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What is social commerce: platforms, trends, features & examples

What is social commerce

As half of the world’s population (around 3.8 billion people!) has at least one social media account, brands which sell via social commerce or own an active presence on social media platforms can reach more potential customers or clients and open up new e-commerce opportunities.

In the United States, , until the end of 2024, it is estimated that there will be 110.4 million social buyers, accounting for 42.0% of all internet users and nearly half (50.3%) of all social media users.   

Therefore, businesses should hold on to the opportunity and take part in social selling to scale and boost sales.

If you're still unsure about social commerce or still wondering what social selling is, just read on!

Social selling sales is predicted to reach 2.9 trillion USD by 2026. - Statista.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce, also known as social selling, is the entire process of selling and promoting a service or product through social commerce platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, TikTok and more.  

This approach integrates social interactions and user-generated content with shopping experiences, allowing businesses to reach customers where they spend a significant portion of their time online.

Likes, comments, shares, or stories mentioned are the indicators to determine the success of a social commerce campaign and how the customers interact with the brand.

Social commerce also seeks to engage online shoppers by offering expert product advice and support; which eventually converts to actual actions with a 'Call To Action' (CTA). 

For example, hitting the 'Buy Now' button after seeing the new iPhone 14 with more colors to choose from on its Facebook Page.

Engaging online shoppers with social commerce

Want to increase brand engagement and exposure for your social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram? Learn to automate your comment and chat replies for free.

Social commerce vs e-commerce: What are the differences?

Social commerce and e-commerce are actually very similar. The main difference between these two is that social commerce is a subset of e-commerce. 

Social commerce involves social media and messaging apps that support social interaction, whereas e-commerce means buying and selling goods, products, or services over the Internet.

Most experts believe that social commerce is leading the future of e-commerce. Because brands and retailers can use social media features to create engaging, shareable, and immersive advertisements that help products and services go viral in a short time.

E-commerce itself is no longer enough. Businesses must now learn to create a social selling strategy to stand out from competitors. 

After all, having more channels means more customers and sales!

Further reading:

What are the benefits of social commerce?

“Yes, yes, I know what social commerce is now, but what are the benefits of social commerce?”

Glad you asked! Social commerce provides a more effortless journey for the customers from product discovery to purchase, and it can help the business by:

  • Reaching and selling to more customers online and from ALL over the world. Social media platforms have billions of active users. By leveraging social commerce, businesses can reach a vast and diverse audience, increasing brand visibility and awareness.

  • Social commerce allows businesses to interact with customers in real-time, fostering a sense of community and loyalty. Engaging content and direct communication can lead to higher customer retention rates.

  • Boosting sales by reducing cart abandonment and increasing impulse purchases using a seamless chat-to-pay process

  • Social media platforms collect vast amounts of data on user behavior and preferences. This data can be used to deliver personalized product recommendations, improving the shopping experience and boosting sales.

  • Providing an efficient and systematic way to collect customer feedback and improve customer experience. The seamless integration of social interactions with shopping can lead to higher conversion rates. Customers are more likely to purchase products recommended by friends or influencers they trust.

  • Pushing businesses to regularly update their social media accounts to stay in the competition, deepening trust and loyalty from the customers (if you don't have enough time or manpower, there's always the power of automation!)

Still thinking, "why is social commerce important?" Check out our success stories and see how businesses doubled their profits with social commerce.

Boost sales with social commerce by creating the best social selling strategy

Social commerce solutions are designed to streamline and enhance the online shopping experience by leveraging the social interactions inherent to social media platforms. 

Here’s how businesses can effectively integrate these features:

  • Adopt In-app purchasing: Ensure your social media profiles are set up for direct transactions. Use platforms that support in-app purchases to reduce barriers to buying.

  • Leverage user-generated content: Encourage your customers to share their experiences and provide reviews. Showcase this content on your social media profiles to build trust and authenticity.

  • Promote social sharing and referrals: Implement referral programs and encourage customers to share their purchases and experiences on social media. Use incentives to motivate them.

  • Utilize personalized shopping experiences: Analyze customer data to understand preferences and behavior. Use this information to offer personalized recommendations and promotions.

By incorporating these key features into your social commerce strategy, you can create a more engaging, efficient, and successful shopping experience for your customers. Solutions like SleekFlow can assist in managing and optimizing these features, ensuring that your business stays ahead in the competitive social commerce landscape.

SleekFlow offers the best social commerce solutions for your business

If your brand is active on more social media platforms, the incoming messages can be overwhelming to handle. To avoid draining out your customer support team or dissatisfying your potential customers, find social commerce tools and learn to leverage them.

SleekFlow has a real impact on business growth. Our online sales have doubled since we started to use SleekFlow.

Julien de Préaumont

Julien de Préaumont

Founder of Le Dessert

SleekFlow is an omnichannel social commerce platform that helps you, the business owners, manage communication channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, LINE, Instagram, Live Chat, SMS, and email in one place. SleekFlow helps manage contacts and conversations from all these channels and makes it easier for you to respond.

Apart from centralizing channels, the all-in-one omnichannel social commerce platform leverages automation rules and targeted campaign message broadcast to streamline sales, customer support, and marketing workflows while using social commerce tools including e-commerce platform integration and in-chat payment links to automate the customer journey with ease.

As one of the most effective social commerce tools, SleekFlow integrates with 2500+ platforms such as online booking systems like Calendly. The definition of “one-stop” is not confined to merely the number of social media platforms but a true, complete social commerce ecosystem, from the customers’ side to the operations of your whole team.

A robust social selling strategy needs to include structured CRM planning and organization. This is why SleekFlow, as a comprehensive social commerce platform, offers CRM integrations with major platforms such as Salesforce and HubSpot to attend to your CRM needs.

Located in Malaysia? Check out: Social commerce trend in Malaysia instead

Integrate all messaging channels into one platform

Forget about the old-school way to chat. Team up with colleagues to boost productivity instantly.

Understand the critical social commerce trends and kickstart your journey to social commerce success.

1. Eye-catching visuals are important for social selling

According to Instagram, 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery. Therefore, having a visual storefront on Instagram allows people to shop from pictures and videos irrespective of where they are in the app. In this case, the content you post social media, especially on a visual centric platform like Instagram, becomes crucial for social selling marketing.

2. Selling through conversational chatbots

The main idea of having social media is to communicate with people. Yet, hundreds if not thousands of messages flushing into your inbox is frustrating. With the aid of chatbots, brands do not need to have a representative to answer the customers’ queries. Chatbots also can make suggestions depending on the customers’ selections and share product visuals to boost sales with a smaller team.  

Install SleekFlow's no-code Live Chat on your website for free and continue chatting with customers after they leave your website!

3. Use auto replies for chats and comments to ride on Facebook & Instagram's algorithm

You don't need to know coding or take up a master course to ride on Facebook and Instagram algorithm. To power up on social selling marketing, you can use automation tools such as chat and comment auto reply function to catch and retain the attention of those who are already interested in your products or services.

79% of customers expect a response to their social media posts within 24 hours. - HubSpot

4. Collaborate with KOL/micro-influencers to increase exposure

Even if you have great products, you need more people to know about them. Inviting KOLs(Key opinion leaders) or micro-influencers to try on and write reviews on your products will help boost your social commerce marketing performance through their audience base.

5. Live streaming on social media

With faster and more powerful network everywhere, live streaming has become extra popular. It gives the audience a chance to know the business better through an authentic and interactive experience. Use automation to reply to those who commented on your live stream videos and include these contacts for your Facebook Messenger broadcast campaigns in the future!

Learn how to broadcast messages on Facebook Messenger for free using OTN and Message Tags.

6. Create a frictionless shopping experience

It is important that your social selling strategy involves creating a seamless path to purchase for your customers. Your social selling system needs to be tested and perfected to ensure that the customer journey is smooth. Since social selling doesn't require customers to register a new account or download an app, the process is less tedious. Businesses simply need to take advantage of features on a social commerce platform, so that customers can send inquiries, place their orders, and make a payment with a quick, convenient, and secure way in the chat.

17% of cart abandonment is caused by a complicated checkout process, and 13% was caused by crashed websites.

35.26% increase in conversion rate can be acquired with a better checkout flow.

Are you using Messagebird to manage customer conversations? Here's a detailed comparison between SleekFlow vs. Messagebird just for you.

Social commerce examples from big brands

Next, let's take a look at some social commerce examples and how big brands use social commerce solutions to win the hearts of their audience:

1. Herschel 

Herschel sells their products (backpacks) softly by telling stories on how you should live your life, and followers can refer to their pictures when creating content.

Instagram as social commerce platform

They are also using 'View Shop' as the CTA button on their Facebook Business Page, encouraging users to make purchases directly on Facebook.

Herschel sells on Facebook Business Page

2. Nike

Nike is the brand that always posts a blend of product-led and athlete-fronted aspirational content and generates massive engagement. The brand has also released different apps for people to join their training or running club, creating a sense of community.

Nike App social commerce example

The collection of Instagram story highlights are also a great branding technique as a part of their social selling strategy.

3. Kate Spade 

Kate Spade has been making shoppable videos on YouTube and Vimeo, allowing consumers to buy a featured product without several more clicks to another site.

Kate Spade creates social selling content on Instagram

According to our data, 42% of customers prefer accessible brands with messaging channels and live chats. Businesses using SleekFlow have experienced 24% more conversions to sales using personalized texts than emails and calls. Effective social commerce assisting platform can increase repeat purchases and customer retention by 37%!

SleekFlow has a real impact on business growth. Our online sales have doubled since we started to use SleekFlow.

Julien de Préaumont

Julien de Préaumont

Founder of Le Dessert

See how Le Dessert, the number one online pâtisserie in Hong Kong, uses social commerce solutions to boost sales.

Isn’t it tempting for you to try? Let’s start investing in social commerce right now!

Don’t know where to start? Talk to our experts.

Want to outcompete your peers with SleekFlow's help?

Book your personalized demo with SleekFlow today and unlock the potential of seamless communication

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