As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic dictating the way we shop, we have seen a huge shift towards social shopping.

According to data from IBM’s Retail Index, the pandemic has managed to accelerate the shift away from physical stores to eCommerce by roughly 5 years.

Coronavirus research conducted in April 2020 by GWI’s also included that 85% of consumers globally are shopping online, and 43% say they will continue to do so after the pandemic subsides. 

Although the recent growth of online shopping comes as a result of the pandemic, the business shopping features that have been rolled out by social media platforms are changing the way people shop.

What Is Social Shopping?

Social shopping or social eCommerce is where social media meets eCommerce.

You will be selling your products directly on social media.

It’s all about allowing your consumers to purchase products where they spend most of their time.

Will Social Shopping Become the New Normal? 

In the past year, most social media platforms have designed business features that have been a huge success for meeting both customer and business expectations.

Ever since the pandemic, almost every social media update from tagging to shoppable posts have focused on making social shopping easier.

If you’re an eCommerce operation that sells products, then it is the right time to pay attention to your consumers’ adoption of social shopping.

Over 93% of people say they use online reviews for making their purchase decision.

With consumers relying on social reviews, comments and ratings from real people before buying a product, it is no wonder that shopping on social media has become so popular.

social shopping

The Importance of Social Shopping For eCommerce

The idea behind social shopping (social eCommerce) is that the whole experience of purchasing a product, from discovering to the checkout process, will take place on social media.

And as consumers are becoming more comfortable with online shopping, it is important for eCommerce operations to also adapt to the idea of selling on social media.

Most eCommerce stores have a presence on social media and use it as part of their eCommerce marketing, but being present is no longer enough.

If you don’t want to get left behind, you need to compete with your competitors who are using social media shopping features and offering your target audience their preferred way to shop.

The Best Platforms For Social Shopping in 2021

To help you get started with social shopping, we are going to take a look at the best platforms that offer useful business features. 

As long as you have a website for your eCommerce store, all you need to do is integrate your social media into your website.

And what that means is

  1. More sales
  2. Audience growth
  3. Customer loyalty
  4. Increased traffic
  5. Higher search engine rankings

social shopping

Facebook Shops 

If you own a Facebook business page for promoting your products and attracting new clients, why not just use the platform to sell?

Facebook introduced their business shop feature back in May 2020, and all you need to set up a shop is a business page.

By connecting your website to Facebook, you can easily import catalogues of products from your website.

You can choose what items to sell, customise the pictures, colours, fonts and more to create the brand image that you would like.

Customers can easily browse and purchase your products using the in-app check out feature or get directed to your website for the checkout.

Instagram Shops

With 70% of users discovering new products on Instagram, it is a huge platform for social shopping.

An Instagram shop will give you the ability to showcase your products in photos and videos anywhere in the app.

Instagram is owned by Facebook, and if you want to set up a shop on this platform, you need to set up a Facebook shop first.

The reason for that is so Instagram can easily pull the data from the existing catalogues on Facebook.

The shopping tags will give you the opportunity to tag products in your own and user generated content.

Tags can be added to both pictures and videos, and by clicking on one, consumers are directed to your product pages.

YouTube

70% of people have bought a brand after seeing it on Youtube.

Youtube has also been working and testing shoppable features to help businesses establish a stronger eCommerce presence. 

One of the features that were rolled out last year, allows you to showcase product listings beneath your video ads.

All you have to do to add browsable products is to sync your Google Merchant Centre feed to your video ads.

By connecting the two, you have the opportunity to feature your best sellers to drive traffic to the product pages.

In January 2021, Youtube also began testing with product tags, which is yet to be rolled out.

Pinterest Merchant Solutions

With 72% of people using the platform for shopping inspirations, you should not forget to establish your eCommerce presence on this platform.

Although Pinterest doesn’t actually include social shopping, it offers ‘product pins’.

They also introduced a whole new set of merchant tools in October 2020 to help eCommerce businesses set up a storefront, upload catalogues, and tag products.

They have also rolled out features such as automatic bidding and conversion insights and analysis.

Final Thoughts

If you want to succeed at social shopping for your eCommerce store, you must understand that there is more to it than just joining and being present.

When it comes to social media, it is all about creating a great and easy user experience.

And the key to a great experience lies in optimising your customer’s journey on the platform.

Focus on making interesting and relevant content that feels authentic, and don’t forget to engage with your followings.