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The Provocateur: Your quick-start guide to social commerce

Del

It’s complicated.

Social Commerce, I mean. It’s not going to do for you what eCommerce has traditionally done…and it shouldn’t. Social Commerce isn’t about what your competitors are doing; it’s all about you. It’s an opportunity to complete your eCommerce ecosystem, filling in gaps in the consumer journey and your data collection, and ultimately winning the race for consumer dollars.

And it’s already here.

In 2020 the US saw a 63% average increase in social media use across Gen Z, Millennials & Gen X 1. This year, in the US alone, over 50% of 18+ social media users will visit Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat & Facebook daily 2. And they’re purchasing. 44% of US Social Users are expected to become buyers this year 3, whilst in China, Social Commerce in China is 10x the scale of the US 4.

If you’re not already running, it’s time to get out of the starting blocks.

Social Commerce – the buying and selling of products or services within a social media platform, has never offered more opportunities for, nor ever felt more daunting to, marketers across nearly every industry. But it’s not as hard as many think it is, and whilst there is no one-size-fits-all track to follow, it is easy to know where to start: begin with your brand’s eCommerce ecosystem today and where you would like to be tomorrow.

If your brand’s ecosystem today has a primarily eRetail ecommerce footprint, your eCommerce content is most likely optimized towards quick conversions. Your ecosystem may lack a vehicle for telling your brand story, educating consumers, building engagement and communities, and driving customer loyalty. Social Commerce allows customers to get to know brands more organically and facilitates impulse purchases. Shoppable ad units will also support your omnichannel distribution, driving traffic and revenue to your DTC store from your branded content.

DTC brands however will enjoy loyal clientele and a site rich in content. In this case, Social Commerce will expand awareness and drive new customers to DTC for a fully branded experience. You benefit by capturing 1P data and marketing directly.

Another key consideration in getting started is understanding where your customer is consuming social content today and where you expect them to be tomorrow. This understanding will guide the direction you take in choosing which platform(s) are best for your Social Commerce strategy.

Also, consider the assets you already have available.

For brands with an existing DTC eCommerce site, you have the technology & fulfilment infrastructure in place to launch Facebook Shops, a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram, with a native checkout solution.

Brands that already invest in brand ambassadors, corporate trainers, or influencers to support their products and campaigns, can tap into the power of Social Livestreams as a natural next step.

And if you have a product data feed already in place for Google Shopping and/or Dynamic Advertising, launch Shoppable Ads driving to eRetailers and DTC.

If Social Commerce is new to your brand, you may be starting late, but you’re almost certainly a step closer than you think. Use your existing eCommerce ecosystem as your starting block, and with a bit of critical thinking, you will quickly be well on your way to winning the Social Commerce race.

References

1Change in daily time spent with social media during the Coronavirus Pandemic among US Social Media Users, by Generation, March 2020” (2020/April) eMarketer. https://chart-na1.emarketer.com/236620/schedule.

2 Frequency with which US Social Network users select Social Media Platforms, Feb 2021 (2021/April) eMarketer. https://chart-na1.emarketer.com/247136/frequency-with-which-us-social-network-users-use-select-social-media-platforms-feb-2021-of-respondents-each-group.

3 US Social Buyers, by age (2021/May) eMarketer. https://chart-na1.emarketer.com/247541/us-social-buyers-by-age-2021-of-social-network-users-each-group.

4 Social Commerce Forecasts (2021/February) eMarketer. https://content-na1.emarketer.com/social-commerce-2021.

Thais Schaller, Director, Ecommerce Strategy, Wavemaker US