September 22, 2022

How Social Media is Changing the Online Shopping Game

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Shopping online was an unfamiliar and overwhelming experience for many buyers, leaving them feeling insecure. However, during the pandemic, the situation pushed people to become more trusting of online shopping, particularly social commerce. As a result, many became less active in buying from traditional brick-and-mortar shops.

The rise of giant social networks like Facebook revolutionized the old pattern of e-commerce and consumers' buying behavior. As a result, the sales of retail e-commerce reached $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2021, projected to increase by 50% in 2025.

The hybridization of social media and e-commerce, known as social commerce, contributed significantly to the rise in total projection. The global sales on the participating social media platforms alone reached $560 billion in 2020. Furthermore, a forecast on social commerce suggests an increase of $2.9 trillion by 2026.

This creates a highly competitive environment for brands, leading them to become more aggressive in their marketing strategies. As a result, online sellers who fail to follow the latest trends in social media usage may risk losing their customers to competitors.

Many find it challenging to track trends in social media marketing. So here are some curated trends on all social media platforms participating in social commerce.

How Social Media Changes the Online Buying Experience

The use of social media platforms has changed how people shop online. Advanced analytics and data-gathering capabilities of social media platforms make it easy to know what people want and need.

Online shops can now connect directly to different social media platforms. This eliminates the need for shoppers to purchase off-platform. Here are some changes social media brought about in the online buying experience.

Makes Buying More Convenient

Social media makes it more convenient for consumers to buy products. Now, it is easier than ever to find the best deals and compare prices with a few clicks of a button.

A significant downside of traditional e-commerce marketing strategies is that they rely on customers being engaged enough to switch channels. Even then, you could lose leads due to the hassle of moving from one channel to another to checkout a product.

One of the best features of social commerce is the ability to buy products directly through social media platforms. It allows users to purchase items without leaving the app, making it more convenient for many people.

Creates a more immersive experience

Many companies use social media to create a more immersive experience for their target audience. These include paying influencers for an unboxing video, blog review, and affiliate marketing.

A survey on the impact of influencers on consumers' buying behavior revealed something interesting. About 83% of the people who followed and watched an influencer tend to buy products that the influencer advertises.

It's not just about sharing pictures or videos anymore. A customer discovering a product is not enough to obtain sales.

You need to take advantage of customers' impulses by providing a strong call-to-action (CTA) through influencers. Extending UGC (user-generated content) to a shoppable post should also be considered.

Encourages More Brands to Build an Online Presence

A social media presence can support a brand's authority. The number of social media followers impacts how customers trust the brands, motivating them to build their social media presence.

Facebook is one of the social platforms that support micro-businesses to start building a presence on platforms. In fact, during the pandemic, they provided $100 million in cash grants to help micro businesses start their social commerce journey.

Caters to Consumers at Different Phases of the Journey

The marketing strategy for a company is often based on the type of consumer they are targeting. A company usually sells products to consumers at different phases of its journey. It should have different marketing strategies for each stage. Optimizing and building a presence for the appropriate stage should be considered when creating a marketing strategy.

For example, Twitter and Snapchat's advertising strategy targets people in the product discovery phase. On the other hand, brands use Pinterest for information and inspiration. Facebook and YouTube are excellent for early shopping, producing an immersive shopping experience.

Many marketers use Instagram to sell brand lifestyles by sharing experiences. That is why you should know what a shoppable Instagram feed looks like so you can monetize it to its full potential.

Provides Social Proof

Social proof can be a powerful marketing tool that can increase conversion rates. The main goal of social proof is to convince the customer that they are not alone in their decision.

People on social media are conditioned to react to every post that reaches them or any product they think they need. Providing social proof can be a long process, but there are ways you can hasten it, like promotions, discounts, and influencers.

Another way is by establishing product pages that feature scrolling videos, product comparisons, and consumer testimonials. These can help attract millennials because they want to see what other people think about a product before making a purchase decision.

Image from Pexels

Which Platforms are Changing the Online Retail Game?

Facebook

Facebook shops are the new way to shop online. With more than 2.89 billion monthly active users, brands are taking advantage of the traffic it brings.

The Facebook marketplace started in 2007, expanding on the first 'Buy Button' launched in 2014. But, they didn't stop there. Instead, they saw the potential of e-commerce and opened the platform for user-direct selling in 2018. It allowed business owners to start their shops on their pages and reach more people and communities than on other media.

These in-app stores allow you to purchase items directly from your Facebook account without leaving the platform. The pandemic paved the way for the platform to the top. Facebook eventually acquired Instagram and Whatsapp, expanding its potential market even more.

Instagram

Instagram is also a platform that is constantly changing and evolving. Acquired by Facebook last 2012 for $1 billion, it now contributes a staggering $20 billion in revenue to its parent company.

It started with a simple CTA "Shop Now" button in 2015. It continued development with the complete Instagram shopping platform in 2018.

Instagram allows retailers to reach a wider audience and increase their sales through photo and video content. But according to Instagram's CEO, "we're no longer a photo-sharing app." Instead, with full functionality and recent updates to keep up with other social media giants, Instagram has integrated with different e-commerce platforms like Bigcommerce and Shopify.

To stay competitive, Instagram adapts to the changes and flexibility. One example is the recent 'Reel' feature in competition with Tiktok.

TikTok

Tiktok is a platform that has become popular among the younger generation. It's a video-sharing application that allows users to create and share short videos, often called "Tiktok" videos, which can be about anything from makeup tutorials to cooking.

Many small businesses have also adopted the platform as an effective way to reach younger consumers. They are more likely to buy products online than older people.

In 2021, TikTok generated $4 billion in advertising revenue. Analysts project the platform's income will increase to about $13.8 billion by 2026.

TikTok offers an opportunity for small businesses to reach out to customers through its partnerships with companies like Uniqlo, Nike, and Calvin Klein. In addition, they recently partnered with Publicis Groupe to launch a new "Community Commerce" feature, allowing brands to test demand for their products.

Image from Unsplash

How You Can Use Social Media to Improve Online Sales

Marketing is a long-term process that requires a lot of effort. It's not always easy to put the perfect marketing strategy in place. However, it is worth the trouble because social media marketing can be an effective tactic to increase online sales.

Here are a few ways that social media can increase online sales.

Product catalogs

A product catalog is an online catalog with products, prices, and descriptions. It is where customers can find products they are looking for, compare them, and buy them.

Catalogs allow brands to create personalized advertising based on updated data on price, stock, product descriptions, and other attributes. It helps boost sales by providing information about the company's products and making it more accessible for consumers to find what they need.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) can help advertisers effectively reach out to their target audience through visual interactions. It is a new digital format that seeks the target audience and provides them with the content they want.

You can use dynamic ads to promote a product or service or to drive conversions. The benefits of this method include increased engagement and, ultimately, more sales.

Lead generation

Lead generation creates interest for your business or product based on what people search online. With the right tactic, it leads to selling that product.

However, to find your target audience, you must consider what they want. People often look for specific topics and keywords related to your product or service.

You can use Google Trends or Google Insights for Search to find out for what people are searching. These strategies will show you the most searched keywords related to your product or service in the past month or year.

Messaging campaigns

Messaging campaigns have become an essential part of marketing strategy for many platforms. One such is Facebook, which added Whatsapp as an option for messaging aside from their messenger app.

The main messaging campaign goals are to maintain consistent contact with customers and provide them with the timely information they need while on their journey with your brand. You can integrate many applications with AI-powered customer service to focus on essential campaigns that would boost brand awareness.

In-store traffic

The best way to utilize social media for in-store traffic is to upload content that will motivate social media users to go to the store. Some examples are posts about deals, discounts, or promotions that customers can only avail of in-store.

In-store traffic is a valuable indicator of your online presence. It can tell you how well your store is performing and whether or not you are reaching the people who need to be achieved. Grabbing a new customer in-store is easier than retaining the old ones. That is where community marketing will give you the most benefit.

Did you know? "In 2022, over half of the adult population in the US used social media to purchase an item. Facebook is still considered the most trustworthy among the social media platforms."

Get Ahead of the Game With the Help of Archive

Social media has completely changed how we shop. It has enabled small businesses to compete with big brands by reaching a wider audience and building brand awareness.

With all the possibilities of increasing your sales, it can be a handful to do everything at once. We at Archive want to help you minimize the work and reach the full potential of your business faster.

Social media platforms make it easier for brands and small businesses to meet their customers where they are, and make money at the same time. Contact our team at Archive to learn more about how our app can help boost your online growth.

FAQs on Social Media and How It Changes Online Shopping

What does social commerce mean?

Social commerce is the act of selling products and services on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It is a strategy that leverages the power of social media to connect with potential customers in a way that traditional marketing cannot.

Social commerce is not just about selling products on social media platforms. It also includes advertising and brand promotion through these platforms.

How will AI, ML, and AR change social commerce?

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Augmented Reality (AR) can create engaging content for social media platforms. That will help businesses boost online store sales by providing personalized recommendations. These technologies use available data to suggest new products or services based on what a customer's friends buy or mention.

AI and ML also support AR in creating interactive experiences. For example, AR allows customers to see how a product would look in their home or office before purchase. AR helps retailers create digital experiences that are more immersive and realistic than ever before.

For whom do people buy when making purchases on social media?

The more your audience interacts and engages with your shop, the more it appeals to potential buyers. Therefore, it's essential to understand who is buying what you're selling. These insights can help you create more effective marketing strategies and campaigns.

The most popular platforms people use for shopping are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. These platforms have the largest audience and the best marketing tools to reach organic audiences easily.

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