Customers who shop on social media platforms are known to be great sources of entertainment and news, but some marketers believe they can also be great sources of revenue, too. Do consumers actually shop directly on social media platforms, though? That’s what this blog post will explore as it presents findings from an industry expert in both social media and marketing who has seen firsthand how consumers interact with brands through social media and share their experiences on these sites.
Social media, particularly visual content, is increasingly being used as a channel for product purchases, and not just online. A total of 76% of consumers have purchased a product after seeing it in a brand’s social media post:
Do Customers Shop on Social Media Platforms:
- 11 percent purchased immediately; 44 percent purchased later online; and
- 71 percent of marketers are interested in learning more about Instagram.
- 21 percent purchased in a physical store later.
Social media is also useful for introducing a new product to customers: According to 65 percent of US consumers, a link in a post directed them to a product they were not initially interested in purchasing. Curalate’s infographic explains the power of social networks in greater detail.
The Benefits Of Shopping Directly On Social Media Platforms:
The most obvious benefit of shopping directly on social media platforms is convenience. It is a win-win for retailers and consumers, who have access to a wide range of goods and services at their fingertips. Once something catches your eye, it can be purchased in just one click.
There are no additional logins or passwords necessary, and you do not even need to leave Facebook or Twitter! This convenience means that you can browse through thousands of products across multiple brands while still engaging with friends and family online. This makes social media platforms an excellent way to turn window shoppers into paying customers. According to Business Insider, one out of three US retail businesses has found a customer via social media.
There are many ways that this type of digital marketing can be done: by sharing new product, offering exclusive discounts and promotions only available to followers on social media channels, and hosting contests that require participants to follow the company’s account in order to enter. These types of marketing strategies help ensure that the retailer’s product gets seen by as many people as possible (and they help build brand awareness).
The Negative Aspects Of Shopping Directly On Social Media Platforms:
There are several negative aspects to direct shopping on social media platforms. Firstly, there is no doubt that social media is a force to be reckoned with for brand engagement, however, it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. The price points for most items aren’t quite in line with impulse buys either. For example, a pair of earrings costing upwards of $250 isn’t something people are likely to impulsively buy based on an Instagram post.
The biggest drawback to shopping directly through Facebook and Instagram is that it doesn’t offer consumers an opportunity to compare prices between different products. In addition, brands can’t control which product gets surfaced within each user’s feed or if they’re even seen at all. As a result, this makes these posts are less than effective for promotion and ROI. Lastly, the FTC has begun cracking down on shady marketing practices and as such, has set guidelines around what marketers can promote.
Brands have also had their ads pulled due to violations of these guidelines as well as policies set by other third-party companies like Google Ads. If you are looking to shop via social media I would recommend doing so via organic content rather than paid advertising where possible.
The Future Of Direct Shopping With Social Media Platforms:
In fact, only 25% of consumers say that they have purchased products or services directly from social media platforms. But it does appear that these numbers will continue to grow as more brands begin to sell directly via social networks.
Today’s consumers do most of their shopping on Facebook and Instagram, but they still like to check out products in person before they buy. While some companies are trying to turn social media into a direct e-commerce channel by creating buy buttons for social posts, there is still a lot of work to be done.
The problem with this idea, however, is that many people aren’t buying the items because they think the price might be higher than if they found the same product somewhere else. With this consideration in mind, many companies are making their prices comparable to those on other channels so customers don’t feel like they’re paying too much money. For example, Warby Parker and Everlane both offer lower prices online than at physical stores.
There are also smaller startups such as Algebraix Data Corp., which has created an app called Cubit that lets shoppers find the lowest priced retailers for any given item. Ultimately, social media will continue to play an important role in today’s consumer purchase decisions – just not necessarily through a direct connection with the company itself.