Hopefully you’ve had a chance to catch up on your rest following the madness that was Cyber Monday’s e-commerce sales spike. But how can you make sure it wasn’t just a flash in the pan? How can you leverage your momentum and new customer base to maximize sales through the rest of the holiday season?
The answer may very well involve social commerce. Over the course of 2015, according to Statista, the world’s online merchants drove some $30 billion in revenues thanks to the power of social commerce, a lift of 50% compared to 2014. What’s more, over half of the marketers surveyed in a recent study by Greenlight named social commerce as the most rapidly growing tech trend of 2016, making it the top trend cited in the study.
Social media has, in recent years, emerged as a branding and traffic-referring powerhouse. The world seems to have taken to social media as a hub for our lives, scrolling through our Facebook feeds on our smartphones for nearly an hour every day, so it only makes sense that we’d want to do our shopping there too.
The potential for driving business growth via shoppable social posts is downright colossal, and there are already several viable options for getting started with integrating your store with your social media posts. Here are five ways in which you can drive holiday sales online with social commerce.
1. Yotpo’s Shoppable Instagram Posts
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is one of the biggest UGC-focused social networks. It is easy to see why this visual channel is increasingly being used for e-commerce marketing purposes. Some 60% of people say they learn about products and services here. Instagram is apparently working on an integrated social commerce solution that will enable users to directly purchase products in the coming months.
But you don’t have to wait. Yotpo’s new Shoppable Instagram solution already enables you to promote your products using your Instagram feed and take advantage of Instagram’s tremendous scale and popularity for product discovery. Unlike other shoppable Instagram solutions, this one is integrated with Yotpo’s broader UGC tools for promoting verified customer reviews, so you can inject maximum social proof into your shop’s social commerce experience.
Using this solution is easy. You simply add a link to your Instagram profile that points people to your Yotpo-powered shoppable gallery and start promoting your products in your Instagram feed using great photos.
Shoppers who discover your products through these photos can click on the link to your shoppable gallery, where they will discover star ratings and product page links in a familiar, Instagram-like look and feel that’s optimized for mobile.
2. Pinterest’s Native Buyable Pins
With Buyable Pins, Pinterest gives users an easy way to sell their products within the familiar Pinterest card format. Pinterest users can buy products from specially marked cards without leaving the platform. Buyable Pins have blue price tags that distinguish them from ordinary Pins. Pinterest users can browse for products to buy using the desktop site and on mobile, enjoying a seamless ecommerce experience in the process.
With the help of the “search” function on Pinterest, customers can easily locate great products to buy. It is also possible for prospective customers to find great deals by browsing your business’s various boards. One of Pinterest’s most common use cases is as a visual bookmarking system that allows people to plan out décor, outfits or crafting projects, so adding shopping capabilities ties in well to that experience.
Being cross-platform means maximum flexibility and accessibility for consumers. As a brand, you can conveniently track the performance of your products and optimize your strategy accordingly.
Pinterest has also partnered with ecommerce providers such as Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce to integrate Buyable Pins into their platforms. Customers can buy products through these ecommerce platforms without even leaving Pinterest. If you use Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce to power your e-commerce site, you may not need to do much to take advantage of this social retail opportunity.
3. Beetailer’s Facebook Shopping Cart Integration
Beetailer now integrates with Facebook to enable sellers to leverage the awesome reach of the biggest social network. While Facebook isn’t necessarily where people go to make purchase decisions, it dominates the other networks in terms of time spent and traffic referrals, so why not try bringing your store live here as well?
Once you have created a store on Beetailer, you can bring it live on a dedicated tab of your Facebook Page. Your Beetailer store will have all the features of your native Beetailer online store, just integrated into the Facebook experience with features such as commenting. You can customize your Beetailer-powered store to suit your preferences. For instance, you can customize product categories for particular audiences. Another benefit is being able to promote your store through carefully targeted marketing campaigns on Facebook.
Facebook has also experimented with its own shopping capabilities for selected brands. At first glance, the Facebook Shop option looks similar to what you would see in an integrated Beetailer store. but there are drawbacks. For one thing, Facebook is making some features available only to customers in certain regions.
A Facebook Shop will also enable you to showcase your products and gain insights into your store’s performance. Of course, it also integrates with many of Facebook’s native features, although the full feature list may fall short of what you might hope for.
4. Shopify’s ‘Buy Now’ For Twitter
Shopify gives you the chance to sell directly to Twitter users using a native Twitter “Buy Now” call to action button. Rather than pursue its own retail functionality, Twitter has partnered with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Stripe to support these e-commerce capabilities through them instead.
Benefits include being able to showcase your products right from your brand timeline. Just a few taps are enough to guide buyers through the process of purchasing products right from Twitter. According to research conducted by Walker Stands, 32% of social media users would buy directly from the social platforms like Twitter if they could. This highlights the potential for a Shopify’s “Buy Now” button to grow your sales.
Once you’re set up with Shopify’s Twitter tools, all you need to do is include a link to a product page in your tweet, and a “Buy Now” button will be appear on your audience’s end. This enables Twitter users to make purchases without leaving Twitter. The entire experience is optimized for mobile too.
Incorporating Shopify’s solution into your Twitter marketing efforts enables you to leverage Twitter’s active user base to expand your audience using offers and special promotions – immediacy is what Twitter thrives on.
5. Snapchat’s E-commerce Ads
The bad boy of mainstream social media, Snapchat has the power to do things its own way, thanks to the promise of undivided millennial attention directed towards billions of daily video views. In an effort to diversify its promotional opportunities before opening its ad booking API to the masses, the company has recently begun dabbling in social commerce. Experiments have involved a blend of product placement and brand updates in the Discover section.
Users can swipe to see products featured in branded ads and even purchase these products from within Snapchat. Pilot campaign participants have included brands like Target and Lancome. Snapchat is also experimenting with the duration of ads and seems to be favoring 10 seconds, just like users’ content.
Other innovations being tested include longer duration videos with “swipe up” options for more content relating to the video and app-install ads that are similar to those Instagram and Twitter have been offering. All of these innovations point to rapid iteration and innovation, to give brands more flexibility with Snapchat’s interface while keep audience members entertained and engaged.
To make things even more interesting to independent marketers, there are signs that Snapchat is developing a self-service ad platform, after a few strategic acquisitions amid aggressive API development. This could be the beginning of a massively scalable e-commerce product promotion platform and a revolution in the social commerce space. So native Snapchat e-commerce may not be relevant for your holiday season marketing efforts this year, but it’s surely worth keeping an eye on.
Revolutionizing Online Shopping
Social-driven e-commerce is revolutionizing online shopping. Innovators like Yotpo, Shopify and Beetailer have proven success building on platforms that are a part of billions of people’s daily lives.
If anything, the new e-commerce challenge is developing the most captivating sales interfaces, because when audiences are measured in the hundreds of millions, the stakes for brands are high. So too are the opportunities for revenue growth for savvy independent sellers, particularly over the upcoming holiday season.