Social Commerce (S-Commerce) is the new sales channel brands are looking to exploit. S-Commerce apps blend the ease of mobile sales with the functionality of social networks. It became the new hot platform in China with the launch of Weiden in 2011, a platform that incorporates affiliate marketing with WeChat (like WhatsApp) in a mobile app shopping experience. This new “self-marketing” enables the consumer to share and sell products for a commission. This platform now boasts over 600 million users! There are also a host of shopping app’s in the US that are gaining market share: Spring, MallZee and LikeToKnowIt are harnessing the power of social and mobile shopping. Did you know in the US mobile shopping accounts for over 21% of e-commerce sales? Yes- It’s time to jump on board this trend.
S-Commerce also refers to all the sales you make via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social networks. As social networks look to help you, the brand, monetize your audiences, they are also asking you to invest money and time into social advertising. So then how do you best decide which platforms to invest in? How to determine which apps are worth your time? It’s time to evaluate your marketing and sales initiatives and determine what experiments to say yes to, and where to draw the line.
- Look to distribute on social selling platforms that have robust marketing initiatives. No point on being on a platform without any users.
- Check out the requirements to be a brand on these platforms. Spring has a simple form to sign up and integrates seamlessly with Shopify, Rakuten and Magento.
- Most mobile commerce apps will need you to have an Affiliate Marketing setup. So if you are considering signing up for an Affiliate Marketing platform like Rakuten or Commission Junction, start the process now. These big platforms require you to have a strong front and backend to be able to work within their systems. Read more information on that here.
- Don’t activate the sales functionality on social networks you aren’t intentionally active on. Example: you’ve linked your Shopify account to Facebook but you don’t even have a Facebook page you are building robustly.
- Don’t pay for mobile advertising if your site is not optimized for sales. This means Instagram advertising and mobile advertising for Facebook. Your website needs to be easy to navigate on mobile and the layout has to be intuitive. I suggest checking your site on your phone every few weeks to test out different pages and make sure its shoppable.
- Companies like Curalate, Chirpify and Soldsie have been helping brands create conversation between Instagram and e-commerce. Nothing has risen to the top as the go-to platform, but all of them are worth checking out.
- Brands like Dylanlex are creating “Shop Instagram” pages to drive traffic to one destination on a website. This becomes an easy way to drive social images and messaging through a landing page that speaks to the Instagram user.
- Become active on networks that are actually ROI producing. Twitter is best for peer-to-peer connections, and Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook take the stage for sales conversion. Take down the platforms you are not using.
Syama’s Crystal Ball
I believe that social commerce will continue to be optimized and therefore become a market driver in sales. Websites from 5 years ago that were not built to be mobile friendly will need to be revamped and brands who are not building their brands through social networks will and are falling behind. You simply cannot and will not be successful with out cohesive messaging on all consumer platforms.
The social selling apps and platforms that will rise to the top will create their own affiliate marketing platforms to help brands onboard. Consumers will be looking to diversify their shopping experience, and will not be satisfied with only being able to find major advertisers on the mobile platforms. It’s redundant to see the same brands everywhere – so social selling apps will need to be more curated.
Brands will continue to shift digital advertising spends from desktop to mobile advertising, and integrations with apps like Snapchat and Instagram will allow for more targeted sales and discounts. Because these brands will need to adopt more sensitive analytic systems to be able to target cohorts on social; imagine if you could target users who like or open your content more than others. The tools to market via social will be akin to the email newsletter as the analytics and tools become more sophisticated.
As a brand the decisions always remain the same. When to adopt new technology, and how much time to spend on it? I remember a time back in 2008 when I was working at Barneys New York and we would meet with big brands, not naming names here, who didn’t see the value in selling online. Now look at where we are, social commerce is here to stay. Pick your platforms, build them out, and engage. Play with the new social selling apps out there and get your business ready to sell in a new way. The new integrations will likely roll out to big businesses then trickle down to API’s for Shopify and WooCommerce users. Sales and marketing strategies will need to adapt to this- so start turning the wheels!
If you are ready to implement new sales, marketing or merchandising strategies to your business then set up a consultation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Scaling Retail is a global retail consulting firm specializing in startup and growth stage e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and wholesale.