Making Social Media Shoppable
By Ellie Gurrey
Retail experience is constantly being transformed by new technologies, and over the past year there has been a growth in the number of companies bridging the gap between social and commerce.
Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram provide brands with a channel of communication between business and customer, a place to promote engaging lifestyle imagery, and an opportunity to strengthen the brand whilst increasing both brand awareness and customer engagement. Now, with the help of various software and apps, businesses can also use their social media platforms to push sales.
The beginning of social ecommerce saw brands linking Facebook Business page to Facebook stores, which meant relying on customers to follow the lengthy purchase process of click to business page-click to online shop-click to product page-and finally click to purchase. Facebook’s answer to this back in 2014 was the ‘Buy’ button functionality on ads, making the purchase process almost instant. With platforms such as Shopify and Soldsie brands can now easily integrate their online shops with their social media channels, allowing customers to purchase directly from social media.
Two platforms helping to bridge the gap between social and e-commerce on Instagram are liketoknow.it and have2have.it. Liketoknow.it works by sending customers, who like an Instagram post with a www.like.it link, a ready to shop email filled with product links. Have2have.it, made by Soldsie, also creates a direct path from Instagram to the specific product by using the single clickable link function. They use it to direct customers to a mirrored Instagram gallery of images that followers can then click to discover products.
Pinterest went shoppable in June 2015 with their ‘buy’ button, and now have well over 60 million buyable pins. In October 2015 they expanded their reach of shoppable pins from Shopify and Demandware, by adding Bigcommerce, Magento, and IB, Commerce into their list. Continuing to develop their plans for ecommerce they made another acquisition in June 2016 with shopping app Tote, who featured products from ASOS, Zara, J. Crew, H&M, Topshop, Forever21, and Michael Kors. Pinterest have now hired two of Tote’s co-founders to work on expanding the Pinterest product offering and to further develop the software.
What Impact are we seeing?
According to research by Forrester, U.S consumers will spend $327 billion online in 2016 and 74% of customers say that they rely on social media to guide their purchase decisions. Apps like Shopify, Soldsie, have2have.it and liketoknow.it have knitted neatly together with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to facilitate a quick purchasing process on social media. Still in its early days, the overall success of shoppable social media is still questionable. It has however proven to be most successful on Pinterest. According to Shopify and Pinterest’s How Pinterest Drives Online Commerce “87% of Pinterest users say they have purchased something they discovered while “Pinning”. Additionally, the average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is $50 – higher than any other major social platform.”
What Salmon thinks
Shoppable social will increasingly evolve over the next few years and brands will continue to invest in creating social storefronts across all channels. It was an obvious movement for retail and provides an opportunity to reach a huge customer base. According to Smart Insights' Digital Marketing Trends for 2016 – how do they compare to 2015 Facebook’s organic engagement more than doubled in 2015 and in September 2015 Instagram announced that its ‘community had grown to more than 400 million’ users.
With clear advantages for both customers and brands alike, not only does social ecommerce make shopping easier for customers, but it also allows for direct results from brands’ ad campaigns. With the help of platforms like Soldsie businesses can also gain access to valuable analytics and performance data through integrated dashboards, where they can easily keep track of conversions coming from social media accounts.