Best social commerce examples from real-life brands (Bonus: How to increase conversions)
Shopping has always been a social exercise- be it shopping with friends and family or turning to your peers for inspiration on what to buy next.
This has not changed- simply moved online onto social mediums, where one is introduced and inspired by those we follow, be it our own circle or social media influencers.
Social media channels have the unique advantage of making an impression AND enabling online purchases.
This confluence of opportunity has allowed brands to stop writing off social media as ‘something you just need to have’ and its success, previously measured by metrics like reach, is now being seen by soaring revenue and sales.
According to a report by Deloitte Global, the market for social commerce will surpass US$1 trillion globally in 2023 and will account for 4.3% of all retail ecommerce sales by 2023.
In 2021, $37 billion in goods and services were purchased through social-commerce channels.
But here’s a number you probably did not know.
There’s a lot that brands are still leaving on the table due to broken shopping experiences (which we will be covering in our next set of blogs).
So in this post, we’re going to start off by sharing social commerce examples from brands leveraging the different social media platforms to reach their customers and then introduce you to some tried and tested ways to boost conversions - edging closer to the underreported number above!
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is the process of selling products directly through social media platforms. It is an extension of social media marketing and allows brands to reach consumers where they spend most of their time.
Email and SMS marketing have been slowly declining in their reach and impact, with open and click through rates reaching an all time low. But social commerce and chat/communities are on the rise owing to the engaging experience they offer.
Social commerce can significantly improve conversions and revenue for brands, as it enables internet users to not just engage with content online but also be led to brand sites where they can make purchases of products they like.
Imagine the last time you clicked on a website link or the social shop from a brand page after liking the content posted or discovering it through an ad campaign.
10 social commerce examples from brands on Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Tiktok
Brands across different industries have been leveraging social commerce in different ways - from channel capabilities to how they target their audience, let’s take a look at some examples:
Glossier was named ‘Beauty Brand for the Generation’ by Forbes and has a following of more than 2.7 million followers on Instagram. It’s very clear they know who they’re targeting, what internet culture is about and use that insight in selling their products through their Instagram Shop.
They create hype about their new stores, skin care line launches, share UGC to create trust and build credibility.
One of our favorites has been the launch of their filter (linked below), where people can try their lipsticks on their skin to find the perfect shade!
Nike has multiple social media accounts targeted for different audiences, making their posts highly engaging to their community. Riding social media trends, collaborating with athletes, artists and celebrities, their reach and social commerce strategy is strong and varied.
Take inspiration from their posts that motivates people to live a better and healthy lifestyle…with their products! Along with their shop section, they also include shoppable tags on posts so customers can purchase from them without having to leave the app.
The wildly popular brand is always trying to unify the shopping experience for their online shoppers and customers who visit their stores, and to bring personalisation at each step of their audience’s journey as they discover their products.
Take a look at their Snapchat takeovers with beauty influencers and shoppable AR lenses- they have learned the secret to gamifying browsing and engaging their audience.
4. Lush (Pinterest)
One of the reasons why people love visiting skin care and makeup brand’s physical stores is that they get to learn how to apply and use their products.
Lush has made that education available online for its audience through their pins, that are easy to add to cart without the friction of a overwhelming website.
5. Walmart (Tik Tok)
In China, live stream is already an incredibly common and successful social commerce strategy for brands and in fact in 2021, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt made community commerce a raging trend in the US as well. Users find tik toks to be engaging, authentic and excellent at discovering and showcasing more of what they like- especially brands.
Take a look at Walmart who uses Tiktok's shoppable product stickers, that allow users to make purchases without ever leaving the app. They also shared discounts and exclusive promotions through engaging video content and brought live streams for the first time in the US.
Walmart x TikTok makes for an excellent social commerce case study- during the event, they saw 7X more views and grew their followers by 25%!
Stunning photographs that all have a shoppable link, make for a very luxurious social shopping experience for people who love and follow Coach on Instagram. The brand encourages users to check out their collection so they can pick their favorite shade and material and then send them to their website to complete their purchase.
They also have curated guides for special occasions like Valentines day and Holiday Picks which use Instagram’s shop feature.
7. Wayfair (Pinterest)
Wayfair Uk’s Pinterest bio reads- ‘Take the average store, multiply it by a thousand. Then add a zillion options in furniture, lighting, cookware and everything in between. That’s Wayfair.’ And they show this through numerous pins of their entire catalog, curated by special occasions and trending events.
Take a look at their ‘Shop the Look’ board, that makes viewers imagine just how their furniture will look in their house or space, increasing engagement and most importantly, conversions!
8. Taco Bell
Taco Bell may be a Tex-Mex fast food chain, but their social media strategy is excellent to learn from. Take a look at their Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens that transformed people’s faces into giant taco shells, leading to a record-breaking 224 million views in one day!
Users shared their shots across channels like Twitter, making them trend for their humorous social commerce strategy. They also always participate in huge events like Super Bowl and create custom QR Snap codes for special discounts and offers.
Amazon, an ecommerce powerhouse, wanted to grab more eyeballs from younger generations. It turned to SnapChat, and shared exclusive promotions and discounts for Black Friday sales. It ensures that their followers feel special and engage in a sense of urgency with time-sensitive offers.
They also partnered with SnapChat to create an AR shopping experience where users can discover eyewear and try it out. Then, they can tap on a link at the bottom of the screen to make a purchase.
10. Tiffany & Co
If you’re a luxury brand nervous about maintaining their heritage brand image on Instagram, take a look at Tiffany & Co’s social commerce strategy. Weaving its signature ‘Tiffany Blue’ for a consistent and appealing ‘Instagram Home Page’, it takes users through timeless awe-inspiring designs, many of which have shoppable links to encourage friction free purchases.
All these brands have figured out how to use their dedicated community of followers to engage with them, keep an eye out for their sales and promotions and to ensure a shopping experience that doesn’t break.
This is not the situation for all brands - especially ones that have small teams and cannot create native shopping experiences inside the app.
10 ways to improve social commerce conversions
While there is no set way of using social commerce or selling on social media, there are definitely a few strategies that brands can leverage to reach their audience faster and lead them towards making a purchase.
1. Use shoppable tags and stickers
Many social media platforms offer shoppable tags and stickers that allow users to make purchases directly from the app, like we showed in the above examples of Coach and Tiffany’s on Instagram. This way, brands can make it easier for customers to buy their products and improve conversions.
2. Share user-generated content
User-generated content is a powerful way to showcase your products and build trust with your followers. It helps your customer to visualize life with that product, which can be incredibly inspiring and persuasive while shopping online. By featuring user-generated content on your social media channels, you can show your products in real-world settings and provide social proof to potential customers.
3. Collaborate with influencers
By collaborating with influencers who have a large following, you can reach new audiences and build credibility for your brand. The best part? You can take this strategy and mix it with a tactic like live streaming, which we discussed below.
4. Use social listening
Social listening involves monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, products, and competitors. By listening to what people are saying about your brand, you can identify what they’re looking for and share products from your catalog with shoppable or swipe up links.
5. Offer excellent customer service through AI chatbot
AI chatbots can provide instant assistance to customers and improve their experience with your brand. By using AI chatbots to answer common questions and resolve issues, you can improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.
6. Build Pre-Launch Hype With Instagram Reminders
Instagram Reminders can be a great way to build excitement for a new product or service. By creating a post or Story about your upcoming launch and asking users to set a reminder, you can increase anticipation and ensure that customers are ready to make a purchase as soon as the product is available.
7. Live Stream
Gaining steam quickly in the US and other countries after China, sales and revenue, Live streams are a popular way to engage with customers and offer exclusive deals. By hosting a live stream and offering discounts or promotions to viewers, you can create a sense of urgency and increase sales.
Giveaways can be a great way to generate buzz and attract new followers. By offering a prize in exchange for likes, comments, or shares, you can increase engagement and reach new customers and enable product discovery.
9. Use Reels
Instagram Reels are a popular feature that allows users to create short, entertaining videos that sync with trending audio and music tracks and have the ability to go viral in minutes and get 22% more interaction on Instagram than other, similar short form video templates.
10. Augmented Reality/VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can be powerful tools for showcasing your products and providing an immersive experience for customers. By allowing users to try on clothing or see how furniture looks in their home, you can increase engagement and improve conversions. 70% of Snapchatters regularly use AR filters and Gen Z in particular are big fans of these. In fact, 92% of Gen Z consumers want to use augmented reality tools for e-commerce.
Pro tip: Enable shopping on the edges
No matter what the social media platform you use to reach your target audience, social commerce is broken.
Despite the shoppable features that most social channels now have to offer, there are two distinct aspects that need to be taken into account:
- 70% of consumers prefer to buy from brand websites instead of social media
- Most brands can be seen directing their audience to brand websites through links in bio or CTA to product pages
Either way, the experience that consumers are exposed to through social media content vs that offered on the websites has a humongous context gap in between.
Think about the products you see on a brand’s social media page and how you go seeking the same on their website. But what you see on the website is ‘maybe’ the same product - because now, the look and feel of it has changed.
The inability of brands to carry forward complete context of their social media content into the commerce websites is what is resulting in lower conversion rates from social channels or not being able to attribute sales correctly.
This is where edge storefronts come in.
Edge storefronts leverage artificial intelligence to tie the lifestyle content brands promote on social media to the commerce experience offered on websites - all without the consumer having to leave the platform they discovered the brand on.
This does two things:
- Doesn’t require the brand to drive the consumer from one platform to another, optimizing the purchase journey
- Enables the brand to reassure the consumer that the product they see is the product they get
- Helps the consumer also discover the other products that may be shown alongside in the content - for example, if the social media post shows a pair of jeans with t-shirt, instead of linking to one, the edge storefront tailors the page they land on, showing them both and also other related products
Social commerce is an untapped opportunity that brands are not leveraging to their full potential.
This is mostly due to each platform having its own set of commerce features that change the way brands get to promote their products - which is also the reason why consumers still continue to shop from brand websites, leaving the social channels they discover brands on.
Social commerce is here but brands need to evolve their strategy.
Ready to take the next step in social commerce?
Explore the latest trends and case studies showcasing successful social commerce campaigns by top brands.