Social commerce is likely to play a big part in the evolution of the metaverse and Web3 more generally. So what can brands do to stay ahead of the curve and ensure sales success in 2022 and beyond? Making Science's Lloyd Davies explains
The shift to internet retail, prompted by the pandemic, is showing little sign of abating with UK online spending set to reach £75 billion by 2024. But it is no longer enough for a brand to simply have a website; the internet itself is continuing to change rapidly and innovation is needed to keep up. Facebook’s pivot to the metaverse has signalled that the next phase of internet – and particularly social media – will blend socialising, shopping and gaming in an immersive virtual experience. The next step for savvy brands will be securing their place in this space.
While it might be a few years until we’re all hanging out in the virtual mall, social media companies have continued to innovate ecommerce, integrating retail experiences into their platforms. Tik Tok has partnered with Shopify, while Instagram added a retail section in the form of ‘Drops’. Spotify offers fans the opportunity to buy merchandise and physical releases from favourite artists, while YouTube announced its YouTube Shopping offering. With 89% of YouTube viewers agreeing that the platform’s creators give recommendations they can trust, the potential for social commerce on the platform should excite brands.
Social commerce is likely to play a big part in the evolution of the metaverse and Web3 more generally. So what can brands do to stay ahead of the curve and ensure sales success in 2022 and beyond?
Logging into social commerce
To stand out online, brands need to be unique. Social commerce is no different. Well executed social commerce plans help to increase brand awareness and visibility. With over half of new brand discoveries taking place on social feeds, and 30% of consumers saying that they would buy a product from a social media platform, standing out pays off.
Social commerce can also play a key role in creating a cohesive customer journey. The flexibility and customisation offered by platforms such as Facebook and Amazon allows brands to tailor their online storefronts to suit both their own brand identity and their customers.
With the loss of third-party cookies creeping ever closer, social commerce offers brands a privacy-secure way to gain insights on consumers. And in return, it provides an easy and familiar way for consumers to reach their favourite brands. With 35% of users abandoning their basket if they have to create a new account to check-out, a seamless experience can help push those customers over the line.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Social commerce can also help with gaining more engagement, driving traffic, achieving higher SEO and reaching a global audience. But in order to fully optimise a social commerce strategy, brands will need to test.
Test, test and test again
Social commerce – like the rest of social media – is a rapidly evolving space. Marketers need to be able to respond to changes in audience behaviours rapidly, and the only way to find out if their engagement strategy has been successful, is through A/B testing.
A/B testing is, essentially, an experiment. The aim is to trial two different versions of the same outreach campaign – an online shopfront or social media post, for example – and compare the engagement stats of each to determine which version is more effective. Each creative element, whether it be video format, copy or images, can then be assessed in real time, and brands can view which version best increases conversion rates. However, A/B campaigns must be assessed separately across different platforms – what works well on Tik Tok, for example, may not work as well on Facebook.
Successful retail businesses were able to survive and thrive during the turbulence of the past few years by becoming agile and building closer relationships to consumers. Though brick and mortar stores are once again open, shopping habits are likely to be forever changed.
Brands need to retain the skills they gained during the pandemic in order to thrive in the new retail environment that the dawn of Web3 will bring. Since the rebrand of Facebook to Meta, the metaverse is rapidly becoming reality. Though this will likely take many years to fully flourish, we’re already seeing interest from consumers in entering this new dimension – Nike, for example, revealed that over 7 million people had visited its virtual store in metaverse-adjacent game Roblox.
Brands need to keep their focus on testing as these new worlds emerge in order to keep up with both the emergence of exciting new technologies, and the customers keen to experience them.
Posted on: Friday 13 May 2022