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Social media shopping: what is it, how does it work?

Social shopping enables you to engage with your customers, build relationships, and sell to them in the very places they are socialising.

At some stage, when we’ve been out and about relaxing and socialising, we’ve all been accosted by spruikers. “Come to our store!” they cry as they shove a flyer into our hands. “Huge discounts! Massive range!”

Now, sometimes they get our interest and sometimes they offer real bargains, but often we’re busy, we’re out with friends, or we can’t be bothered taking ourselves off to the shop.

Now imagine if that spruiker brought the shop to you. Imagine if you could shop where you socialise, when you’re catching up with family, when you’re just hanging out with friends, catching up on the news.

Rather than enticing customers to your business, social shopping allows you to take your business to customers via their social media.

It enables you to engage with your customers, build relationships, and sell to them in the very places they are hanging out and socialising. And it’s having amazing marketing results.

What is social media shopping?

Social shopping is what you get when you combine e-commerce with social media. Instead of social media marketing driving traffic to your online stores, your online store is hosted on the social media platform.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram now allow businesses to create special posts that direct shoppers to product pages within the social media platform and provide businesses with what they need to encourage completion of the sale.

Social media shopping basically allows you to target consumers, engage with them, and then sell to them all in the one place. It puts your shop in the middle of the world’s biggest social precinct – social media.

What’s the difference between social shopping and e-commerce?

E-commerce is when businesses use a dedicated app or website to sell their goods and services.

The website and the app account are usually owned by the business, who traditionally uses marketing means, like social media, to drive customers to their store.

Social media shopping is when the store actually sits inside a social media platform, essentially removing a step in the sales process.

What are some social shopping features?

Each social media platform has its own version of social shopping.

Instagram Shopping has a range of social shopping features, including a ‘storefront’, which allows people to shop on your profile, view product descriptions and tags, and enables customers to browse posts with shopping tags in the ‘explore’ section. You can create product collections to help your customers find what they’re looking for, and even create product launches.

Facebook Shopping is very similar to Instagram Shopping, offering most of the same features. Both platforms feature insights, direct messaging and paid social advertising.

TikTok Shop includes Shopify integrated advertising, and shoppable video ads that appear on users’ ‘For You’ feed.

How are brands using social shopping?

Most brands use social shopping as another outlet, in addition to their traditional website store.

The businesses that have most success with social shopping are the ones that take full advantage of the social aspect – they engage with and support users of the platform.

Here’s how you can do it too:

1. Directly engage with the audience

Social shopping allows you to have instant and direct interactions with customers. Sometimes a business will ask questions of their customers, and respond. This tells customers you care about them, and also gives you an insight into their preferences.

2. Target audiences

Millennials and Gen Z users are more engaged with social media than any other demographic and social media is the best way to connect to this group. They also love social shopping.

In fact, a recent study revealed that 50 per cent of this demographic said they would purchase from social media.

3. Make the most of mobile

Every year, the number of customers using a device to shop increases.

Social media is made for devices, and is easy to use and navigate. Social shopping is a marketing feature that taps into that.

Why should your brand use social shopping?

Sales, and lots of them, is the short answer.

A recent Statista study revealed that 29 per cent of people who completed a purchase of something they saw on social media did it via the social media platform itself.

Social shopping is also a growing market – Statista reports that global social e-commerce generated about USD$724 billion in 2022, with annual growth of 30.8 per cent expected until 2030.

A lot of brands have recognised this opportunity and are tapping into customers’ willingness to buy products and services via social shopping by broadening their e-commerce offering.

Speak to the social media marketing experts

The most successful social shopping strategies are the ones that use nuanced and sophisticated marketing strategies to engage with users, build relationships, and convert those users into loyal customers.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne that are experts in social media marketing and can create effective campaigns especially tailored to your business.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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