Sarah McGrath April 27, 2020

What is Social Commerce and why you need it

With New Zealand entering Level 3 today, a lot of us will be thankful we can finally hit ‘purchase’ on those shopping carts we’ve been hoarding, and businesses across the country will be breathing a sigh of relief they can get back to trading. But with the many different ways you can go about online trading now, the question on the tips of our tongues is, are you set up for eCommerce and social commerce?

If you’re interested in setting up eCommerce, we wrote all about it here.

So, what is social commerce?

Social commerce brings together two of our favourite things – social media and online shopping. With an estimated 1.8 billion people shopping online across the globe, it was only a matter of time before shopping directly through social became the new norm. Social commerce, in essence, is the process of selling products directly through social media, offering a user the full online store shopping experience without visiting their website. This means browsing, comparing and purchasing products directly on a social platform.

In recent years, social commerce functionality has been added to many major platforms, all with a strong emphasis on visuals. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook now all have shoppable post functionality, with built-in native integrations that allow eCommerce site owners to tag products directly in photos and posts and for consumers to click to purchase them.

You might think, ‘but why?’. Is it really that hard for a user to head to my store just a click away to continue their shopping experience? Simply, the answer is yep! In 2019 Facebook IQ reported that 83% of Instagram users use the platform to discover new products and services, 81% of them research these products on Instagram and 80% even decide whether to buy them on the social platform too. So, it makes sense to enable the functionality to allow these users to find out all the information they need and to even directly purchase these products all in the one place.

Setting up social commerce

Before you leap into selling products and services on your socials, there are a few things you need to know…

  1. There are 2 ways to set up social commerce. The first is to directly set up your products on social media stores.

Pro: You can set up a Facebook store right on the Facebook platform without any sort of integrations or coding. This is great for small businesses or self-employed product sellers

Con: The purchases made on Facebook stores are separate from those on your website. If you have an eCommerce site, it could get complicated.

  1. The second option is to use an eCommerce platform to set these up. The second option is our favourite because it gives you a bigger online presence and more flexibility with your listings. To set up an eCommerce store directly through your website you will first need to set your site up with Shopify or BigCommerce which has a handy WordPress plugin.
  2. Before you dive into social commerce, remember that social commerce is led by beautiful imagery that will make a user stop in their tracks and click through to buy, so an important part of the social commerce experience is in the effort you put into photography and product design.

Need a hand? Talk to us today about social commerce or eCommerce options for your business.