Redefining Social Commerce for Non-DTC Brands

We’ve all heard the statistics on the growth of social commerce. DTC brands, retailers, fashion companies, and health and beauty brands have seen staggering increases in eCommerce driven from social media channels, but what about the other guys?

As it turns out, essentially no CPG, beverage, and auto companies have shoppable Instagram pages. Every industry has its own challenges toward driving purchase, but with shopper behavior shifting in the social space there are ample opportunities to drive commerce. It is important to remember that social commerce is much more than “shoppable” ads—every social touchpoint is an opportunity to accelerate a transaction.

Social commerce can take many forms, depending on how the brand’s business operates. If a brand relies on third-party retailers, does not offer online sales or is struggling to measure success against business objectives, it may make sense to identify social commerce opportunities in order to make business easier in the long run.

How do you define social commerce for your brand? If you operate outside DTC, retailers, fashion, or the health and beauty industry, here are three ways to build your brand and business through social commerce:

  1. “Next Step” Conversions
    In this case, “conversion” doesn’t necessarily mean a transaction occurs it means a shopper is taking the “next step” toward purchase. This could mean developing leads or increasing the purchase intent of a shopper. The immediate result may be about bringing awareness or recall to your brand as, generally, user behavior doesn’t mean shoppers see an ad on Instagram and immediately go purchase that product. Social is a prime opportunity to engage potential shoppers and guide them through the purchase funnel.

    This can be as simple as driving social shoppers to a “where to buy” page on your website, saving an offer from social, or even creating engaging experiences such as having a Facebook Messenger chatbot book a test drive, like Mercedes-Benz. This example is a true social-first interaction that results in a scheduled appointment, potentially leading to a purchase.
  2. In-Store Affinity
    This is where a full-funnel approach is most important, because 42% of shoppers are using social media to research products they will purchase, and even 21% of users say they are motivated to purchase products by lots of “likes” and positive comments on social media. This means social-first creative must resonate with shoppers enough to drive recall while in-store.

    The more you can really engage with shoppers on social and connect them to an in-store experience, the better chance you have at driving sales. Fanta has seen success in this capacity with its annual Halloween campaign by partnering with Snapchat. Social touchpoints for the campaign include Snap Ads, lenses, and filters to create a connection with the brand and drive shoppers to the limited-time-only products in store. Not only has Fanta seen an increase in sales, but the engagement continues to be driven by exclusive content unlocked with the product itself. This not only helps drive in-store affinity but creates another sales loop by adding a follow-up engagement piece.
  3. Think Outside the Funnel
    How else can you define “social commerce” if it’s not actually driven directly toward a purchase? Don’t be constrained to the traditional marketing model in social media when you can drive direct sales with a shoppable Instagram account, have advocates sell for you with influencer affiliate programs, and find innovative ways to offer limited-time deals that drive urgency.

    Challenges arise when trying to drive commerce for CPG brands like candy—shoppers are no longer physically in the checkout line to impulse buy your product. Online grocery shopping has also been increasing in the last couple of years, which presents a new set of obstacles for candy brands, but Hershey has been finding new ways to drive impulse online. You may be shopping online and about to check out when you receive a notification to add Hershey’s to your cart to earn free shipping or even “Just Add Hershey’s” to round your receipt up to an even dollar amount. Creative approaches can keep impulse alive and drive direct sales for your brand.

Overall, social commerce isn’t always about the direct purchase from a shoppable Instagram page, but the intent to drive commerce through touchpoints in social media. Defining those commerce goals for your brand can help drive business objectives and give you more tangible results from your social strategy.

Contributed by: Sam Nicholson, Social Media Manager, Integer Denver
Image Source: Shutterstock