Social media is becoming increasingly popular as an ecommerce channel, as more and more people turn to it to browse for new products. With an estimated industry revenue to hit $492 billion by 2025, it’s quickly becoming the hottest ecommerce channel and a really effective sales tool for merchants.
What Is Social selling?
Social selling, or also known as ‘Social Commerce’ is the combination of e-commerce and social media. Merchants can engage with users through social media platforms as channels to sell their products and drive an improved user experience across a variety of markets. In some shape or form merchants will be engaging in social media if they sell online, but the question is whether they’re really maximizing this channel to its fullest potential?
According to Statista, there were 80 million social buyers in the U.S. in 2020, which equaled a 30% increase over 2019. This is a buyer trend that continued to grow but its growth was accelerated by the pandemic over the last 2 years..
A recent study by Accenture found that the $492 billion global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional ecommerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025. Growth is predicted to be driven primarily by Gen Z and Millennial social media users, accounting for 62% of global social commerce spend by 2025.
Accenture’s report found that by 2025 the highest number of social commerce purchases globally are expected in clothing (18% of all social commerce by 2025), consumer electronics (13%) and home décor (7%). Fresh food and snack items also represent a large product category (13%) although sales are nearly exclusive to China.
Beauty and personal care, although smaller in terms of total social commerce sales, is predicted to quickly gain ground on eCommerce and capture over 40% of digital spend on average for this category in key markets by 2025.
Among the study’s other findings:
- Consumers in developing countries are more likely to use social commerce and do so often. Eight out of ten social media users in China use social commerce to make purchases for a given category, while the majority of social media users in the U.K. and U.S. have yet to make a purchase via social commerce.
- Shoppers in China, India, and Brazil care more about features that help them discover and evaluate potential purchases while those in the U.K. and U.S. place more importance on pricing and discounts.
- Brand familiarity is more important to older generations than younger generations. Older shoppers emphasize security features and value brand familiarity while younger generations are attracted to buyer experience and put more faith in buyer reviews.
How can you use social media to drive international ecommerce?
Considering the growth forecast for social commerce and the growing use of social media, any business involved in e-commerce has the potential to benefit.
While it is important to ensure that your social commerce strategy is tailored to your brand and the markets you choose to sell into. Those include user-generated content, adopting localization and adding consumer calls to action to your posts.
Choosing The Most Suitable Platform
Another major consideration is your choice of platform. Facebook for example, is currently the largest social media platform in the U.S., UK and EU, which is why your organization should consider it as a contender for your social ecommerce driver. The network has been forecast to attract more than 60 million buyers in 2022.
Instagram has been associated with influencer culture for years. Despite attracting fewer users overall compared to Facebook, if influencer marketing raises awareness for your brand, Instagram needs to be on your list of chosen platforms for social commerce.
The platform offers several tools to facilitate your sales. For years, brands have been encouraging potential customers to visit their biography for a link to their store. This has been an effective strategy to enable sales, but more recently, Instagram took things further by launching Instagram Checkout to make purchases easier. Since 2020, the social network has had a shop tab. This allows users to see and purchase in one single click products advertised by people, influencers for brands they follow.
Selling across social media provides an unparalleled tool to find buyers for your products. However, merchants need to start looking in international markets as domestic markets become more saturated and increasingly more difficult to compete.
As an example, Facebook Ads have access to over 2 billion users globally and provides an effective platform for international sales scaling whilst providing more cost effective advertising when compared to other traditional channels.
The Next Step
Social media marketing and social commerce are important pillars of your e-commerce strategy this year.
As you are preparing posts and shopping messages for each quarter, remember that the success of social media is built upon creating connections between people. Conversion into sales is an important measure of success, but considering engagement through sharing, commenting and generally interacting with posts is equally valuable criteria.
Pay close attention to meeting the expectations of your visitors. When selling internationally, it’s important to build your ads to relevant audiences as local culture can influence buyers more than merchants may realise. By understanding each individual market and building ads campaigns to tailor into those markets rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, merchants can really connect with their audiences on a deeper level, driving higher engagement and overall conversion.
Online retail and e-commerce are permanently evolving. While online shopping statistics have grown across the board, partially accelerated by the pandemic, there’s a declining trend in brand loyalty with younger buyers. Social media enables merchants to push their products in front of more buyers that are open to new brand purchases, rather than the same products and helps create new & fruitful customer relationships.
Investing in international social commerce allows your business to increase sales and connect directly to customers. It is an excellent way to boost revenue and build long-term consumer relationships, all around the world.
What other trends are important to focus on this year?
Whilst it’s certain social selling is one of the most impactful trends for ecommerce merchants for 2022, let’s take a look at some other trends that are important to be aware of.
1. More payment methods
Customers are becoming more resilient to specific payment systems and are calling out to be able to use their preferred payment method during the checkout process. Businesses that diversify their payment technology are more likely to build trust, reduce cart abandonment, and encourage shoppers to spend more.
When selling internationally, it’s important to learn which are the locally preferred methods of payment, and ensure you can integrate this into your checkout process.
2. Personalised buyer experiences
Personalisation is fast becoming an important buyer trend that merchants cannot simply ignore. By providing a deeper level of personalization, businesses will be able to cater to shoppers based on where they are in the customer journey, giving each visitor individual attention that encourages them to move down the funnel.
Creating a personalized shopping experience is the key to satisfying customers. Shoppers often want help to find the right products and value a more personalized experience that caters to their needs. Ecommerce sites that get onboard with this trend are investing in technology to send personalized pop-ups, localized prices, sizes, language support, currencies and relevant marketing offers to deliver a better shopping experience and strengthen that bond with their customers.
Omnichannel will continue to expand in 2022. Today’s shoppers value convenience above all else. An omnichannel approach provides that convenience by creating a seamless experience, whether customers are shopping on a desktop, browsing for items on a smartphone, or picking up items via click and collect services in a physical store.
Investing in creating a personalized and localized shopping experience for your buyers is one of the most short term but high impactful changes to make to a webstore to drive higher conversion rates.
3. Supply chain & Shipping disruptions
Unfortunately due to the rises and falls, and new strain variants discoveries, there’s a high chance that supply chains and global shipping may face disruptions.
Due to the increased strain thanks to customs blockage from Brexit and EU regulation changes creating a significant bottleneck, but also environmental issues such as the pandemic and the suez canal incident, there was a significant impact to shipping that even continues to ripple further into 2022.
Merchants need to plan for any potential further disruptions this year to ensure customers do not suffer from delays. Last year was a very frustrating time, as customer’s expectations continually move towards next day delivery and imbued efficiency to processes, which is threatened by weeks-to-months of backlogged packages at customs.
Launch your Social Ads internationally
We manage every step in the global ecommerce process from discovering international markets and international buyers for your products through International Ads across Facebook & Shopping Ads, full Ads & webstore localization, tax & duty calculation, through to customs documentation and shipping label generation and returns.
We can help you to launch globally with Facebook & Shopping ads:
- Identify top international markets for your products
- Fully localize & launch Facebook & Shopping Ads into your chosen markets
- The solution localises the product feeds into over 25 currencies, providing buyers with the same local experience they’d expect.
- Glopal’s guaranteed total landed cost reduces international delivery times and includes all customs duty and tax. Glopal's ‘Delivery Duty Paid’ solution integrates seamlessly with your existing checkout.
- Glopal’s international shipping creates a seamless and simple process, enabling merchants to ship their products overseas at a cost effective & competitive rate, whilst also providing a streamlined, hassle-free returns option.
To discover how you can get the most out of 2022 and grow your international sales across the Facebook & Instagram platform and Google’s Shopping Ads, book a demo with one of our ecommerce experts and they’ll identify which international markets have the highest potential for your store and it’s products, across different channels.