Over the past decade, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people discovering new brands and making purchases on social media. It’s no wonder that the term social commerce came into being and quickly became a must-have to onboard with for brands to succeed. It’s the new normal and now it’s evolving further!
So in this blog, we decided to dig deeper and look into the social commerce trends that brands will need to quickly adapt their strategy for this year.
Social commerce trends to keep watch on
Social commerce trends are not just evolving because of technological advancements and the features every platform has to offer. They are also evolving based on consumer behavior and how they choose to buy from brands they discover on social media.
1. Shopping on the edges
As per Statista, social commerce sales are predicted to value $605 billion by 2027. In fact, almost 60% of online shoppers now state that social media platforms are better than online searches for new brands and products. But our study on top of this consumer behavior found that almost 47% of these buyers do not complete a purchase on social media - they navigate to the brand website instead to complete checkout in order to keep transactions secure.
This is why the number one social commerce trend that is quickly taking shape (Meta’s commerce strategy change is proof) is moving shopping to social media. Brands need to move away from the traditional approach of using social channels to push traffic to their website, and bring the branded site shopping experience to them.
The way to move forward with social commerce is to blend the way we use social media and commerce websites. This is where Edge Storefronts come into play to enable full-fledged social storefronts that replicate the branded site experience and are personalized to meet consumer preferences.
2. Rise of digital avatars
This social commerce trend is especially going to be prominent in the fashion industry. Big brands have traditionally stuck to fashion ramps to promote new fashions and styles launched. While that will definitely continue, brands have also begun to understand the importance of digital avatars in influencing customers.
Brands will be featuring their latest releases on digital avatars. These avatars will closely reflect different clothing styles, body types, sizes, and so on. This makes it more realistic for customers who will be choosing to purchase from a brand after they see how it looks on a digital avatar.
3. Increase in collaboration between micro-influencers and brands
One of the trends in social commerce that you will see becoming more popular is micro-influencers enabling brands to increase their reach.
For the uninitiated, micro-influencers are social media influencers who collaborate with brands at very affordable budgets. Micro-influencers have a very segmented audience. This makes it easier to run targeted campaigns in collaboration with brands.
Statistics have shown that micro-influencers generate upto 60% more engagement for brands, resulting in more positive business outcomes.
4. Increase in paid ad budgets
With organic reach on social channels decreasing and the competition for consumer attention increasing by the day, across industries, brands are investing more in running paid campaigns to cut through the noise.
As per statistics, social media spending in the US alone has been increasing over the past few years, recording a 28.2 percent average annual growth from 2018 to 2023. But this is a social commerce trend that not all brands will be able to adopt considering that the conversion rates experienced on websites from social traffic still continues to be only 2-5%, which as compared to the spend is much lower.
5. New ways to collect audience data
A number of apps have begun to block third-party cookies, which hinders brands from capturing audience data. This can prove to be very tricky, especially when it comes to running ads and social media campaigns that are personalized to every individual’s interest and preferences.
The good news is that social media tools such as polls and quizzes are a great way to capture audience preferences, interests, and sentiments. And solutions like Edge Storefronts leverage artificial intelligence to read customer intent, interest and preferences - no cookies required.
6. Frictionless experiences will pave the way
The advent of digital has customers vehemently demanding smooth, effortless experiences at every stage in the buyer’s journey. This will continue to be one of the critical social commerce trends which supports the trend of moving shopping to the edges with Edge Storefronts.
Businesses will need to be flexible and adapt quickly to changing consumer needs. They will need to unify experiences across different channels and digital platforms so that customers don't have to grapple with completing purchases or talking to support - cue in omnichannel marketing and retailing strategies.
7. Social commerce on Instagram
Instagram has shot up as a popular social commerce tool, especially with the onset of the pandemic. The platform proves to be a great way to enable no-contact shopping experiences. Brands can create business profiles on Instagram, run ads, leverage hashtags, and more. Instagram Shopping allows you to create visual storefronts with the products that you are selling. All customers have to do is tap on the tags against each product and a purchase link and price tag will show up.
But as of writing this blog (May 2023), this social commerce trend is reportedly breaking. Instagram commerce and the way it works right now is broken and brands will need to move fast to remedy the same.
8. Leverage chatbots for social commerce
Another one of the social commerce trends you’ve probably already come across multiple times is the rising use of conversational AI powered chatbots for social commerce. This is because customers prefer personalized shopping experiences. However, depending on live agents to personalize experiences for each shopper is an overwhelming task. Not to mention it isn't scalable in the long term.
Chatbots on the other hand can solve this dilemma up to some extent.
Chatbots can automate a number of repetitive tasks such as answering basic customer queries, capturing customer information, schedule follow up calls and appointment reminders, and more. They can be used to provide instantaneous responses and even for lead conversions. Aside from this, chatbots are capable of picking up insights from user behavior, past interactions, etc. to offer tailored recommendations to customers.
9. User-generated content will continue to be highly beneficial for businesses
One of the biggest pet peeves of customers when choosing brands is that most of them appear too impersonal and unfriendly. It feels like you are working with a bunch of names rather than actual humans.
In social commerce user-generated content can mitigate such issues. Customers can be encouraged to share photos, videos, testimonials, and experiences across social media. Customers are more likely to share such content and this in turn increases a brand’s reach.
Aside from this, when other customers see the kind of experiences others are sharing, it encourages them to consider your brand as well. This is because user-generated content is put out by real people. Ones who have no bias for you and who are willing to offer transparent and honest feedback about their experiences. This makes user-generated content quite valuable. After all, what's a better marketing campaign than word-of-mouth from your existing customers?
10. Live streaming will become critical in social commerce
During the pandemic, a number of ecommerce businesses turned to live streaming to keep them going. Live streaming is nothing but collaborating with influencers to promote products and new launches over streaming apps such as Facebook Live, Twitch, and others.
With most of the population now on social media, live streaming continues to make sense for social commerce. It is a great tool to target customers at every stage of their buying cycle and it also encourages impulse purchases. For instance, a fashion brand can collaborate with an influencer on an unboxing video. Links to purchase each of these products can be added within the video so that users can buy them if they choose.
To put things into perspective, live stream selling has grown by 76% since the start of the pandemic.
Social commerce is continually evolving and will become a huge part of online commerce in the years to come. Brands will need to keep an eye out for the latest trends and changes in consumer behavior to ensure that their business is thriving and evolving.
But one thing that is for sure to set in, is that consumers want to shop where they are - so brands will need to bring commerce experiences to social media, as those are the very platforms that internet users are spending most of their time on.
And with Edge Storefronts, this is easier than you think.
Get ready for the future of social commerce with Edge Storefronts.