Social Commerce: The Shoppable Format To Watch

Currently only one in 10 US consumers have purchased from a live stream, this is set to jump to one in four within six years predicts Accenture.

There's a new consumer in town and brands should pay attention.

Before, brands have relied on major ad campaigns and bricks and mortar stores to drive revenue. Nowadays, with an increasingly social media savvy consumer, brands are having to refocus their content marketing efforts online.

There is no denying that the pandemic has created a brand new customer who is hungry for a seamless, personalised and above all entertaining way to shop. Fashion and beauty enthusiasts are jumping online to discover the hottest styles from the latest drops, to share countless tutorials and reviews and looking towards influencers to make purchase decisions. This is not only via social, new data indicates that after Amazon, customers are making the most online purchases via a retailers site or app (Gartner, 2021) .

Graph showing purchase sources for US consumers

Consumers are looking for the ultimate onsite experience to drive confident purchases. Could the answer lie within the social eCommerce?

eCommerce sites have become the most crucial part of the purchase eCosystem

Beauty companies themselves are investing heavily in the integration of social commerce within their eCommerce strategies. Many brands have spent over 50 per cent of their digital budgets on short videos, shoppable technology  and live stream shopping content this year, says Audrey Depraeter-Montacel, global beauty lead at Accenture.

“Big corporations such as L’Oreal, Shiseido and Estee Lauder Companies are all investing heavily in content production hubs because social commerce is driven by content. You need to produce a lot of short videos across different channels and you need to renew it quickly.” High quality content can drive conversion of up to 40 per cent, she adds.

Live stream shopping has helped to provide a solution for the renewable demand on eCommerce. Streams can be set up on a routine basis and do not require the production costs of creating large scale, edited video campaigns. Content is created instantly in real time and can even be streamed from a mobile phone. Viewers just watch and click to shop directly from the stream.

But why does social commerce have such a resounding impact on consumers?

The beauty of this shoppable format is that brands can get as creative and as sociable with their viewers as they want. Brands can connect with viewers by giving exclusive behind the scenes access to the latest drops, style guides, designer stories, exclusive discounts and even influencers via Q and A's in the comments.

This highly personal and customer focussed approach creates a community of consumers who can confidently put their trust into the brand. Daniel Martin, global director of artistry and education at Tatcha explains “Today, many brands use the word ‘community’ to describe what is, in reality, customers. Community is not about a purchase or an add to cart. Community is about a common purpose, belief, or goal. If you start with the community, the commerce will come organically.”

Samsung Live shopping example

Experts say that trustworthiness, authenticity and interactivity are the trends that will drive modern social media and as a result, social commerce. Noor Agha, the founder and chief executive of Flip says  “There’s nothing honest on the internet anymore, and it’s impossible to know what is a good or bad product”. Live stream shopping boasts authenticity. When you are streaming your product in real-time, there really is no where to hide. Consumers can see a 360 view of what they want to buy, clicking to bring up more information and adding items straight to their bag. The core value is that this brings the benefits of in-person shopping online to drive an informed, confident purchase.

Sure, brands can engage with customers on social media, but this is still limited. Social eCommerce breaks down the barrier between buyer and seller by creating a personal and friendly environment. The process is no longer just a transaction, but a relationship.