With social commerce making further inroads into the ecommerce pie, it’s essential to know why it’s different and what makes it so successful. This knowledge is key to creating successful campaigns on social shopping networks.
What’s the difference between social shopping and social commerce?
The term social shopping has been around for a lot longer than social commerce and it has several different definitions. It’s essentially social commerce from the perspective of the buyer. Whereas social commerce is all about a seamless in-app buyer journey and checkout, social shopping entails how the consumer feels they are doing and how the social aspects of social commerce work.
1. Social shopping platforms bring people together!
In the digital era, social shopping networks included the group shopping sites like Groupon or sites with a following that promoted certain products – like price comparison sites and shopping recommendation engines. Early social shopping showed how consumers liked to come together for events or deals, trends and fads emerged that were driven by both engines and sites creating the offers and the consumers who wanted to be part of it.
Initially, the consumers were being recommended the products by the marketplace or deal initiators. Consumers were excited, however, because they wanted to be part of something with other similarly minded consumers. They trusted the ratings and comments added to products or sites by other consumers they didn’t know.
2. Trust key to influencing purchasing decisions in social spaces
As social networks emerged and grew, marketers began to see the importance of recommendations from friends and family. Other user-generated content such as ratings and supplier descriptions remain important. However, recommendations from friends and family – and increasingly from influencers – within social networks revealed itself to the real catalyst for purchases.
According to a recent shopper survey, recommendations from friends are crucial for all age groups. They are the primary source of influence for consumers ages 18-40 – Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. The study found the same was true for the so-called baby boomers generation who still place more trust in friends and family. Apart from the supplier side using algorithms to match products from friends or wider networks with consumers, shoppers themselves recommend, share and post about their recent purchase decisions. The dawn of hypescaler social shopping network giants is a result of a perfect set of suppliers using social commerce and buyers appreciating the ability of these networks to connect them with products or brands they feel they can trust. TikTok Shopping is now leading the way with innovative new advertising products that harness the trust users place in influencers and friends. Users also react well to authentic content they can relate to, it inspires and informs them, lending them the confidence to buy. TikTok’s GM of North America Sandie Hawkins has called social commerce “Word of mouth on steroids.” Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat are all working on innovative new ways to shore up consumers’ trust in their videos.
3. The social is being put back into social shopping
Although the “social” in social shopping was initially a descriptive term, new technologies and internet-enabled brand and product transparency have led to a massive increase in the creation of social factors beginning to influence consumer decisions. Diversity and sustainability are two topics that animate and engage shoppers at levels that can no longer be ignored. Social shopping and social commerce are being forced to become more social.
A huge 76% Gen Z claim that brand diversity is an important factor influencing their purchasing decisions. And the trend is the same for sustainable shopping, a recent commerce report found that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase on their shopping journey if a product is reusable and 70% if it’s or recyclable.
Productsup’s social commerce solutions are tailored for omnichannel success
Businesses looking to increase their social commerce activity or to add new social shopping channels need to overcome the hugely complex and anarchic paths that now run from products to consumers. Digitization has both increased consumer appetite for social buying. However, this interest has been matched with an exponential increase in the labor firms have to use to just manage their sales channels.
Productsup offers comprehensive and tailored omnichannel solutions to suit all businesses and business outcomes. Our unique product-to-consumer (P2C) can centralize all channels, including all social commerce networks in easy-to-read dashboards. Read more about social commerce and our solutions by downloading the 2022 social commerce guide below.