Social media has transformed the way we interact and share information online. Over the past decade, it has also emerged as a powerful platform for commerce. Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to drive sales. From small businesses to global brands, everyone is leveraging the power of social media to reach new audiences and boost revenue.
As we step into 2023, social commerce is poised to grow even further. Several new trends are emerging that will shape how brands use social platforms for sales in the coming months. In this article, we take a look at some of the biggest social commerce trends for 2023.
What Is Social Commerce?
Social commerce involves using social media platforms and features to promote and sell products and services. Brands can directly sell products on social platforms through in-app stores or by promoting products and directing users to external shopping sites. Social interactions like likes, comments and recommendations influence purchase decisions.
Difference Between Social Commerce and Ecommerce
While ecommerce focuses on transactions, social commerce concentrates on community engagement and user-generated content. Social platforms allow bidirectional communication between brands and users. They provide an opportunity to build relationships and foster brand loyalty through social interactions. Unlike generic ecommerce stores, social commerce is deeply personalized and interactive.
Key Social Commerce Trends Driving Innovation and Growth
Here are some of the key innovations propelling the growth of social commerce:
Live shopping on social media took off in China and is now gaining popularity in the west. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are ramping up live shopping features. Brands host live video streams where viewers can browse and buy products in real-time without leaving the app.
The interactive nature of live shopping helps brands offer personalized advice and recommendations to viewers. It’s an engaging way for brands to showcase products and drive impulse purchases. Live shopping encourages social interactions and makes followers feel part of an exclusive shopping experience.
In 2023, more brands are expected to embrace live shopping. Features like shoppable live streams, AR try-ons and influencer collaborations can boost conversion rates. Personalized shoutouts and real-time discounts make the experience highly engaging for viewers.
Social customer relationship management (CRM) will gain significance as brands optimize their social commerce strategy. Social CRM tools allow brands to track customer journeys across social channels. Data is aggregated into unified customer profiles which offer insights into buying patterns and preferences.
By leveraging CRM analytics, brands can identify high-value customers and personalize shopping recommendations for them. Customer support and engagement also improves with a CRM strategy. From social listening to unified inboxes and auto responses, CRM tools streamline community engagement.
As social platforms grow bigger in 2023, having a CRM strategy will be crucial for brands. It improves targeting, helps resolve issues faster and provides valuable data to improve products.
Influencer marketing has emerged as a tried and tested social commerce strategy for brands. Partnering with influencers allows brands to leverage their follower base and improve brand awareness. According to a recent study,influencer marketing delivers $7.65 in revenue for every $1 spent.
Micro and nano-influencers are gaining popularity as they boast higher engagement rates and offer granular targeting. Their followers also see them as more authentic and trust recommendations more. Brands are moving beyond vanilla product placements by collaborators. Instead we now see influencers co-create products, curate branded shops and integrate affiliate links.
2022 saw a rise of new platforms which allow brands to discover and partner with influencers at scale. In 2023, brands working with creators across social platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram will drive higher ROI from influencer campaigns.
Social Commerce Tools
Dedicated tools for managing social commerce are growing more popular. These tools help brands manage products, orders, inventory and data in one place across multiple social channels.
For example, tools like Shopify help run branded stores on social platforms. Others like Okendo provide Instagram shopping capabilities like cart flows and product stickers. Brands will increasingly invest in such tools for a streamlined social commerce strategy.
Advanced analytics offered by these tools provide valuable insights into customer journeys and conversion funnels. Automated solutions for customer support and order management also help serve shoppers better. As social commerce grows, robust tools and analytics will be key for success.
Hyperlocal Social Commerce
Earlier social commerce was focused on reach and targeting broader demographics. But we’re seeing a shift towards more localized, hyperlocal commerce on social platforms. Nextdoor launched a partnership with Shopify which allows brands to create storefronts and connect with customers. Facebook and Instagram are ramping up their local commerce options.
Hyperlocal social commerce allows brands to engage communities surrounding their physical stores. Shoppable posts can drive foot traffic to nearby outlets or order pickups. User-generated content like local reviews and photos make the experience more immersive.
In 2023, brands need to expand their social commerce strategy to tap into hyperlocal demand. They can engage local customers, drive in-store sales and boost brand perception.
Social Shopping Features
Social platforms are launching new features to smoothen shopping journeys for users. For instance, Instagram has launched product stickers in Stories and live shows. Pinterest has an updated Lens tool which enables visual search. Snapchat now allows shoppable AR lenses.
Such immersive and interactive features provide more touch points for social commerce. For users, they make shopping seamless without leaving the app. For brands, these features unlock new ways to engage users and drive sales.
In 2023, we expect platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Twitter to double down on social commerce features. As competition heats up, the platforms aim to make shopping experiences as frictionless as possible.
Sustainability and Social Impact
Today’s buyers care deeply about sustainability and ethical sourcing in their purchases. Brands that ignore these values stand to lose customer trust and loyalty. On social media, they also invite scrutiny in comments and replies over sustainable practices.
Leading brands are now making sustainability and social impact an integral part of their social commerce strategy. They are being transparent about their sourcing, operations and donations to worthy causes.
Brands who speak authentically about their environmental and social impact can boost engagement and sales. In 2023, social platforms may also launch features to highlight sustainable brands and products.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp are emerging as the next frontier of social commerce. Customers today prefer conversational commerce for personalized and convenient shopping.
WhatsApp already supports some integrations like product catalogs and cart flows. But new advances in NLP and chatbots can drive more immersive shopping experiences. Smart bots can provide personalized recommendations, order tracking and support on messaging apps.
Messaging commerce opens new opportunities to engage customers, especially in emerging markets. In 2023, we expect more advanced commerce capabilities to launch within popular messaging apps.
Social commerce is fast emerging as the future of digital shopping worldwide. As users spend more time on social platforms, commerce will grow exponentially on these channels. Brands need to pivot their strategy to ride this wave in 2023.
The trends covered in this article will shape social shopping over the next year. From live streams to microinfluencers and sustainability, these factors will drive business growth. Adopting an integrated social commerce strategy is vital for brands today. Done right, it can unlock amazing value and outreach to modern consumers.
Social media platforms are also doubling down on shopping features to offer seamless experiences. Convenience, personalization and mobile-first will be the hallmarks of future social commerce. As technology and consumer behavior evolves, brands need to stay ahead of the curve this year. The opportunities for innovation and growth are limitless.
For brands that need help managing their social media presence, partnering with a social media management service can provide strategy, content creation, community engagement, and data-driven insights. With social commerce becoming increasingly competitive, having an experienced partner will be key.