The Future Of Social Media eCommerce: Trends And Opportunities.

Hanson Cheng
September 30, 2021 - 10 min. read

The pandemic brought many negatives when it comes to our way of life. However, when it comes to eCommerce on social media, the pandemic has caused this type of selling to grow faster than ever.

With the rise of eCommerce on most social networks, brands are facing new challenges and opportunities. How can they tap into this opportunity? Which platform should they focus their efforts on? What are the best practices for using these features?

In this article, we will cover the major trends that are currently shaping eCommerce on social media, as well as the different options available when it comes to tapping into the new and upcoming opportunities. By understanding this, you’ll be able to adapt your business for future success.

Let’s get right into it.

How eCommerce evolved on social media.

The pandemic caused many people to rethink how they spend their free time. For that reason, more and more social media users are spending less time on the newsfeed and looking for other platforms where they can meet like-minded people.

As a result, many platforms (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more saw a huge spike in traffic when it comes to people browsing through their content. In addition, online communication tools — such as Messenger and Whatsapp — also saw a huge increase in their user base.

With the rise of eCommerce on such tools, your brand needs to adapt its strategies as well as keep up with all the latest changes and updates. Here are the key steps to take:

  • First, you should try to understand what makes each platform unique before introducing new features or releasing marketing campaigns. When it comes to Facebook, for example, Messenger is a highly relevant channel where users expect businesses to communicate with them directly. Twitter and Instagram are different in that you can reach out to a much larger audience at once with minimal effort (e.g., using hashtags).
  • Second, it’s important for you to not flood your audience with constant advertising, but instead, be selective and use the most relevant ones instead. 
  • Third, it’s essential to keep track of all the latest updates so that your brand can react quickly if necessary.

While eCommerce on social media is not new anymore, it still holds great potential for future success due to its quick growth across various platforms during the past couple of years. 

With this in mind, companies should focus on how they can take advantage of each platform’s strengths as well as capitalize on the newly introduced opportunities.

Opportunities across social networks for brands.

Social networks provide a ton of opportunities for brands. Let’s look into some of the different ways in which you can use social media to connect with your audience and increase sales:

1. Chatbots on Messenger.

Facebook introduced chatbots to Messenger quite some time ago. However, they are now really starting to be used successfully by top brands. By using these tools, businesses are now connecting directly with their consumer base anytime and anywhere.

Image Credit: http://chatbotslife.com

The main reason why companies choose this option is that it reaches a highly relevant and targeted audience — one that expects businesses to communicate via Messenger. 

By personalizing the user experience based on the provided answers, chatbots are highly effective at selling the right product to the right person. Here’s an interesting read about personalization and data privacy on social media in case you’re interested in learning more about this.

2. TikTok.

The latest social media app that’s gaining popularity is TikTok — a video-sharing platform that’s mainly used by teenagers around the world.

 However, this is also changing as we speak with people of different ages spending hours on the social media app. 

Image Credit: http://medium.com

More and more brands are using Tiktok as a platform to share their content with their target audiences. And since so many people are already on TikTok, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be on it as well.

3. “Buy Now” buttons on Twitter.

Twitter introduced “Buy Now” buttons earlier this year. The interesting thing is that this button doesn’t just appear on ads — it also does on organic Tweets

This is mostly used by eCommerce companies as a cross-selling technique to increase revenue per user. With many business owners spending time on Twitter to learn more about current trends, this creates a great opportunity for brands to provide eCommerce products to their target audience.

4. Shoppable tags on Instagram.

In 2018, Instagram included shoppable features in their stories to provide more convenience for users who shop on this platform. With this tool, people can simply tap on an image of a product and be redirected to the product page within the app itself, making the experience a seamlessly integrated one.

One important thing to remember with eCommerce social media selling is that having high-quality images that speak to the user is crucial. The brands that are winning on Instagram (and any other social media for that matter) are those that have images, videos, and other content that visually pops out of the users’ screens and makes them want to know more.

5. Buy buttons on YouTube.

You might think it’s weird that we discuss YouTube as a platform for eCommerce but a lot of brands have successfully implemented buy buttons there as well. Nowadays, there are various YouTube tools that can help with finding eCommerce success on Youtube. 

Youtube also allows advertisers to include short ads at the beginning of different videos, which can be skipped after 5 seconds. 

This way, YouTube introduced a less intrusive option for brands to share their products and encourage people to buy them. 

Speaking of buy buttons, there are other platforms that have similar functions. One example that might have come to your mind as you’re reading this article would be the Instagram “Swipe Up” feature. This can also serve as a buy now button for social media eCommerce.

6. WhatsApp for Businesses.

Although this is more of an instant messaging platform than one solely focused on eCommerce, it’s important to mention that users can attach images or videos with every message they send. For many people, WhatsApp is their primary source of communication.

Image Credit: http://feedough.com

Whatapp also has various tools that can help businesses, including Whatsapp for business. 

This allows businesses to display their information including logos, categories, product descriptions and define working hours. In addition, they can also showcase the products that they offer from within their Whatsapp business interface.

7. LinkedIn.

What’s interesting about LinkedIn is that it allows for two different eCommerce experiences. 

First of all, users can send direct messages to each other on this platform which can be used for cross-selling and upselling opportunities. This works particularly well if you have a B2B audience on LinkedIn – since, more than likely, they are interested in buying your products/services. =

Apart from that, companies also have the option to create their page within the LinkedIn network itself. If people land there, they automatically stay on the LinkedIn domain rather than being redirected back to the company’s main website (which may decrease conversions).

8. Snapchat.

If you didn’t know already, Snapchat has been leading the way in introducing innovative features across all platforms. 

The first big step they took was adding advertisements into user stories, which allowed users to swipe up directly into eCommerce experiences. They also introduced Snapcodes which show users a different way to connect with other users and follow them.

For example, you can scan someone’s Snapcode at a concert or event and then be connected to that person’s account. This is a great way for businesses to showcase their products or services.

9. Instagram.

We can’t mention eCommerce social selling without mentioning Instagram. With advertisements showing up frequently when users are viewing others’ stories as well as through the whole browsing experience, advertising on Instagram is at an all-time high.

Giving businesses the ability to use the same interface for Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram advertising is also a great business move. Advertisers only have to learn how to use one interface and they can reap the benefits of getting targeted traffic to their site over and over again.

Tips on how brands can tap into eCommerce on social media.

The following are tips and tricks on how you can take advantage of the eCommerce opportunities on social media.

1. Know your audience.

The best social media marketing tip that one can get is that in order to achieve success with any kind of marketing, you need to know who you’re targeting. 

This is also true for eCommerce marketing, especially on social media.

For example, if you want to set up an online shop on LinkedIn then it would be smart to target users within your industry or people that are specifically interested in buying what you’re selling (e.g. B2B purchasing).

Understanding social media personas is key. If you don’t know your audience then it’ll be hard to achieve success with any kind of marketing.

2. Be up to date with the latest social media updates.

Being up to date with the latest social media trends and updates is also very important because most of these platforms will always keep innovating their features to stay on top of their game. 

Another option would be to hire a social media manager whose job would be to stay on top of the current trends.

For example, we mentioned that Snapchat has been leading the way when it comes to introducing new features for eCommerce brands such as Snapcodes and user stories. 

The same holds true with businesses. Those that are on top of trends can take advantage of them as soon as they start and end up getting the majority of the audience through these various advertising means.

3. Give users an eCommerce or “shop” experience.

Since social media is all about being social, it’s important to give your audience a way to interact and engage with your personal brand as you’re building it. 

One of the best ways for this to happen is by creating an eCommerce experience that allows users to browse through products, share them on their timelines, etc. This will increase engagement rates within each post because it gives people something more than just photos.

4. Integrate website features into your posts.

Another great way for brands to engage with their target audiences (and ultimately increase conversions) is by integrating their official websites into their posts on different social networks. This is an excellent way to get more people to visit the site and hopefully convert it into sales.

5. Be creative in how you sell your products.

Don’t forget that social media is all about creativity. If you just post boring product pictures with no description or explainer videos then it’s probably not going to be very effective. Instead, try to think outside of the box on how you can best sell your products in a fun and creative way. 

For example, instead of posting simple pictures why not build a short video that explains what makes each product unique? This will allow users to engage more deeply with your brand/products because they’ll feel like they know more about them after watching this video. 

Creating engaging videos on social media is nothing less than crucial.

6. Promote special offers to increase conversions.

Sales and special offers are how most eCommerce websites make money. This should also be true for social media. 

Image Credit: http://dynamicyield.com

For example, if you want to promote your products on Facebook then it’s a good idea to make them available via sponsored ads/posts which target users that have an interest in buying specific things online. This will allow you to target the right audience & convert more sales because they’ll be much more interested compared to just regular posts.

Examples of how successfully sell products on social media.

Let’s have a look at a few brands that are using social media to the best of its abilities when it comes to social selling.

1. Dollar Shave Club.

A popular social commerce example is Dollar Shave Club. Even though current consumers are not scared to spend, brands must work hard to gain the confidence of their customers. This is something that Dollar Shave Club does very well.

In fact, social proof, or the perception of others, is one of the most critical and valuable marketing tools for any company or brand.

Dollar Shave Club has a Pinterest board dedicated to positive client feedback and unboxing photographs. This clever fusion of user-generated content and social proof contributes to brand trust, authenticity, credibility, and higher return on investment.

2. Fabdog.

Fabdog, an online store that specializes in dog-related items, offers matching sets of human and dog pajamas. With their adorable products, Fabdog is a hit with dog owners right away.

Users are often exposed to their Facebook ad more than once due to their sophisticated custom targeting capabilities. 

Consumers will be more inclined to buy a product or service if they see it often, especially since they’ll associate it with enjoyment. This is something that Fabdog does very well.=

Fabdog also uses video ads to advertise their products. People love watching videos on social media and this brings higher engagement to the company while they are on Facebook. This means that it’s a win-win for both the business and the social media platform.

3. NBA.

The NBA was one of TikTok’s first adopters. Since they got started, they have continued to produce high-quality material on the platform.

Image Credit: http://youtube.com

In fact, they’ve amassed 5.5 million followers on the app, which is a huge number. They make things rather amusing, which is fantastic and a clever idea that also helps when it comes to their user retention.

Many would say that there is no better place to watch NBA comedy, memes, and motivation than on TikTok.

Conclusion.

There are many different ways brands and businesses can succeed with eCommerce on social media. The above tips should give you the right ideas on what works best.

However, the only way you’ll know for sure is by testing out different methods yourself so don’t be afraid to experiment with new things. Even if you mess up and make a mistake it’s still ok because at least you’ll learn something new which can help your brand in the future.

The trend of e-commerce selling on social media platforms is still on the rise so your brand must take advantage of these lucrative opportunities right now. 

At the end of the day, the time that we’re living in is the best that there has ever been when it comes to making more sales, reaching a wider audience, and especially improving ROI using eCommerce on social media.

Author Bio

Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.