The Growth And Opportunity Of Social Commerce

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The digital world has entered the age of social commerce. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all have some form of the in-feed buy button, all facilitating the growth in this next evolution in e-commerce. While social shopping still represents a small portion of e-commerce, with the proliferation of new tools, social shopping is set to explode in the coming years.

According to a Business Insider Intelligence, social commerce has grown 26 percent since 2013, compared to 16 percent growth in e-commerce overall. In addition to social shopping representing a larger share of the overall digital commerce landscape, social referral traffic to retail sites has increased 200 percent.

If we take a closer look at the quality of the traffic, shoppers who make their way to retail sites from social networks spend an average of $108. That number has been trending up all year and is expected to increase as social commerce continues to mature. The implementation of buy buttons on social sites creates a seamless experience, making these tools a primary driver of the rise in social commerce.

But the future of digital commerce isn’t just on social media, it’s mobile as well. The bottom line is that consumers want their digital shopping experience to be easy and convenient. Whether it’s buyable Pins, Tweets or posts on Instagram, mobile-first platforms have the edge on both counts.

Indeed, the growth of mobile social commerce echoes the overall trends in the mobile revolution. While Twitter fancies itself as a mobile-first platform, Instagram and Pinterest are prime targets for brands looking for a gateway into mobile commerce, without the need to develop new infrastructure or revamp the old.

The proximity and attachment people have to their mobile devices present both an opportunity and a challenge. For instance, Instagram users have a reputation for being highly engaged and, according to Shopify, the network drives the second highest average order value. However, despite these opportunities, the challenge is connecting to social shoppers with the authenticity mobile-first platforms like Instagram demand.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to take advantage of the growth in social and mobile commerce.

Leverage The Power Of Influencers

This is particularly key on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, where influence equals credibility. Social media influencers have already established an authentic connection with their audiences. Teaming up with the right digital creative to showcase and endorse your product or brand could result in huge engagement and even increased sales.

Make It Visual

The mobile and social web has gone visual. Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are all visual media platforms, which contributes to the high engagement on these networks. While static images certainly get higher engagement than text, video consistently outperforms static images across social platforms. What does this mean? Social audiences want high-quality visual content. Michael Kors was among the first retailers to make its Instagram account shoppable and is an excellent case study in creating stunning visual media on the network.

Get Platform Specific

When developing a social or mobile commerce campaign, think about the objective and choose your channels appropriately. For instance, if you want to generate buzz around a promotion, sale or product launch, Twitter has been proven the most powerful network for real-time engagement. And while Snapchat doesn’t have a buy button just yet, the combination of the right influencers and third-party apps could turn the mobile messaging app into a social shopping power-house.

Measure ROI

The primary purpose of social media marketing thus far has been to increase brand awareness. The challenge for many brands has been tracking social and mobile traffic to the point of sale. However, “buy now” buttons enable brands to track social engagement all the way to conversion and even create more detailed customer personas. Develop strategic goals that use these new tools to connect social and mobile campaigns to the business bottom line.