Or let’s call it retweets, likes, shares and comments. That’s how marketers measure success when tapping social-media users and influencers to drive online sales of goods and services. Social commerce spending this holiday season is bigger than ever … and growing.
Take Pinterest, a social media company with a largely female and financially mature user base. The company is drawing wild attention from ecommerce suitors, or potential buyers, who want access to the platform’s Pinners, many of whom are professional women aged 24 to 49. This is an alluring online shopper demographic and a potential ecommerce windfall from home decorating, apparel and event planning purchases.
Turns out, online retailers and ecommerce transaction enablers, are all too aware that online shoppers start their buying journeys at social media hotspots such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These platforms are fertile grounds to sow with enticing product videos, promotions, giveaways and review forums. They’re also easy to reap, using direct links to checkout, shopping cart and other purchase portals. This is where merchants close sales, and with increasing efficiency and volume.
When it comes to effective social commerce, retail blogger Jeff Bullas believes the four best-in-business retail brands are:
Nordstrom, whose Pinterest integration includes tagging physical store items trending online with “Popular on Pinterest” labels.
Coca-Cola, which personalized its iconic red coke bottle sticker with the most popular first names in each country, and then invited social media users to post photos of their name-branded bottles using hashtag #ShareACoke.
Lolly Wolly Doodle, a fashion brand targeting women and girls that lets followers design and order their own clothes via Facebook. Bullas put it best: “Comment on the post with the size you want, any personalization needs and your email ID. Voila, fastest fingers first and you bought the item!”
Starbucks, which rewards customers with discounts for sharing more and more on foursquare about Starbucks locations.
What’s the latest?
Social commerce sales are expected to increase 35.8 percent to $36.62 billion in 2021, according to Insider Intelligence, a market research publisher. And that’s on top of an explosive 2020, fueled by pandemic-related ecommerce and social media activity. Average time spent on phones in the U.S. surged past three hours per day in 2020.
As for sales stats, Insider Intelligence counts social-commerce purchases made directly on a social platform, or by direct link through an online ad or other social media content.
While the growth of U.S. social-commerce is impressive, the gross annual dollar value is but one tenth that of China’s, which is expected to come in at $351.65 billion in 2021. Yes, this thing is global. And it’s all getting easier for consumers.
Social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat have all introduced buy buttons, which let users shop and buy stuff right in the platform – no need to leave. Also, many retailers now offer one-click checkout on their websites. This lets shoppers enter payment information once. Then, signed-in customers can forever bypass the normal checkout routine, never having to re-enter their digits.
Related: Establishing long-term connections between your customers and your brand through social commerce