Social commerce is increasingly popular with both shoppers and brands alike. The industry expected to bring in 3.37 billion in revenue by 2028 — a 28.4% surge over a seven-year period. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the trend, with sales increasing by almost 40% in 2020 alone.
What is social commerce, exactly, and how can DTC ecommerce brands leverage the trend to drive growth?
Here we will define social commerce, then take a look at the most popular social commerce trends for 2022.
What Is Social Commerce?
Social commerce represents the merging of social media and ecommerce.
Just a few years ago, consumers turned to social media only to “window shop.” Then, they would head to a brand’s website to complete a purchase. Now, social media tools allow consumers to make a purchase right within platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
This seamless in-app shopping experience gives social commerce its staying power. As social media platforms continue to evolve, consumers will find it easier than ever to make a purchase on their mobile device in just a few taps. Better yet, they can read other shopper’s comments, see customer photos and explore the feed to get a better sense of the lifestyle the brand promotes.
Social Commerce Trends for 2022
Social commerce has been around in some form since the invention of social media itself. But the shopping avenue has changed a lot over the years, and ecommerce brands can get ahead by adopting the latest trends.
Here are nine of the hottest trends in social commerce for 2022.
1. Digital Clothing
These days, DTC ecommerce brands can maximize profits and build brand awareness by diving into the digital clothing market. Unlike traditional ecommerce, this market doesn’t require manufacturers, warehouses or any investment in physical inventory. Instead, brands are creating digital outfits for avatars on Roblox, Instagram or the Metaverse. High-fashion brands like Prada and Gucci are jumping on board the trend, and plenty more will follow suit with the exponential rise of augmented reality (AR.)
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may sound abstract, but everyone from digital artists to celebrities are getting excited about the trend. Why? Because NFTs offer a way to claim ownership of digital assets — creating a world of untapped potential for online creators. Brands can capitalize on the trend by selling GIFs, videos, digital clothing or even music in an NFT marketplace.
3. Live Streaming
Live video streaming has played a key role in the rise of social commerce. From the early days of Facebook Live video to Alibaba’s Taobao Live, the industry hit $11 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $25 billion by 2023. Live streaming is particularly effective for apparel and fashion brands, offering conversion rates 10 times higher than that of conventional ecommerce. The technique also helps brands appeal to new audiences, with some companies reporting an increase of younger audiences by up to 20%.
4. Influencer Brands
Influencers have always been an integral part of social commerce, with almost 70% of larger companies working with influencers in 2021. But in the past few years, influencer marketing has reached new heights. Rather than simply promoting other brands, today’s mega-influencers are becoming their own brands, developing products and companies on their own. ecommerce brands can get a piece of the pie by partnering with influencers to build these brands, making it a win-win for both parties.
5. Buyable Pins
Much of the hype around social commerce surrounds platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. But other social media platforms have a meaningful impact on social commerce, too. In fact, Pinterest users spend more money per order than users on any other social platforms. And with 431 million monthly active users, Pinterest’s Buyable Pins feature gives brands an incredible opportunity to sell to Pinterest users without them ever needing to leave the platform.
6. Visual Storefronts
In 2020, Instagram introduced a new type of visual storefront that changed the game for brands using social commerce. Shops on Instagram offers an immersive, full screen shopping experience right within the Instagram app. Considering that 79% of Instagram’s users look for more information after seeing a product on the app, these visual storefronts allow brands to boost consumer engagement and conversions by simplifying the checkout process.
7. Video Content
Video has reigned as the most engaging form of social media content for several years now, and the popularity of TikTok has only solidified its place at the forefront of social commerce. Videos give consumers a better idea of how a product will look and feel in-person. So it makes sense that 85% of social media users want more videos from brands. DTC ecommerce brands can hop on the trend by creating shoppable videos on YouTube, Instagram Reels or TikTok.
8. Live Chat
More than 50% of shoppers say it’s important for them to easily reach customer service via their preferred channel. Similarly, 60% of shoppers believe a great customer service experience influences their purchase decisions. Clearly, today’s consumers want quick access to brands, and live chat is one of the best ways to offer just that. Brands can have real-time conversations via DMs, Facebook chat or even in the comment section of a post.
In the past, many brands have shelled out the big bucks for a chance to work with the biggest influencers on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube or Facebook. But today, the social commerce strategy has shifted. Now almost any social media user — even those with just a few hundred followers — can become an influencer. Brands working with micro-influencers won’t pay as much, and could get up to 60% better engagement rates than macro-influencers.
Embracing Social Commerce in 2022
“There’s a lot of exciting things happening in social commerce,” says Meagen Johnson, SVP of marketing at Jane. “Be consistent and find what works for your audience.”
Today’s consumers expect brands to have an active social media presence, and an effortless way to shop in-app. Though social commerce is ever-evolving, brands who stay ahead of the curve will be rewarded with higher engagement rates, more conversions and increased revenue.
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