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Community and Support Are the Backbones of Social Commerce

Ecommerce exploded in 2020, with U.S. consumers spending $861 billion with online retailers, a 44% increase over the previous year. It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing, as U.S. ecommerce sales in the first quarter of 2021 saw a 39% increase over the first quarter of 2020.

Playing a key role in that growth is social commerce (the selling of products and services directly through social media). It’s projected to account for $36 billion in U.S. sales this year, which is a whopping 35% jump over 2020 — and those numbers are expected to keep soaring. While social media was once considered a place for consumers to window shop, social networks have had more success enticing their users to make purchases directly from their platforms. Swipe-up links on Instagram, for example, are a great way for influencers to quickly send followers to retailers to purchase products without even leaving the platform. 

Facebook launched its earliest version of Marketplace in 2006, but it wasn’t until Instagram and Pinterest leaned into creating social commerce experiences that social shopping took off. While brands like Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok are all offering greater opportunities for shoppers, Instagram in particular has become synonymous with influencer marketing, where key opinion leaders curate and nurture a community. They then earn revenue by posting ads for products and services that authentically appeal to their audience.

Ecommerce was boosted by personalized online ads that meant users are served ads that mirror their search history. The ease of purchasing products without leaving social platforms (think swipe-up links) is resulting in a huge increase in sales. Why leave the comfort of your home when you can make a purchase with one simple click? To that end, Pinterest recently unveiled a new Shopping List feature that saves Products Pins in one place when you’re ready to buy. Even Facebook’s Marketplace is seeing an expansion, as the company focuses on ecommerce as one of its three main areas of focus.

Additionally, these new tools have streamlined the influencer experience to better tap into their communities and sell. But with growth comes a number of questions:

  • Can buyers trust what influencers are selling?
  • Is there a genuine authenticity between the influencer/follower connection that’s spurring this social commerce boom?
  • How valuable are reviews/testimonials prior to purchase?

This is where the right support tools and services come in, both before and after the purchase, in the form of proper social community management and customer support.

  • Community managers who work with influencers must be responsive to followers and quick to reply to product questions. Using an omnichannel help desk like Gorgias helps you see activity where your brand is mentioned and can help ensure you’re there to support any potential customers considering buying. The ability to bridge the gap between social commerce and customer support is now seamlessly integrated into every social platform. A helpdesk like Gorgias ensures that nothing is missed as far as your brand and potential sales go.
  • Engagement services through ModSquad offer personalized support to customers and influencers, increasing the likelihood of a purchase. With the marrying of social community and commerce, an experienced service provider like ModSquad can help support community development, engagement, and the effectiveness of your social commerce efforts.

The customer journey is not the same as it was even five years ago. The constant need to evolve ecommerce and customer service is how brands and influencers will continue to make money. Utilizing the tools at their disposal, both from the social platforms they inhabit and from third-party providers, will continue to simplify the journey, making it potentially more rewarding for all involved.

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