As a result of the pandemic, social shopping / social e-commerce is now one of most popular shopping outlets worldwide.
The Rise of Social Shopping
Social Shopping allows customers to purchase products directly on social media. Over the past year and a half, online shopping has soared in popularity as the pandemic forced shoppers to buy products online that they couldn’t get in-store anymore. In fact, by July 2020, global retail e-commerce sites cumulatively saw a record 22 billion monthly visits, an increase of 16.07 billion global visits from January 2020. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram adapted to the change. They developed e-commerce tools further allowing in-app sales for businesses on their platforms.
Over 93% of people say they use online reviews to make a decision on a purchase. People clearly have a great reliance on online reviews ratings and comments on social when it comes to shopping. Therefore, it is no surprise that shopping directly on social has become so popular now too.
Why is it Important for Businesses?
Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with online shopping. As this happens, it’s important that businesses follow suit and become more comfortable with selling their products through social media. Social shopping for a business does not just mean being present in the world of social media. Businesses now have to create a noteworthy exchange for their customer. This involves building a brand that users want to engage with on social, creating an easy experience when purchasing your product and show awareness to your customer’s thoughts.
Social Shopping’s Latest Features
Instagram’s ‘10 Days of Live Shopping‘ Event to Showcase its Evolving eCommerce Tools.
At the start of September, a collection of celebrities streamed product launches for multiple brands through Instagram live. With this event, Instagram showcased the ability of live-stream shopping for connecting with Instagram’s audience. There will be a specific spot within Instagram’s Shop tab for these commerce specific streams. The combination of exclusive products and the opportunity to engage with brands/celebrities will sure draw in audiences. It will be interesting to see how brands utilise this feature best.
WhatsApp Launches Test of In-App Business Directory.
Whatsapp is looking to add a new local business directory to their app. The new option will enable users to tap on ‘Businesses Nearby’ in their WhatsApp contact listing, this will then show listings of active local business profiles using WhatsApp. Next, leading them to the business’ full profile which will have links to contact or purchase products. One thing WhatsApp has reassured its customers about is that they are “not logging your location or what businesses you browse.” If implemented correctly this feature could increase the app’s usage and even transform it into one of the e-commerce leading apps.
Facebook announced a range of new business connection tools.
Firstly, Facebook is launching new click to message ad options, expanding the capacity to engage with customers through a variety of messaging apps. Advertisements encouraging customers to message the brand/business will now detect which messaging platform is used most often by the individual user, then prompt them to message your brand through that platform. By allowing users to contact businesses through their preferred platform, businesses could see an improved number of responses from their click to message ads.
Facebook will also allow Instagram business profiles to add a WhatsApp click-to-chat button directly to their page. This could be a big aid to businesses that primarily focus on WhatsApp to gain exposure and attention. As previously mentioned WhatApp has also seen some new features helping brands connect to customers. Instagram could become the perfect visual companion to the messaging app.
The last tool Facebook is testing is a new option that would enable businesses to select 4-5 questions to ask consumers prior to starting a messaging chat. This will hopefully aid businesses by giving them context to what customers are enquiring about. We have seen similar a feature within Messenger for some time. Despite this, incorporating it into Facebook directly is only increasing ways in which customers can start conversations. It is also noted that they are looking to test this feature within Instagram in the coming months.