SOCIAL COMMERCE : Why you’re leaving money on the table (why not take it all?)




Business can be done on social media platforms initially made for socialization and interactions. Key opinion leaders (KOLs) or as we call them, influencers, have become the mouthpiece of brands on social media platforms. These online public figures are once just any ordinary social media user who managed to establish a huge following on their platforms by creating entertaining or informative content with their personal day-to-day lives or niche interests. Influencers build a relationship with a certain audience who find their content relatable, useful or interesting through constant interactions and engagement with them—this relationship is a goldmine of marketing potential. Because of the KOLs’ significant influence on their community of followers, brands tap on this opulent potential to market products, reach audiences, engage communities, and increase brand visibility. We call this marketing strategy social commerce.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to facilitate online buying and selling of products and services. It's where social interaction meets e-commerce, enabling a seamless shopping experience directly within the digital realm of social media namely Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest among others. Transcending beyond the primary purpose of these social media platforms, which is to connect with people, build online communities, and share highlight reels of one’s life, social commerce steps out of the box and capitalizes on these culturally and socially rich virtual engagements to innovate the way marketing is done.

The emergence of social commerce is a response to the decline of digital advertising’s appeal to their audience. It has been reported in 2023 that 35.7% of the online audience use ad blockers, 37.2% decline cookies at least some of the time, and only 17.2% feel represented by the advertising they see. The data is clearly pushing for a revolutionary way of doing marketing that can revive the online users as a receptive audience to digital marketing. This demand for a fresh take requires a strategy that is not extremely intrusive but is smoothly integrated into the online lives of the people.

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Enter social commerce. Since 2020, social commerce has seen a steady upward growth in its relevance and efficiency. This positive impact brought about by social commerce is predicted to continue rising until 2026 and sales are expected to hit $2.9 trillion from social commerce alone. This solidifies social commerce as a valuable strategy in modern business that has the power to swiftly translate marketing strategies into profit.

Latest Trends in Social Commerce

A door of endless possibilities has opened by social commerce, both for brands and consumers alike. Brands can now be more humanized in the eyes of their target market by designing direct online engagements with them or tapping KOLs to give the brand a face, and to bring the brand closer and more reachable to the people. This added relatability factor accelerates the brands’ credibility and trustworthiness in the perception of the audience. On the other hand, through social commerce, the consumers also possess in the palm of their hands numerous and accessible ways to discover, engage with, purchase a product, and give feedback. For example, the yellow basket on TikTok directly connects a video by a content creator to the product they wish to showcase, promote or recommend to their viewers with just one easy click.

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Apart from the example previously given, there are several other methods in social commerce that have quickly transformed into trends in the online and business world because of the innovative ways it creates a space for buying and selling products as well as the concrete results they yield for the brands. Videos and images with shoppable links top this list. Influencers and brands appeal to their market by integrating the product to the content posted on social media and providing easy-access links in the same post, bringing the products closer to the consumers. Shoppable links can also be attached to short-lived content on social media, relaying a sense of urgency and exclusivity while maintaining that personal touch. Livestream shopping is the closest a consumer can get to the experience of shopping in the real world. With a host promoting and demonstrating their products, the audience can discern their choices and make a purchase in real-time. Lastly, affiliate campaigns have also proven themselves to be game changers in social commerce.

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One massive benefit of utilizing these methods for marketing is not only do they draw new, curious, and skeptical consumers, but also foster loyalty and familiarity, leading to repetitive purchases and regular consumers. Compared to people who haven’t ventured into social commerce, brands who have attract consumers who are 2x as likely to purchase from a brand they didn’t know. Thus, expansion of market reach is a goal that can be met through social commerce. Furthermore, social commerce creates loyal consumers who are 1.4x as likely to buy from the same seller, shop, or influencer again and 2x as likely to buy recommended products or services in bundle. Social commerce is not a one-size-fits-all with a simple formula that guarantees desired results. There is plenty of room for creativity and strategic planning for communication. It is ultimately up to the brands to maximize the possibilities available in social commerce.

Success Stories

Case study: Veewise

We cannot talk about social commerce without mentioning the power of influencer marketing. Influencers are one of the biggest creators and distributors of content to a buying audience online. They are reported to be tenfold more effective than traditional advertisements on mainstream media and social media. An influencer is reported to be 87% more memorable than TV ads, 182% more memorable than Facebook ads, and 73% more memorable than YouTube ads. Apart from the content they produce, influencers also know how to leverage their personality to inspire authentic engagement with their followers. These online interactions solidify a relationship between the influencer and their followers, potentially leading to trust and loyalty, setting the stage for influencer marketing strategies.

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Blacklist International power duo OhmyV33nus and Wise started the online market called VeeWise Sari Sari Store available on Facebook, Instagram, and Shopee where they sell merchandise catered to their supporters, whether as esports players or as a couple. Such products sold on the online store are shirts, logo pins, stickers, perfumes, mugs and their famous bagoong alamang. Although mainly online, the VeeWise Sari Sari Store manifested its online success to the physical world with their occasional pop-up stores in various locations across Metro Manila. This brilliant online store established by Vee and Wise is the perfect illustration of smoothly turning followers into customers through social commerce.

Tips for Businesses

a. Engage Authentically Authenticity is key. Engage with your audience by responding to comments, sharing behind-the-scenes content, and showing the human side of your brand. b. Leverage Influencers Partnering with influencers can amplify your reach and lend credibility to your brand. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and have a genuine connection with their followers. c. Optimize for Mobile Ensure your social commerce strategy is mobile-friendly. Most social media users access platforms via their smartphones, so a seamless mobile shopping experience is crucial. d. Utilize Social Proof Highlight customer reviews and testimonials. Social proof builds trust and encourages new customers to make purchases.

Resources and Further Reading

State of Influencer Marketing Report by Meltwater Southeast Asia Ecommerce Outlook 2023 by TMO Group The Philippine eCommerce sales estimate For more insights on social commerce, send a message to [email protected]. To stay updated about all things gaming, subscribe to our mailing list today.

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