Social Commerce Trends and Updates: 2021

The shift from social media being a space to communicate with friends and family to communicating with the customer is becoming ever more apparent, and Social Commerce is one of the main areas which is constantly evolving to accommodate for consumers attitudes towards purchasing through social media.

Consumer adoptions of Content and Social Commerce

A blog from Oberlo referenced that the average attention span of a Gen Z persona equated to around 8 seconds, shortened by 4 seconds to that of a Millennial, therefore businesses must continue to develop the most effective and strategic ways to engage their audiences and customers. There’s constant pressure on retailers to put out content and keep up with tech advances to stay at the forefront of people’s minds, ready for when purchasing goods or services takes place. According to smart insights 53% of the world’s population use social media, with the average daily use around 2hrs 25 minutes, this stat shows itself how big an opportunity Social Commerce is for retailers.

With that in mind, a blog from Social Media Today references the rise of Social Commerce and why brands should be paying attention to the in-stream shopping facility available on social. They reference an infographic from Squarelovin that highlights consumer attitudes towards Social Commerce. From the study, they found 55% of people have made a purchase through a social media channel in 2020, with 42% of people using social media to research products. Ads were also prominent, stating 31% made a purchase over a social media ad and 11% of those surveyed were motivated to click on ads or posts that showcase a Buy Now button. Are people beginning to trust these ways to shop more than ever before?

The evolving trends of Social Commerce

Social media channels are realising the shift in consumer attitudes towards social commerce and are stepping up their approaches for this, including new and innovative updates to their platforms. Back in December we wrote about the new updates to Instagram Reels that allowed for product tags to be featured within the videos that were being published to their audiences. Users are able to view, learn more and buy products directly from Reels, which bridges the gap between passing interest and purchase and keeps the users on the social platform. Instagram also recently made changes to their navigation in which they added a ‘shop’ button, showcasing the critical changes that social media platforms are having on the rise of social commerce itself.

TikTok is another platform that is utilising the shift of social shopping through the partnership of Shopify. The deal, which we discussed in February along with the other deals TikTok are partnering with, has meant over 1 million Shopify merchants are able to access over 100 million TikTok users. Shopify users are able to connect their business accounts and showcase in feed shoppable video ads that can be targeted to specific customers. 

Snapchat is another platform that is utilising Shopify as a means of showcasing products, but in an innovative way using the USP of Snapchat to give the user a different experience of shopping. It is using Augmented Reality to bring a ‘try before you buy’ feel to consumers, similar to that of a highstreet experience. Snapchat is slowly becoming a user friendly virtual showroom for shopping items and large commerce names such as Gucci and Walmart. 

The Social Media Customer Journey 

The customer journey for any demographic is one of the main driving forces for the shift toward Social Commerce. The ease of using mobiles and desktop to purchase products and services is a huge driving force and retailers are continually adopting the latest tech to create more refined experiences for potential customers so that shopping online isn’t just simply a checkout transaction. 

This cycle is also advocated on social platforms one, for the external businesses using the platform to showcase their products, but also because social platforms are competing on the user choosing their application over others, therefore the use of social commerce is an opportunity for the likes of Instagram and TikTok. 

The social media commerce journey has been summarised by Squarelovin in 4 steps :

  • Reach – Exploring customers
  • Act – Support decision making
  • Engage – Get customers to become evangelists of the brand
  • Convert – Get them to purchase

Ultimately, this model shows that, if done efficiently, brands can use Social Media as their own ecommerce platform where they can listen to customer attitudes, views and opinions and update their products like their own shop, all in the hands of the platforms that are hosting them, making an easier experience for the consumer too.

The limitations with new updates to IOS 14

Whilst the social commerce movement sounds like a win-win model, there are limitations to the process which are coming into force soon. We recently wrote a blog talking all about the implications of IOS 14 and security updates that will affect marketers and social commerce. The security measures that will allow users to opt out of data collections on sites and applications will have a huge impact on the marketing world and also the progression of social commerce. It will mean targeted campaigns, especially for paid media will take a hit and not be as effective, with an estimated 59% of users expected to opt out of allowing information to be shared, therefore losing a large percentage of customer bases for personalised ads. However this is lower than expected, and isn’t as bad as initially thought. For retailers and marketers, it’s key to keep up to date and see how this will affect results going forward.

Engaging the customer and ensuring you get information across in an efficient manner is crucial to getting customers over the line and converting. If you’d like to explore the potential business opportunities that online commerce holds, then the team at Colehouse are more than happy to help you set up shop. Get in touch for a free, no obligation chat where we can find out more about what you need and how we can help!