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Consumers utilize social media for a variety of reasons, including searching for entertaining content, staying up to date on current events, sharing photos and videos of their life, or staying in touch with friends. Now, with features like Facebook and Instagram Shops and shoppable pins on Pinterest, consumers have yet another reason to use their social media platforms – to find and purchase products. With people spending an average of 145 minutes per day on social media, it makes sense why numerous social platforms are adding shopping features. But what is social shopping and do people really make purchases on social media? In this blog post, we will break down social shopping, the platforms that offer it, and help you determine which option is right for your brand.

What is Social Shopping?

With traditional social media marketing, companies would use content to drive traffic from their social channels to their websites to make a purchase. Now, with social shopping, also known as social commerce, brands can sell products directly within their social media channels, streamlining the process and removing any extra steps or road blocks from the customer’s purchasing journey. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, consumers turned to online shopping to make purchases from the safety of their own homes. As countless businesses struggled to keep up with the boom of online shopping, many social media platforms began launching tools to simplify the buying process and allow businesses to sell items directly from their social pages. Thus, the social shopping movement was born.

Are Consumers Actually Shopping on Social Media?

With social shopping being such a new marketing trend, it’s normal to wonder if consumers are actually purchasing on social media – and the answer is yes! According to Statista, 48% of internet users between the ages of 18-34 have made a purchase through social media. That number will rise as shopping on social platforms continues to gain popularity. Revenue from social commerce is projected to reach $84.2 billion in the United States by 2024 and will make up 7.8% of all retail ecommerce sales. It’s safe to say that as social media’s influence continues to grow, so will social shopping.

What Platforms Offer Shopping Features?

Facebook

Shopping on Facebook is nothing new. In 2016, the social media giant launched Facebook Marketplace, allowing users to buy products from nearby sellers. Marketplace quickly gained popularity, competing with websites like Craigslist and encouraging the platform to expand on its shopping capabilities. Fast forward to May 2020, when Facebook announced its newest shopping model, Facebook Shops. This social commerce feature allows business pages to create a free online store within the social platform, encouraging customers to browse products from the brand’s Facebook Business Page and purchase directly from a Facebook checkout page.

Instagram

To go along with the Facebook Shops update, Instagram Shopping was launched in May 2020 and allows users to purchase directly on the app through an immersive, full screen storefront. Businesses and creators can list their products directly on Instagram free of charge. Customers can then browse products from the businesses’ posts or stories and make purchases seamlessly though the in-app checkout page. Instagram Shopping has quickly become one of the more popular social shopping experiences due to the platform’s photo focused design.

Pinterest

Pinterest has always acted as a source of visual inspiration for its users. Whether consumers are looking for the perfect wedding dress or home décor ideas, Pinterest is their go-to platform. Now, users can easily purchase the items they find on Pinterest using Product Pins. These pins are formatted to let Pinterest users know that they are shoppable by featuring pricing info, availability, product title and a description. Businesses can also create a Shop by featuring their shoppable products on their profile.

Snapchat

Snapchat offers a couple different options for those looking to utilize their shopping features. Businesses can create a Product Catalog with products available on their website. From there, they can create Product Catalog Ads in the form of stories, single images, videos, or a collection of ads which allow users to purchase these products within the Snapchat app. Another option for businesses is Snapchat Brand Profiles, which allows businesses to create a storefront where Snapchat users can browse and purchase products within the app. Brand Profiles are currently only available to limited approved influencer accounts, but are expected to become more widely available later this year.

TikTok

TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms. As TikTok’s audience continues to expand, so do the app’s capabilities. In October 2020, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify to create an in-app shopping feature for their advertisers. Now, brands can connect their Shopify storefronts to their TikTok accounts to create in-feed, shoppable video ads for TikTok users. This partnership aims to connect Shopify’s over 1 million merchants to TikTok’s younger audience to drive sales.

What Platform Should You Sell On?

When determining which social shopping platform to sell on, it’s important to look at the demographics of your customers and compare them to the demographics of the social channels. If you find that your customers range in age and demographics, you may want to try selling on Facebook. Or, if you find that women make up a majority of your customers, you may want to sell on Pinterest. Additionally, it’s a good idea to start using the shopping feature on platforms where you already have a following. If you see a lot of engagement on your business’s Instagram, that may be a good place to sell. The key is to find out which social media sites your audience is spending the most time on and list your products there.

Social channels are changing the way people shop. With social shopping, ecommerce no longer happens only on websites. Companies are now responsible for creating an omnichannel shopping experience for their customers, driving sales on every platform. Have questions about social shopping and how to implement shopping features for your business? Contact us today! Amplified Digital’s team of marketing experts is happy to help.