Social Media Shopping & Selling Online

Today our digital marketing experts at Blue Compass are talking about social media shopping. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram have been offering more and more e-commerce solutions over the past few years, where you can shop directly in-platform. We believe this trend is here to stay and will continue to grow.

Shopping on social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and others is quickly becoming common occurrence and these platforms are going to continue to build and come out with other alternatives. It is currently estimated that between Facebook and Instagram alone, social selling is going to be a $3 billion revenue generation industry. So there's lots of opportunity for companies to be utilize social media as shops in these platforms.

Why are social media platforms offering more and more in-platform shopping?

Social media started out as platforms for sharing content and connecting with friends, but there are a couple reasons why we believe they're shifting to allow more in-app shopping.

Apps Are Competitive About Where You Spend Your Time Online

Similar to any other time we talk about SEO, the goal of these platforms is to keep users on their websites longer, much like Google. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. these social media platforms are competing for your time. By offering businesses the opportunity to have a shop within their social media profile, it gives them another opportunity to continue taking up space in people's phones and internet browsers and continue to get people to spend more time with them.

Offering Social Media Shops Gives These Platforms Profit Opportunities

By allowing businesses on their social platform, these social media companies are able to control the revenue that's sold, and they're able to get a little bit of the profit from each of the sales that occurs within these apps.

Should my business sell products on social media? What types of businesses or products perform well?

Social media selling seemed to take off initially with smaller shops who were looking for a quick and fairly inexpensive way to sell their products. For example, somebody who might be thinking about using Etsy, but doesn't necessarily love the percentage of the commission that Etsy's going to take, or somebody who's not really ready to pull the trigger on a Shopify website because they don't want to invest that much time or effort into developing a website might turn instead to a platform they are already fairly comfortable navigating regularly.

Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shops helped adapt the process of selling your work online. They became that sweet spot for these types of small businesses and individuals who could set up a shop and be able to sell to the public outside of their normal social network. Obviously, with everything that's been happening recently, that's been huge for people to be able to sell outside of word of mouth and away from the constrains of doing business in person.

For the products on these shops, we see anything you can think of from a B2C, or business-to-consumer, perspective that people would want to buy. To name a few, there are shops for:

  • little boutique items
  • candles
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • anything customizable
  • handmade items
  • and much more

Those types of creative and eye-catching items in your feed really took off initially with social media, but we're now seeing more B2B, business-to-business, sales occurring on social media shops. For example, Blue Compass was planning to buy new office chairs, and after some research, we started to get ads for office chairs on social media. We could have purchased all of our office chairs through online retailers via social media, and that social shopping trend is just going to continue to evolve. With a potential $3 billion business in Facebook and Instagram shopping alone, there's countless opportunities for B2B markets to get into this as well. We are even expecting to start seeing software or app downloads show up. If we could download all of our Microsoft Office suites from there, anything like that would definitely work from a social selling perspective as well.

Our Predictions For Online Shopping Trends on the Major Social Media Platforms

We've been watching the trends and we're expecting Pinterest to really take off and see the most growth from a retail perspective. Facebook and Instagram are getting a lot of the headlines right now, but Pinterest has the numbers to back it up. Pinterest actually launched their shopping space a full six weeks prior to Facebook or Instagram, and their platform is set up very well for success in online retail. Outside of the shop itself, Pinterest is doing a great job setting their technology apart. Shoppable pins integrate the option to search for items for sale within a pin, and this makes it as easy as possible for both retailers to get sales and for consumers to find what they're looking for on the platform.

In our opinion, it's the perfect storm - Pinterest is where people keep a lot of their ideas, they are bookmarking or pinning things to boards, saving their ideas and potentially products for later. Major retailers like Target and Crate and Barrel have already moved into the Pinterest shopping platform, but are not competing on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. So there's a ton of opportunity with Pinterest to become one of those major social media retailers.

Slightly behind Pinterest is probably going to be Instagram. People are using it as such a creative space from a visual perspective and we know that visuals usually lend well to sales for products and services. Being able to pair those really nice visuals with the shopping environment would definitely set Instagram above Facebook.

Contact Blue Compass for Advice on Social Platform Selling & Social Media Strategies

If we can ever help you with shopping on social media, a social media strategy, or just digital marketing in general, please reach out to us. We're more than happy to help.