Digital buying, and more specifically, social buying, accelerated in the upheaval of 2020. With America under lockdown, the pandemic became a moment of opportunity for both platforms and brands as consumers adapted to buying through social media.
Today, two-thirds (65%) of Americans are buying directly on or discovering products through social media, according to a recent Ipsos study. So far, apparel, beauty, health/wellness and media subscriptions are the biggest beneficiaries. Now the challenge is to scale by making social buying more reliable and convenient for even more categories.
Already, 2020 ushered in massive infrastructure changes. Major social platforms adopted and rolled out integrated commerce features. Marketers and product developers faced increased pressure to shorten the time and gap between impression and transaction or risk losing a sale. With this new infrastructure ready, the focus becomes how brands can convert more scrollers to shoppers.
The main barriers to social buying are behavioral, according to the Ipsos survey. About three in 10 consumers say they don’t use social media for shopping inspiration, they prefer to buy in stores or they don’t trust the product recommendations on social media. Education can go a long way to overcome these vetoes.
The good news is that audiences typically just need someone to tell them about social buying, per the Ipsos study. For 40% of consumers, the main thing that led them to make a social purchase was a recommendation by a trusted friend. However, the data also show that brands can play a role in this education. One way is working with influencers to spread the word on how customers can find your brand. Another is including a call to action to brand social commerce efforts from your brands’ other marketing efforts, thereby linking and raising awareness to the brand’s available social and shopping platforms.
Social commerce is here and growing. It’s giving brands a new transactions platform and shortening the distance between marketing and conversion. This is important as social media evolves to be not just a channel for brand exposure but also for brand experience.