Social media networks have become a place not only to share brand content but also a powerful tool to test and grow social shopping thanks to mobile technology. Today we share some key insights on social shopping and relevant key figures.

Developing a social shopping strategy is currently on the rise. Social media apps and platforms had been active participants in the growth of e-commerce sites, in addition to driving sales to brands. Interaction through this channel has allowed retailers to increase their online digital presence and, at the same time, create attractive content to inform, entertain, and persuade the customer base.  


The ultimate goal when a brand builds a strong social media presence is to have an influenced group of consumers who search and explore the brand’s channel,to then convert them into active buying customers by enabling online purchasing.


With higher engagement, customer loyalty increases. It is widely known that customers nowadays collect information from retailers online, and according to their findings, they continue to shop or desist from it. 


“74 percent of consumers say that they are now more influenced to shop via social media than they were before the pandemic, and 70 percent cite clothing as one of the product categories they shop for most on social media”, according to BOF & McKinsey’ findings in the report The State of Fashion 2022.


Social media companies such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snap Inc. are investing notoriously in shopping features and testing new functionalities to help brands market their products the best way possible. 


The annual sales through social media shopping in the US alone are expected to grow 53% from last year’s $37B to $57B in 2023. By 2027, worldwide social commerce sales are set to reach over $600B by the previous report.  


People use social media channels to feel connected, even inspired, but also to stay informed, and feel confident when buying a product or benchmark a brand. Classical marketing perspective applies here; family, friends, job peers, and communities are still immediate groups of reference to ask for an opinion or a product recommendation. Social media’s word of mouth has increased its reach through active influencer personalities with massive followers willing to listen. 


Social Media Shopping: From Social Experience to Purchasing Behavior


The types of social commerce, provided by a brand, an influencer, or individuals, can be divided into three main categories, according to the Accenture Research report The Social Commerce Revolution: first, content-driven, for example, by in-app store or virtual catalog, shoppable post, or mini-programs; second, Experience-driven, for example, by gamification apps, AR shopping, or live-streaming (extremely popular in Asia); third, Network-driven, for example, by second-hand marketplaces, personal referrals, group buy, social shopkeeper. 


In China, apps like WeChat are offering users more functions than just messaging. To increase their relevance, the social-media biggest players Douyin, and Xiaohongshu have boosted their e-commerce capabilities.


Social shoppers compared to regular e-commerce shoppers, often do not have product research or a shopping list in mind when they log on to their social media apps. According to GWI’s 2022 Commerce Report, impulsive social shoppers want the checkout process to be quick and easy, and the option to pay in the way that best suits them is shortening the sales funnel. 


The report identifies the purchasing behavior of those who browse and buy on social platforms. “Financial drivers like free delivery and discounts are most persuasive among older consumers, whereas Gen Z places above-average value in next-day delivery and a product having lots of ‘likes’ or good comments on social media”. 


Livestream viewers are a “highly influential group and a great source of earned media. They buy products to participate in online communities, spread the word to peers, and share branded posts on social media much more than the average”, the research highlighted.


Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn are great allies for social shopping. According to Shopify, 85% of orders from social media channels originate from Facebook. In addition, KPMG consulting states that 30% of online customers have posted feedback online. Those numbers address the importance of a brand reputation strategy and transparency in feedback comments.


McKinsey & BOF research suggest for brands to “tailor their approach for existing mainstream social media while conducting A/B testing on emerging platforms to experiment with reaching specific customer segments”; this way, previous strategies can remain but also evolve organically. 


The effectiveness of social media shopping is just getting started. As the shoppable features grow, new avid social shoppers do as well. 


Some of the best keep-on-track strategies to follow on social media shopping are: shoppable content, either in-app or by steering customers back to their websites; augmented reality to enable users to virtually try on products; and live-streaming and shoppable online experiences, which will continue to be under the the spotlight this 2022.