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What is social shopping and why will it be a success?

What is social shopping and why will it be a success?

For a long time, the standard advice for brands and companies on social media is “don’t sell”, and even when you read about how to sell your products on social media, you will see that the focus is usually on everything other than the product itself. Social shopping is now changing the rules for social media advertising, so we are going to look at what it is, how it works, and why it’ll be the next big thing in e-commerce.

What is social shopping?

Social shopping is a new term that describes a process where social network users can purchase products that appear in their feeds and channels without interrupting their browsing experience.

Before social shopping, a company could place an ad on a social network, and anyone who wanted to purchase their product would need to click the ad, visit a landing page on the company website, and proceed through a purchasing funnel. Once their purchase was complete, they could resume browsing their social network.

The key difference with social shopping is that the user can now make a purchase without ever leaving their social network feed.

Which networks provide social shopping?

Social shopping is being introduced into a number of social networks, and will increasingly become more common during 2016. Currently, Pinterest is leading the way, but Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all toying with social shopping solutions. Here is what they look like:

Pinterest “Buy it” button


Image source: https://about.pinterest.com/sites/about/files/web-buy-it-portal-tile-2x.jpg


Facebook “Buy” button


image source: http://static.businessinsider.com/image/53c808bd6da8113e69037e14/image.jpg


Twitter “Buy” Button

image source: https://g.twimg.com/blog/blog/image/BuyNow_FINAL_IMAGE.jpg

image source: https://g.twimg.com/blog/blog/image/BuyNow_FINAL_IMAGE.jpg


Why will it be a success?

Think about how you (and most people you know) use social media. Are you sitting at your desk, Facebook or Twitter open on a web-browser? Not likely. Most social network usage occurs through an app using a tablet or smartphone.

For example: You are on your smartphone, and you see a product that you want in your social network app, you can click it. From here, many possible things can happen.

The social network app can load up their in-app browser and send you to the (hopefully) mobile friendly landing page. However, even the mobile friendly site may not work too well.

Alternatively, if there is no in-app browser, your social media app disappears, and your smartphone browser loads up, going through the various marketing redirects till you land on the (again, hopefully, mobile friendly) landing page.

By now you are likely a little annoyed that you have lost your social network screen. On top of that, you are faced with a landing page and a funnel process where you just know there’s going to be a huge form to fill out on your tiny screen and keypad.

At this point, chances are you would have given up on the purchase, or saved it for later, but will potentially never get around to it.

When you purchase through a social network directly, many of these problems get solved.

  • The app gives you a consistent, usable experience
  • There is no redirecting or waiting for another page to load
  • Your social network is likely to have your details, reducing the need to fill in forms
  • You do not lose your place, or get disconnected from what you were doing

Social shopping is still evolving, and we will see many changes that will further facilitate simple and secure purchases through social networks this year.

If you are a retailer and have only considered social media as a branding exercise, now is the time to rethink your strategy.

What do you think about the growing Social Shopping trend? Let me know or tweet me @nathan5ri.Try our AdWords Audit.