The retail landscape has undergone a remarkable transformation from the days when physical stores dominated the shopping experience. And just when we thought we had it all figured out with e-commerce, something new came along: social commerce. In this blog post, we'll break down what social commerce means, why it’s important, and cover everything you need to know to sell on social commerce successfully.

What is social commerce

In short, social commerce is buying and selling products and services directly through social media platforms. Its evolution was unpreventable as most internet users spend quite a decent amount of time using social media. In response to the potential, social media companies started offering businesses ways to sell on their platforms. Initially, it began with basic product tagging and has since grown to encompass diverse shopping experiences, including live shopping events, influencer-driven sales, and seamless checkout options embedded within social platforms. This evolution has transformed social media into active marketplaces, combining social interaction with convenient shopping opportunities.

What is the difference between e-commerce and social commerce

Social commerce is a branch of e-commerce in the sense that both are shopping online, but they are not the same. E-commerce usually refers to selling your products or services on your website while social commerce is selling on social media platforms.

You can also differentiate those two by the state of your customers on each. On e-commerce consumers actively enter your site with shopping or research intentions. On the other hand, on social commerce, they are simply there to hang out and might end up engaging with your products. In other words, if you manage to target the right person on social media you can ignite his purchasing intention even if it wasn’t there before.

How popular is social commerce?

The UK alone has over 45 million active social media users, but when you sell on social media, you’re not limited geographically, you can sell everywhere, making social commerce a huge opportunity. In fact, Forecasts suggest that the value of global social commerce sales will reach around $ 2.9 trillion by 2026.

According to Paypal, 44% of UK consumers claim they’ve used social platforms for purchases, and 22% say they’d be more likely to buy something having seen it on social media. There is no doubt that these numbers will continue to grow in the coming years.

What are the most popular social commerce platforms?

Facebook marketplace is the most popular social commerce channel in the UK in 2023, followed by Instagram. These two are estimated to dominate 58% of social commerce revenues in the UK in 2023. After that, other big players are YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.  It’s important to keep in mind that each one of these platforms has its own demographic and purpose. Therefore, it’s important to understand where your customers are, based on age, gender, interests, etc.

Why social commerce matters and how it succeeds

Social commerce means actively engaging with your customers instead of passively waiting for them to come to you. It's about being present when they wake up, before they sleep, during their day-to-day activities, and wherever they go online.

Social commerce works exceptionally well because it targets individuals with specific interests. For instance, if I love watching online skincare videos, cosmetic brands can effortlessly sell their products to me right in that space.

As previously mentioned, this gives you the power to evoke a purchasing desire that wasn’t there originally simply by consistently appearing in front of your audience.

With this approach, shoppers can shop effortlessly while hanging out, and businesses are able to reach their target audience and increase sales while building relationships.

Moreover, there is the younger generation, who grew up with a smartphone in their hand. A lot of them are so used to life inside those social media platforms that it feels to them more natural than actually going to a store. They prefer convenience and time-saving and to meet their expectation, you need to be seamlessly everywhere.

How to get started on social commerce

Now that we understand what is social commerce and why it’s so important, it’s time to learn how to sell on social media. While you can simply upload your products and hope for sales, this is not how you do that correctly.

Unlike your e-commerce site where this is a one-way communication, on social media you are expected to be social. Engage with your audience, reply to questions, and build up a story and relationship. You do that by creating high-quality, valuable content and involving your customers. Make sure to be consistent, and provide all the details they need to make a purchase.

Pro tip for successful social commerce

To effectively handle the complexities of managing sales across online, offline, and social platforms, think about integrating RFID software. This software tracks your complete inventory, ensuring accurate stock levels across all channels. By doing so, you'll secure full stock availability, boost sales, and ensure customer satisfaction in all platforms.

In conclusion, social commerce is changing how we shop. transitioning from traditional stores to e-commerce and now seamlessly integrating into social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The vast user base of social media platforms presents an immense opportunity for sales. What's noteworthy is its ability to incite purchases among individuals casually browsing social feeds. Embracing social commerce not only enhances customer connections but also offers a strategic path for business growth.