Social Commerce is a portmanteau of social media and e-commerce, the trending phenomenon that offers users the ability to checkout directly within the network they’re browsing at that point in time.
Why is social commerce getting so much attention? Take a look at the statistics from BigCommerce:
- 23 per cent of shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations.
- 51 per cent of millennials are likely to make a purchase over social media.
- 84 per cent of shoppers review at least one social media site before purchasing.
- There are 1.47 billion daily active users on Facebook alone.
- 60 per cent of Instagram users say they find new products on Instagram.
- 30 per cent of online shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
Nestled within social commerce is another rising trend: livestreaming e-commerce — or live selling — that allows brands, or any anyone for that matter, to create their own shopping television channel with little investment. Chinese internet celebrity Huang Wei aka “Viya” reportedly sold RMB30 billion (SGD6 billion) worth of products last year via livestreaming. Key players to watch in the region are Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Lazada and Shopee.
If you are embarking onto social commerce, consider the following tips in your strategy:
- Consumers are shunning blatant advertising and put more trust in the words of their peers. Engage more nano and micro-influencers to create a pervasive presence on the web.
- Video is king; if a picture paints a thousand words, a video paints a million. Pay attention to short-form videos. TikTok is making new waves in this sector.
- In this era of instant gratification, consumers are seeking immediate answers to their queries. Consider an automated chatbot strategy, whether for engagement or selling.
- Social shopping is about entertainment; your promotional content must be eye-catching, engaging and relevant to the target audience.
- Finally, in your interaction with the consumers, think of ways to encourage user-generated content and reviews — such word-of-mouth marketing is priceless.
The pandemic has hastened the inevitable rise of social commerce, and brands who want to stay relevant to consumers shopping in the new normal will ignore this trend at their peril. Let’s hear from industry experts and practitioners in this space –– Seung Pill (Gabriel) Kim, Senior Manager, E-Commerce Team, Amorepacific Malaysia; Koo Chee Cheng, Marketing Manager, Cason Group Malaysia; Mary Cris Go, Marketing Communications Specialist, Innisfree Philippines; Ng Chew Wee, Head of Business Marketing, Southeast Asia, TikTok; Ryan Choy, Head of Branding and Marketing, Tocco Toscano.
"Social selling may still be new here, but it will grow faster as time goes by."
"We believe social commerce will be the next popular sales channel for beauty brands to help customers make purchase decisions through beauty livestreaming or live chats that deliver authentic content. We've done several social live shows with KOLs on our social network platforms, and continue to train our counter sales force to improve their selling skills on digital platforms. Social selling may still be new here, but it will grow faster as time goes by."
"Social commerce should be done selectively and tastefully, and should not be a blanket strategy for all products."
"Cason Group used this 'new marketing tool' and realised that not all brands are suitable for this strategy. We see many brands compromise their persona and price points in order to see results in their 'live' sessions, which can be detrimental to the brand image in the long run. However, beauty brands under us are seeing conversions when we use the educational approach in social selling. For instance, we guide new users for our BeautyBlender Bounce on how to shade-match from home, given that no testers are available in retail at this time of social distancing. Overall, social commerce should be done selectively and tastefully, and should not be a blanket strategy for all products."
"Livestreaming is important to engage our audience, providing them with more information, instructions and promotions."
"Livestreaming is important to engage our audience, providing them with more information, instructions and promotions. During our Lazada launch, we tapped two influencers for the #Selfcarealways livestream on International Selfcare Day to talk about how to take care of your skin during the pandemic. We gave special vouchers and hosted a contest to keep the engagement. We've also launched the inniexpress chat and shop, where you can buy during the livestream and have the products delivered to your doorstep. This creates a direct dialogue between the consumer and the store expert. Special promotions during the live video are highly recommended."
"It's not just about 'like' or 'share', it's about 'join.'"
"The marketing reality is that consumers have shrinking attention spans and their time spent is even more scattered by multiple devices. They dislike online advertising and find it hard to engage. Social has not only changed how we communicate, but how we expect to be communicated with. It's no longer about passive viewing, but engaging with content and brands. It's not just about 'like' or 'share', it's about 'join'. Users are demanding authenticity in the content they consume. TikTok allows for that authenticity to shine through by providing creators with the tools to tell authentic stories, which in turn encourages engagement. People want to see 'flawsome' content because they believe that flaws can be awesome. The most successful commerce brands on TikTok provide authentic stories with avenues for engagement with their social audience. It's not just about selling to your audience anymore."
"We are constantly coming up with new ways to engage with our consumers."
"We are constantly coming up with new ways to engage with our consumers, such as bite-sized packing videos that show what our bags can fit, outfit suggestions and colour variations via our channels and most recently, Tiktok. We also launched #supportSGbrands, our initiative to support local businesses by featuring them on our channels for free where customers are directed to their websites. We are also launching Shop the Look to showcase entire looks put together by our team and influencers. Categorised by occasions such as heading to the office, going to the gym or just a night out for dinner, customers will have the option to purchase the entire look at a great deal or individually at a smaller discount."