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Social Shopping: Creating a Single App Experience for Consumers

Vivian Phung
Written By
Vivian Phung
Published On
Dec 22, 2023
Three women looking at a phone while social media shopping

Social media shopping is the present and future of retail therapy. 

While online shopping continues to phase out brick-and-mortar stores, these platforms sometimes fall flat in terms of user experience. Businesses with an unoptimized site run the risk of turning away potential customers. 

Brands should invest in their e-commerce web development, but social shopping has also presented a new avenue for them to reach buyers. In this article, we’ll delve into the idea of a unified app experience that can cater to your customer’s needs.

Ready? Let’s explore the world of social commerce! 

What Is Social Shopping?

In social media shopping, the entire retail experience is hosted on social media platforms, whether that’s buying or selling goods, trading, or hiring services. Providing this kind of shopping experience requires setting up shop pages within the platform so users can move from discovery to purchase without leaving the app.

One of social shopping’s most immediate benefits is that it encourages users to buy products directly from businesses, effectively cutting out any intermediaries. This can lower costs for the brand selling the product while also benefitting the consumer—foregoing the need to visit an external website simplifies the buying process and saves them time. 

Is Social Media Marketing the Same as Social Selling?

Social media marketing is the process by which brands promote themselves and their products on social media. Social commerce, on the other hand, is the process of actually selling those products on the app. The two go hand-in-hand for success! 

The Social Media Platforms to Know

Currently, these social platforms are dominating the social commerce market:

Facebook

Using Facebook Shop, businesses can set up their social commerce sites within their Facebook Business Pages. This feature is customizable, as brands can choose which products to feature, customize their digital store, and import an existing catalogue of products from their branded page or website.

Instagram

Just like Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping allows users to buy or sell products featured in their photos and videos from anywhere on the app. Using Shopping Tags, businesses can tag their products in their posts or stories. There’s also a Shop Tab where companies can browse, buy, or save any products listed by brands or tagged by content creators.

Pinterest

Retailers can also use Pinterest Shopping to upload their entire product catalogue on their Pinterest business page. Then, brands can tag the products in their Pins so it’s easier for potential customers to click on the tags and learn more about the item. However, Product Pins will redirect buyers to a specific product landing page to complete the purchase.

TikTok

Businesses can also bring in huge profits on TikTok Shop by advertising their products directly within the app, which drives purchases directly within the brand’s TikTok page. Companies with a large social media presence can also create videos that give shoppers the ability to purchase items directly while the brand is on TikTok LIVE.

Why You Should Care About Social Media Shopping

With the number of online shoppers continuously rising (with a projected increase of up to 2.71 billion in 2024), the time is now to invest in social shopping.

Social commerce curates a seamless shopping experience for the user, enhances customer engagement and brand visibility, and drives organic business growth and revenue all at the same time. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!  

A woman holding a credit card while online shopping

Social media usage is also on the rise. Considering the average user spends 15% of their waking life on social media, businesses have so much to gain by embracing social commerce and investing in mechanisms to sell on social media channels.

Social shopping also makes it easier to learn about your target market.

A 2021 survey reported more than 55% of social media users aged 18 to 24 made at least one purchase through channels that year. Users in the 25 to 34 bracket were second, as 48% of them reported having made at least one purchase. This is further proof that brands looking to reach Gen Z and millennials need to be on social media platforms. 

There’s also social influence to consider, too. A staggering 88% of consumers say that they trust their friends’ recommendations over traditional media when deciding what products they want to buy. If your brand can crush social commerce trends and reach one person, it stands to be well-positioned to reach those they trust, too. 

Social Commerce vs. E-commerce

While both take place in an online marketplace, selling on a social commerce site and an e-commerce site provides a different experience. 

In an e-commerce market, the shopper is taken to an e-commerce site, an online store, or a branded app. While the process of buying and selling goods takes place online, businesses also sell through various social channels aside from online marketplaces.

On the other hand, social commerce platforms enable you to sell directly to consumers on their app of choice. This affords opportunities to make selling more interactive, as business owners can connect to their target market on a more emotional level. Influencer marketing and encouraging user-generated content are two examples. 

With that being said, business owners have more control when it comes to their e-commerce websites and their content. When they choose to sell on social media platforms, they must follow the platform’s rules and regulations.

However, social media shopping does make it easier for brands to obtain customer feedback on the products or services they provide. Companies can then capitalize on this by running polls on which product they liked the most or asking consumers for their opinions in the comments section of their social media posts.

A businesswoman selling products online.

Crush Social Commerce Trends With Our Help

Now that you know the benefits of selling directly on social media platforms, you’re probably wondering what to do next—start by connecting with The Influence Agency

Our team of digital marketing experts can help you design and launch a compelling social media shopping experience that gets results. We stay on top of the latest trends to curate a successful social commerce strategy that always reaches who matters most.

Contact us today to get started!

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