Social commerce is more than just the latest ecommerce buzzword and social media is no longer just a place to post about your latest travels and foamy lattes. Read that again. Social commerce first began gaining traction in 2015 with the growth of mobile and social platforms. As the pandemic took hold in 2020, many online ecommerce businesses began exploring new outlets for selling to their growing consumer base who were constantly online.
So, what exactly is social commerce? Social commerce stands at the crossroads of social media and ecommerce. This means social brands are using their platforms to promote and improve the online selling process to their customers, creating a seamless in-app path to purchase. No more redirects to websites, no more complicated sign-ups to purchase. The goal? Make the buying process as easy as possible for customers to purchase products while scrolling their feed. Needless to say, it’s WORKING! Check the stats:
- A 2021 report from Accenture predicts social commerce will grow three times as fast as traditional ecommerce, more than doubling from $492 billion worldwide in 2021 to $1.2 trillion by 2025.
- Insider Intelligence forecasts that U.S. retail social commerce sales will rise by 24.9% to $45.74 billion in 2022.
- Insider Intelligence projects social commerce will be a $79.64 billion industry in the U.S. by 2025.
Top Trends to Look for In 2022
When savvy marketers take the best of ecommerce and combine it with strategic social media plans, magic happens. In 2022, the world of ecommerce and social commerce will continue to adapt rapidly as the digital landscape continues to expand and change. Social commerce is present across numerous platforms, most recently Twitter and TikTok. With other platforms such as Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, Pinterest Native Shops and more, the impact of social commerce will only increase in 2022 and beyond.
Unpredictability breeds opportunity. A developing digital landscape warrants an abundance of changes in the ecommerce and social commerce space that many businesses can stand to benefit from in 2022. Why not get a head start on some of the upcoming trends you can’t miss in 2022?
1. Leveraging new technologies will define the social commerce superstars from the average ecommerce supplier
AI, VR, NFT, 5G ... the Metaverse! There are simply so many changes happening across social technology that only the savviest of social commerce businesses will be able to adapt and improve their business as they keep pace with all the trends hitting the internet.
Our take? With greater use of developing 5G connectivity (for those confused: fifth-generation connectivity for broadband cellular networks) the potential for updated online tech is becoming a possibility anywhere and everywhere! As 5G improves, social commerce is set to hit new heights, offering seamless mixed reality experiences across all connected devices. An eMarketer report forecasts alternate reality (AR) users in the United States to increase drastically from 83.7 million people in 2021 to 101.6 million people in 2022. If brands leverage these changing technologies to benefit their social commerce shopping experience, this number could be greatly surpassed.
But that’s not all! When considering the newly developed Metaverse, an all-encompassing digital world that exists parallel to the real world, the opportunities become endless. From VR technology on this digital platform to online cryptocurrency, the Metaverse is a new, and sometimes terrifying, place to develop your brand. Ever heard of NFTs (non-fungible tokens)? If you have, you’re well aware of the popularity and debate surrounding this form of cryptocurrency. If you haven’t, we’ll catch you up. NFTs went mainstream with the increased popularity of the Metaverse. NFTs can really be anything digital, such as drawings, music, and the like. Creating and selling NFTs as digital collectibles can expand a businesses’ online real estate into an emerging creative economy and digital ecosystem few have attempted. Growing small businesses can use this new technology to drive funding to their latest projects and expand their electronic footprint.
It is also highly important to note that the livestream is fast becoming a necessity among online influencers, and can greatly benefit your business as it expands into the online sphere. As social commerce adapts, consumer demand and faster connectivity will boost the growth of live streaming platforms. By 2023, this platform is expected to bring hundreds of billions of dollars in global annual sales.
Don’t let the fear of developing technology keep you from playing the digital game! Constant development of the Facebook-rebranded Meta offers endless opportunities in this developing Metaverse when it comes to AR, NFTs, and advertising developments. Getting comfortable with the digital landscape, through all its highs and lows, separates the social commerce superstars from those ecommerce suppliers who will never break the mold.
2. Influencer branding will continue to grow and get better
No, connecting with influencers to support and extend your brand isn’t necessarily a NEW trend per se, but it’s a constantly developing trend nonetheless.
A fairly new concept when it comes to influencer branding is the concept of micro-influencers. These smaller scale influencers reach a close and connected community of 10k-50k followers. These micro-influencers offer the appeal of working with full-fledged social media celebrities at a small ad budget. They can also provide segmentation of a specific brand audience and effective ad targeting at a fair price.
Also, micro-influencers are often perceived to be more authentic and transparent when it comes to brand collaborations! Showcasing content built for their niche audience, these micro-influencers interact with their community of followers regularly and work to maintain strong relationships with their loyal fanbase. With closer ties to their community and followers, these micro-influencers have developed a sense of support and loyalty that few macro-influencers can match.
Brands delving into social commerce would do well to work with micro-influencers who support a niche within their target industry. Look for micro-influencers who regularly engage with their audience on a personal level and have established relationships with their fan base.
3. A frictionless experience offers greater sales and less abandoned carts
Don’t get ghosted by your customers! Consumers today no longer have the time or tolerance for a long-winded buying process. Brands that offer a ridiculously frictionless buying experience by avoiding unnecessary steps and streamlining the direct to cart process are guaranteed higher sales and less inconvenience for their customers.
Improving your customer experience is all about offering the easiest and most cohesive process to make a purchase right off the platform. Social commerce continues to grow as platforms expand and improve their capabilities. With Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping and Native Stores on Pinterest gaining popularity, it’s no surprise a handful of other online social commerce marketplaces are springing up.
Consider offering your products across all platforms, bringing together a seamless experience with a “one-click” buying process that brings them to the product page where they can immediately purchase the item that caught their eye. Yes, it’s really that easy!
Along with this, many ecommerce platforms have recognized the popularity of social commerce and are taking steps to integrate the two to offer a seamless process for the online consumer audience. With direct selling on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook via Shopify, it is now easier than ever to make sales on the main social channels. In 2022, we can expect more integrations among these different platforms that will enhance the online experience for consumers and brands alike.
4. Low-priced products will continue to be the driver of sales on social platforms
An easy checkout process offered via social commerce platforms guarantees shoppers are guided to buying items at the tip of a hat when the product they’ve been looking for is shown online. However, for higher-end products, it’s not that easy.
People will forever be more inclined to purchase low-priced items on their social accounts, as opposed to those big ticket items that take some thought and research before a full commitment to buy. Social commerce is still considered fairly new, so these expensive purchases will often come at a higher risk for those who haven’t adapted to online shopping yet. Putting your low-priced, popular items at the forefront guarantees your storefront will sell online, without being hindered by the higher-end products.
5. Communication is key, always!
Social commerce offers a space for your community of consumers to come together not only to purchase products, but also leave reviews, ask questions, and communicate with your business. Social media is just that - social! It involves people communicating and sharing information. Brands have advertised on socials for years, with ads on Facebook and Instagram becoming a part of the platform at this point.
Social commerce, however, is more effective the less blatant it is. Subtlety and authenticity should guide your selling strategies. It’s why traditional ads have a tendency to be overlooked and scrolled over by most avid social media users. The secret sauce? User-generated content (UGC) is content created by the individuals supporting the brand, not the company itself. This content allows for social media users to feel as though they are working with a brand that has an identity. Users are far more likely to share messages containing UGC, which increases the potential reach of a social marketing campaign.
Other key communication tactics your social commerce could (and should) employ? Chatbots! Offering quick answers and resolutions to frequently asked questions, conversational commerce through in-app/ platform messaging is now a necessity for large brands that don’t have the human resources to respond to customer needs immediately. Improving your social commerce businesses customer communication on this front will soon become a necessity as social media shopping grows in the coming months.
Where We Are, Where We’re Going
Social commerce is special due to its ability to benefit both your brand and your consumers' buying journey. Don’t miss out on the growing opportunities in this commerce space. As an online brand, any business can thrive by adapting their current direct and indirect channels to compliment each other, working to create a cohesive social media plan to benefit your business online across all platforms. Greater investment in social media can boost customer engagement, loyalty, and sales, creating a fertile ground for social commerce to thrive and flourish across numerous platforms.
Spend more time developing your social commerce skills and less time on fulfillment by partnering with Saltbox, a 3PL service built to support your company through all the developing changes in the ecommerce sphere. Want to learn more about developing and scaling your small business with a human-centric approach to your growing needs? Get in touch with our team and let’s develop your business together.
Saltbox is on a mission to enable the modern economy with human-centric logistics that solve the hardest parts of running an ecommerce business. Our purpose-built network of flexible warehouses, fulfillment centers, on-demand labor and other services are powering the ecommerce economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale.