with forecasts up to 2024.

A bar chart for share of internet users in Australia who use social media for online shopping in 2020 with forecasts up to 2024.

The Demographics:

It’s vital to know your demographics. Knowing your audience enables you to understand how best to target them and what platforms to focus your energy on. There are many platforms to choose from, and it can be time-consuming and expensive to create content, so choose strategically to achieve the best results. Below we have curated a range of high-level statistics on the demographic breakdown across five social platforms to support you in platform selection.


Facebook:

Number of monthly active users: 2.91 billion

84.3% of men shop online compared to 77% of women

Largest age group: 25-34 (31.5%)

Gender: 43% female, 57% male (no data on other genders)

Time spent per day: 33 minutes


Instagram:

Number of monthly active users: 2 billion

Largest age group: 25-34 (31.2%), with 18-24 close behind at 31%

Gender: 48.4% female, 51.8% male (no data on other genders)


TikTok:

Number of monthly active users: 1 billion

Largest age group: 10-19 (25%)

Gender: 61% female, 39% male (no data on other genders)

Time spent per day: 89 minutes per day


Pinterest:

Number of monthly active users 431 million

Largest age group: 50-64 (38%)

Gender: 78% female, 22% male (no data on other genders)


YouTube:

Number of monthly active users: 2+ billion

Largest age group: 15-35 (highest reach)

Gender: 46% female, 54% male (no data on other genders)


Social Commerce Platforms:


Facebook:

Facebook Marketplace was an early adopter of social commerce, starting in 2015. It’s the go-to platform for creating community, sharing updates, and creating a branded social commerce presence. Businesses can customise their shops via logo usage, brand colours, and images and either connect their website or start from scratch. Your Facebook shop is connected to your profile, making it easy for customers to access both; customers can shop in-app or be directed to your website. Customers can have their questions answered via chats that can be programmed to house frequently asked questions.


How to set up your shop on Facebook:


1. Go to your Facebook Page and configure the shop page.

2. Set up your shop details.

3. Configure your payments.

4. Add products to your store.

5. Review your store and start selling.


A mobile phone on a white background. On the phone is a screenshot of instagram shopping.

Instagram:

Instagram is still a young business; it celebrated its 12th birthday in 2022, but it is already the 7th most visited website globally, so it wields great power. According to Hootsuite, 1.22 billion people use Instagram each month, and 44% of people use Instagram to shop per week. Instagram is a highly visual platform; customers can view videos and still images to inform themselves of a brand and its offerings, learn about their personality and create connections. It’s through this connection that brands can create sales. The ease with which sales can happen on Instagram makes it popular as a consumer can research, purchase, and then go back to browsing or talk with friends about when to wear their latest purchase.


How to set up your shop on Instagram:


2. Connect your catalogue or use a partner.

3. Enter your website (Instagram will need to verify).

4. Set up your checkout option.

5. Choose sales channels.

6. Add products to at least one catalogue.

7. Preview your shop to make sure it looks good and start selling.



TikTok:

TikTok is the social commerce platform de jour and is a great choice for brands wanting to connect with tech-savvy consumers and stay relevant. Businesses can sell via TikTok in three ways, through in-feed videos, feeds, and the product showcase tab. Hashtags such as tiktokmademebuyit enable customers to share their latest purchases making shopping via TikTok truly social.


How to set up your shop on TikTok:

1. Sign up with a phone number and email address.

2. Fill out the application with a certificate of incorporation, passport or driving license.

3. Wait for the result; you will receive an email about your application result.

4. Link your TikTok account, link your TikTok account to your shop and start selling.


“Out of 4.6 billion global Internet users, 3.59 billion people use at least one Meta app every month: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp. Many use more than one.” Statista


A phone on a white background. On the phone is a screenshot of YouTube shopping

YouTube:

YouTube launched in 2005; it’s the second most visited website globally. According to an article from The Business of Retail, YouTube is the most trusted platform for social commerce. YouTube is new to the social commerce landscape and is doing so through a partnership with Shopify. The partnership enables businesses to sell their products through live stream commerce, a modern take on the QVC model.


How to set up your shop on YouTube:

1. Install the Google channel in the Shopify app store.

2. In the YouTube shopping section of the Google channel, connect your YouTube account.

3. Choose which products to feature for YouTube Shopping.

4. Add products to your videos from Monetisation> Shopping and start selling.



Pinterest:

Pinterest launched in 2010 as a platform for people to create a space for inspiration. It is a newcomer to social commerce and is adapting its strategy to keep its relevancy and attract advertisers and consumers alike. With 478 million people coming to the site to tap into inspiration it makes sense that the visual platform would work to carve out a niche in the social commerce world. Businesses can sell their wares through buyable pins; Brands can tag products to the pins and add a CTA for shopping so users can buy products directly.


How to set up your shop on Pinterest:

1. Set up a business account.

2. Brand your account.

3. Link and verify your website.

4. Review details and start selling.


Brands To Learn From:

The term you don’t need to reinvent the wheel is an oldie but a goodie. Learn from businesses that are comparable and study their strategies. Below we review a selection of Australian brands and gain an insight into how they use social commerce.


A screenshot of Instgram shopping for brand Exie Studio

“The social commerce industry in Australia is expected to grow by 9.2% annually

to reach US$1, 385.0 million in 2022. The social commerce industry is expected to grow steadily over the forecast period, recording a CAGR of 9.8% during 2022-2028. “Businesswire


A screenshot for social media shopping for Mud Australia

Mud Australia:

The iconic Australian ceramics brand takes its effortless sophistication and sells with ease across Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Their targeted platforms speak to the brand’s demographic, as does their content, simple, elegant, and paired back. Their presence across all channels is on brand with mud using strategic brand colours, tones, and images. This consistency builds brand trust with its audience and helps to encourage sales.

A screenshot for social media shopping for Witchery

Above, we see the sales journey of Witchery’s Pinterest profile.


Witchery:

Witchery takes their paired-back style and applies it to their social commerce profiles. The Australian fashion brand has accounts on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, which are complimentary to their audience. They stay on brand through logo, colour scheme and mood, and though they don’t have a TikTok profile, they collaborate with influencers for presence.


Conclusion:

The key takeaway from the above brands is to stay true to your brand no matter the platform. The businesses above stay on the brand through consistent branding and tone and really know their audience. They speak authentically and make it easy for customers to interact with them and feel part of the community, which are the true keys to long-term customer relationships. They don’t spread themselves too thin regarding platform selection, choosing strategically to reflect their audience.


Need assistance in setting up your social commerce presence? Contact Jane Hayes Consulting today.





Jane Hayes Consulting, Leading You Through The Digital World:

Jane Hayes Consulting is an independent digital marketing agency founded to help businesses create consistent, creatively aligned, and strategic content. We can help you put your best foot forward with our expertly crafted team covering website design and building, marketing strategy, content creation, brand creation, and project management. We work within budget restraints and look toward the future. Need assistance in developing your digital strategy and creating a business advantage? Contact Jane Hayes Consulting today and sign up for our newsletter.

Comments


bottom of page