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How social commerce could change the way we shop

As social media morphs into a direct sales tool, social commerce apps are offering innovative ways to reach customers.

The digital revolution saw shoppers abandon the cumbersome brick-and-mortar retail environment for the ease of online shopping. Now, as e-commerce evolves, social commerce is set to change the way we shop once again.


Indeed, online retailers have spent many a sleepless night coming up with ways to create seamless checkout processes that improve the customer experience while reducing shopping cart abandonment rates, but their best efforts seem to be falling flat.


According to research by the Baymard Institute, more than 68 per cent of online shoppers abandon their carts, with 27 per cent citing a complicated checkout process as cause for cancelling their transaction. However, the rise of social commerce is bypassing the traditional shopping cart altogether.


Popular social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest have all recently implemented a range of e-commerce features – such as ‘buy now’ options and social storefronts – that allow consumers to purchase products directly through their social accounts.


And it’s already taking off. The latest PayPal mCommerce Index revealed that one in 10 Australians have made a purchase via a social media platform in the past six months. The good news is that this new generation of digital tools is helping retailers cash in on the growing social commerce trend.


Turn tweets into transactions


Chirpify helps retailers monetise Twitter hashtags. Brands tweet out a special offer along with an image of the product, and followers reply with ‘#buy’ to purchase the item. As well as strengthening sales, it allows retailers to thank followers for social media activity that supports the brand. Reward points can even be delivered through Twitter-based loyalty programs.


Sell across social media


Ecwid makes it easy to add your e-commerce site to multiple social platforms and blog sites, such as Tumblr. All your stores are managed from one place, with any changes automatically rolled out across your retail portfolio. It also makes the transaction process easy. Customers simply drag and drop the product they like into their shopping bag for checkout.


Share photos to boost sales


Soldsie allows retailers to sell products by sharing images on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Simply upload a creative product shot with a supporting caption. Users then type ‘buy’ into the comments section to purchase the product.


Build social proof


Checkout Boost is a plug-in app for your Shopify store that helps you build social proof by encouraging your customers to tweet, share and comment on their purchases in exchange for rewards, such as free shipping or discounts. It works by displaying a pop-up message when a customer is about to reach checkout. The message offers a specified reward to share their cart on Facebook or Twitter.


Social commerce is transforming social media from a platform used to build brand engagement into a powerful sales mechanism. Online retailers should make full use of the digital tools at their disposal to properly embrace this emerging trend.