Social commerce is the process of selling products directly on social media. Shoppable lives is a catch-all term for live experiences on social media where viewers can buy directly whilst they watch.

Did you know Yahoo created the term ‘social commerce’ in 2005? Whilst the term may not be new, the increase in social media usage during lockdown is here to stay, accelerating the social commerce boom that’s coming.

With social commerce currently a $89.4 billion industry and projected to grow to
$604.5 billion in the next seven years, social commerce capabilities are game-changing for brands. 

That’s why, following Instagram’s inaugural Creator Week and Clarks Shoes’ first-ever live instagram shopping event, BDB sat down with Ike Okolie, Partner Solutions Manager EMEA at Instagram; Elise Hamer, Senior Global PR Manager at Clarks Shoes, and BDB’s co-founder and CSO Thomas Walters to chat all things social commerce in our latest webinar. 

Key takeaways:

Utilise Instagram’s suite of tools

During the pandemic, Instagram noticed more brands pivoting to mobile commerce and anticipated that one in two sales would come from mobile commerce. 

Therefore, Instagram put a marker in the ground for this, launching a range of new products focused on helping brands and influencer monetise. This includes the rollout of Instagram’s Affiliate tool, which gives creators a way to monetise their posts, and Creator Shops, giving creators a space where they can build their brand on Instagram. There is also the ability to connect your shop to a separate profile, providing more reach and awareness for your brand.

The Creator Studio is picking up pace in the US and enhances the shopping experience by making purchases simple, convenient and secure. Users no longer have to navigate to the browser when they want to buy. Instagram even has product launch reminders to help build anticipation.

However, brands outside of the US can look at the shopping functionalities in Reels and IGTV, and ways to showcase your store – like building out collections on your storefront to resemble your e-commerce site.

It’s time to embrace Instagram Live shopping events

With brands challenged to take a more digital-first approach during the pandemic, live shopping offers the opportunity to connect with consumers by showcasing products, and educating and interacting with your audience.

This is why Clarks Shoes decided to host a live shopping event, working alongside creator Nià Pettit (@niathelight), where in just 10 minutes users could view and click on the shoes shown by Nia and purchase without leaving the app. 

As social commerce continues to grow in popularity, brands need to create shoppable moments that intrigue and inspire followers. They should look towards live shopping campaigns, be those branded events or integration into a creator’s proprietary Live.

Brands could even host these in-store, helping bridge the gap between online and offline shopping experiences. 

Team up with influencers

People want connection online and to be convinced a product is good so utilising influencers on social through these shopping functions and then allowing users to purchase in-app is a huge game-changer for brands. 

Influencers fronting social commerce addresses the confidence curve by communicating efficient product fulfillment and a smooth return, reducing the average 50% abandoned basket figure.

Additionally, 45% say they’ve bought something promoted by someone they follow on social media but don’t know personally. 50% say they would purchase from a live stream. Adding all of these levels to your strategy will reduce the friction to purchase, which is crucial to delivering sales. Instagram’s new features just accelerate the progression towards this social commerce era.

Build a narrative

Utilising the tools to build a strong narrative whether around a release, cultural moment or anniversary to resonate with your community is the best way to power social commerce forward.

Think beyond social commerce ‘moments’

Brands should move beyond ‘moments’ and be thinking long-term. Take Gymshark, for example, which is now a $1.5bn company because it believed in the strategy and committed from the very beginning. Most brands still aren’t taking it seriously and need to accelerate if they want to compete. Many brands are disrupting the market by acting quicker to the change than the incumbents.

For more social commerce insights, watch the full replay below:

Tips for live shopping events

Think of it like you’re putting on a live show. Make sure you involve the team right from the start to help navigate the different capabilities of your brand’s website and what products are available in the markets you are trying to reach. Regular touch bases in the leadup and rehearsals help make sure the live event goes smoothly. Don’t forget about the lighting, the studio and what the setup will look like in advance, too.

If you want more tips and tricks on how to host an effective live shopping event, email [email protected] to receive our ‘Dummies Guide to Live Shopping’ handbook.

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