Social media has evolved beyond convenient communication with family and friends. Today, consumers use social media platforms to stay up to date on the latest news, trends and products. Consumers are also purchasing more goods online, which has led to an increase in e-commerce sales. Knowing this, brands have taken advantage of the opportunities social media offers in order to build meaningful connections with consumers and improve their bottom line.
Social media and e-commerce first hit the scene in 2007 with Facebook’s Marketplace feature. Since then, the partnership has expanded throughout numerous social media sites including Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and most recently Amazon.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “the average person spends around an hour and 40 minutes browsing through social media every day.” That time online truly makes an impact on buying decisions: “87 percent of customers say that social media helps them decide what to buy,” according to Social Media Today.
In response, brands have increasingly capitalized on these prospects, utilizing social media platforms to boost e-commerce sales through a variety of different approaches. These include:
- Paid advertisements driving traffic to online stores
- Leveraging detailed targeting capabilities to reach the right audience for their products
- Direct messaging to provide digital customer service
- Customer engagement to build brand loyalty
- Influencer marketing
- More recently, in-app purchase capabilities
Instagram is an excellent example of this fusion between social media and e-commerce. The platform has integrated sponsored ads, influencer marketing and one-click shopping tools that allow consumers to purchase directly from posts and Instagram Stories. If properly executed, these unique features can seamlessly blend a user’s social experience with that of shopping, boosting brand engagement by 36 percent.
Instagram’s latest power move to capitalize on its influence in the e-commerce space is the development of a new standalone app specifically dedicated to shopping, called IG Shopping. The Verge recently revealed the IG Shopping App “will let users browse collections of goods from merchants they follow and purchase them directly within the app.” Furthermore, “creating a standalone app would allow the company to provide a dedicated home for an increasingly popular activity on Instagram while also expanding opportunities for revenue.”
With social media capabilities constantly changing, it’s easy to get lost in the midst of it all. If your business is looking to expand its presence and take advantage of novel opportunities in the social commerce space but doesn’t know where to start, our team of experts can help.
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