Total Retail

New Social Commerce Tools Can Boost Businesses This Holiday Season

A breadth of new social commerce tools and features will make shopping online this holiday season look very different from years past. Throughout the past year, e-commerce has seen an enormous boom fueled by physical retail limitations and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, businesses have sought innovative ways to connect with customers through online experiences, and the growth of social commerce has played a key role in facilitating those efforts.

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Major social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, are pushing new features to facilitate commerce directly within their platforms. For businesses to get the most out of their social media presence, they should be familiar with how each of these new tools, from integrated shopping posts to live shopping, can help grow their business this holiday season.

Take Advantage of Social Commerce

Social commerce provides some significant advantages compared to other methods of online retailing. For example, social media allows businesses to test how consumers will react to certain products or campaigns before having to spend a single dollar on ads.

We can observe the successful use of social commerce in action by looking at Facebook’s ecosystem. Facebook Shops allows businesses to set up stores within both Facebook and Instagram. By following this route, companies can avoid redirecting consumers towards other websites, which can often distract or dissuade potential customers from completing their purchases. The seamless social commerce process provides consumers with a complete shopping experience integrated into their existing social media activities. This makes for a shopping experience that's both easier and more personal for consumers, leading to increased sales.

Social commerce makes the online shopping process easier for consumers and provides businesses with deeper insights into customer behavior. Analyzing engagement metrics allows businesses to understand what messages resonate with consumers, their customer demographics, and how shoppers react to different prices and promotions. Success this holiday season will depend on how well businesses take advantage of this process and new commerce tools when executing their campaigns.

New Social Commerce Features and Strategies Making a Difference

This year, several platforms have focused on enhancing and launching integrated shopping experiences, including:

  • Instagram Drops allow sellers to release limited quantities of products for a specific period of time, resulting in a greater demand for the product. By taking advantage of this feature, businesses can generate buzz around new products and upcoming launches.
  • Twitter Shop Module, which is currently being piloted in the U.S., provides businesses with the ability to link to products in their profile. Users can then shop directly from the app, contributing to a seamless experience.
  • Shopify and Facebook integration gives businesses the ability to manage their Facebook and Instagram stores all in one place. Not only does this integration with Shopify make it easier for sellers to engage with customers, it also makes it easier for businesses to manage and track their product inventory in one location.
  • TikTok Shoppable Ads were introduced last year, and the platform is moving forward with a feature that allows brands to upload product catalogs. With TikTok being the fastest-growing social platform this year, businesses should stay on top of any new ad or in-app shopping features the platform introduces.
  • Pinterest Shopping Lists let users save their Product Pins onto a shopping list that allows potential customers to easily find products they’re interested in. Pinterest will even send out notifications to remind users about items they've saved.

Livestream Shopping is Changing the Game

There has also been a boom in the live shopping market this past year. Apps like Popshop Live and new additions to existing platforms, like Facebook Live Shopping, provide businesses with new, more personal ways to interact with customers.

Livestream shopping allows businesses to connect with consumers and highlight products in a manner that can’t be accomplished through conventional online retail. Sellers can answer direct questions from viewers, demonstrate products in use, and sell their merchandise on the spot. More importantly, live shopping provides an opportunity for consumers to get to know the faces behind some products they're interested in, which, in turn, allows businesses to generate a deeper connection with their customers.

Social commerce continues to create new ways for businesses to connect with customers. As we near the holiday season, the most successful businesses will be those that learn to take advantage of new features on a variety of platforms.

Businesses must utilize social commerce as an opportunity to merge the shopping experience with their existing brand experience. With integrated and live shopping, businesses can make purchases convenient for those looking to buy without making it intrusive for those who don’t, leading to higher sales during the holidays.

Thibaud Clement is the CEO and co-founder of Loomly, a brand success platform that empowers marketing teams to grow successful brands online through collaboration, publishing and analytics features.