The power of social commerce: Why frictionless shopping creates a more engaged following
By Team Fetch
December 30, 2023
The rapid growth of social commerce has turned social media platforms into thriving marketplaces. Brands that build an effective social commerce strategy integrate social media promotion with the ability to sell directly through a social platform.
Social commerce gives consumers a seamless and convenient way to buy while engaging with a brand. Providing social shopping options is especially important for brands looking to reach younger consumers — people who are highly active on social media and shop directly from their mobile devices.
Social commerce takes place on dominant social platforms like Facebook and TikTok, as well as on a variety of other apps and platforms that incorporate social features. Retail-agnostic media networks like Fetch combine shopping with in-app social features that allow users to share purchase information with friends, then compete to rack up the most points.
Brands use commerce on social media to create new points of sale and save their social-savvy customers the step of navigating to a website or app. These brands also tap into new opportunities to improve engagement and drive sales. Social commerce is an essential piece of a brand marketer’s toolkit, creating new touchpoints that brands incorporate into holistic, cross-platform marketing strategies.
What is social commerce?
Social commerce is the practice of selling products through a social networking platform. Rather than using Facebook or Instagram to drive consumers to shop on a website or app, this type of commerce allows customers to make purchases directly through the social app.
No matter how well a brand markets its existing ecommerce platforms, not all target consumers will navigate to a website. That means the brand needs to reach them on the apps they’re already using, providing shoppers with ways to buy without ever leaving those platforms.
Consumers who have a good social commerce experience with a brand are more likely to make repeat purchases, place larger orders, provide helpful feedback and amplify the brand to their social media followers. People trust their friends’ recommendations and tastes, so a social commerce strategy that creates a sense of community can be a powerful driver of loyalty and new sales.
How do brands use the social marketplace?
A social marketplace is an online space where consumers can buy products and communicate smoothly with brands. Those brands use a variety of techniques to facilitate social commerce, including:
- Creating specialized offers and discounts
- Reaching new customers through the recommendations of friends and influencers
- Communicating directly with consumers who need help
- Gathering feedback directly from consumers
- Sharing and showcasing content from users that features a given brand
As more consumers shop on social media, marketing and ecommerce platforms are creating tools that facilitate social commerce. For example, the social commerce tools and features on platforms like Fetch, Shopify and Tagshop reflect the reality that consumers expect to be able to make purchases via social media.
What are the major social commerce platforms?
Facebook and Instagram are currently the largest platforms for social commerce. These platforms offer brands tools and integrations that enable social purchases, building on their already established dominance of the social media landscape. Both Facebook and Instagram have steadily increased their social commerce activity year over year.
Behind them is TikTok, which has grown rapidly as a commerce platform in just a few short years. Since 2020, the number of social buyers on TikTok has increased more than tenfold. In 2022 it overtook Pinterest, which remains a commerce heavyweight.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest combined boast more than 150 million social shoppers.
Many other popular platforms incorporate social commerce features, including: YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat and Twitch. Plus, retail-agnostic media networks like Fetch are increasingly introducing social features. While shoppers don’t make purchases directly on these apps, the platforms facilitate social commerce in that they allow consumers to tap into their friends and families for product recommendations and discoveries.
How do different social commerce platforms tap into different consumer groups
Each of the major social-media players (Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat etc.) serve different demographics and approach social commerce in different ways. Even on platforms whose overall user base tends to lean older, like Facebook, social shoppers tend to represent a younger slice of the audience. The majority of TikTok users are teenagers or young adults, which helps to explain that app’s meteoric rise in the social commerce space.
To that end, social sellers on YouTube will often combine in-platform purchases with product demonstrations and how-to videos. On LinkedIn, social commerce has more of a B2B emphasis than it does on other platforms. Twitch has increasingly collaborated with third-party brands to offer shopping experiences intertwined with livestreams.
Each of these platforms demonstrates the power of social commerce and caters to the needs and interests of vastly different consumer groups.
What is social retailing?
Social retailing is the overall strategy a brand uses to promote its products or services on social media. The term encompasses a range of practices, including:
- Organic and paid promotion through social media posts
- Selling directly to consumers within a platform
- Driving consumers to a brand’s website and/or brick-and-mortar stores
- Sharing both original brand-created content and consumer-generated content featuring the brand’s products or services
This type of commerce is one component of a strong social retailing strategy. Providing customers with frictionless social purchasing options contributes to the broader goal of social promotion. In turn, effective social promotion drives more frequent purchasing, attracts new customers and provides existing customers with extra ways to stay engaged.
How Fetch is revolutionizing social commerce
Fetch rewards shoppers with Fetch points, the platform’s in-app currency, when they snap receipts within the app. Consumers can redeem their points for gift cards, sweepstakes entries and more. But Fetch is more than America’s No. 1 rewards platform. The app recently introduced Fetch Social, an in-app feature where users share purchases with friends and family. Users can see what their friends are buying, where they’re shopping and which rewards they’re redeeming. As shoppers get rewarded for scanning receipts and purchasing featured products, they compete on a leaderboard for the top spot within their Fetch community.
The Fetch Social feed helps shoppers discover new products and offers. This drives both customer retention and new referral business. It’s a fun, easy-to-use feature that reinforces Fetch’s proven success at building consumer loyalty for featured brands.
In fact, Fetch Social users have an even higher retention rate with their favorite brands than other Fetch users. Since the introduction of Fetch Social, Fetch has also seen a significant increase in usage.
Ready to put your brand in front of millions of high-intent shoppers? Get in touch with the Fetch for Business team today.
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