What is Social Commerce? And Will It Work for Me?

|20th Oct 2017

There’s no doubt about it – social media is a huge part of modern life. It’s become almost essential for businesses to have an online presence. The likes of Twitter and Facebook provide an opportunity for companies to grow their audience, give their brand a voice and generate leads. But with social commerce, social media could be used to generate more than just leads. This post explores what social commerce is, how it works and whether it could work for your business.

The importance of social media

Nearly everyone is on social media nowadays. Meet someone new at work – they’ll generally add you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn. For businesses, this presents a huge opportunity. More specifically, it provides them with a huge customer base. Facebook has more than a billion users, with over 300 million active Twitter users each month.

Social media isn’t just a cosmetic add-on for businesses either. According to Sprout Social, 57% of people are more likely to buy from a brand they ‘follow’ online, with 75% making purchases because they have seen a product on social media.

Skipping the middle man

Look at the social media feeds for most ecommerce brands and you’ll see countless attempts to direct followers to their site. Why? That’s where sales are made. For an ecommerce business, getting people on your site is the first step to making sales. But what if you didn’t need them on your site to make the purchase? That’s where social commerce comes in.

To put it simply, social commerce directly combines social media with digital commerce. While conventionally social media is used to direct people to ecommerce, social commerce makes ecommerce part of the social media experience. Users can browse products and make a purchase directly through social media platforms.

Going live

Social commerce isn’t just a pipe dream for ecommerce, it’s already happening. Facebook introduced the Store facility to allow companies to sell directly on the platform. Store owners can upload products, sell directly and manage orders from their Facebook store, as well as using Facebook ads to promote specific products.

Twitter and Pinterest are also on the money when it comes to social commerce. allowing users to buy products without leaving their site. When you tweet about a product, it can be accompanied by a “buy” button. Similarly, on Pinterest, pins can be given a “buy it” option so user can purchase the featured product immediately.

The pros and cons

By turning social media pages into virtual storefronts, merchants can make the buying process quicker and easier for consumers. This seamless buying option could optimise the impact of their social media presence, generating sales as opposed to just being a stepping stone to their ecommerce site.

Unfortunately, social commerce also has its downsides – namely, complexity. Adding products to social media means managing their images, descriptions, prices and any changes – all while trying to align the storefront with other channels. It’s not easy, but can be made so using the right technology.

Magento Commerce can be integrated with social commerce using Magento Social, for instance. It enables businesses to create a Facebook store automatically, adding and updating products’ photos, descriptions and pricing without manual management.

Should you go social?

If you’re considering social commerce as the next step for your ecommerce business, you should first consider your audience. Facebook attracts a much broader range of age groups than the likes of Twitter and Pinterest. It’s important to focus on one platform, at least initially, to maximise your chances of success.

It’s also essential to plan ahead. Have time set aside specifically for social commerce, with a dedicated budget for advertising. After all, these platforms aren’t facilitating social commerce out of kindness to growing businesses. They know that paid product promotion is an effective way to gain attention.

Experience on your side

Venturing into social commerce isn’t easy on your own. Fortunately, Fluid Digital can help. We are Magento ecommerce experts with experience across the board. Get in touch today to chat with a member of our team.

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