The growth opportunity for brands to take a holiday online shopping campaign to social media is massive. The value of social commerce sales in 2022 is estimated to be $958 billion.
According to a recent Shopify study, 49% of brands surveyed plan to boost their investment in social commerce in 2022.
This article covers what you need to know to get started with social commerce and compete for your consumers’ attention when they do their holiday shopping online this year.
Table of Contents
- Social commerce: What is it?
- Holiday shopping challenges to overcome pre–Black Friday Cyber Monday
- Opportunities to capitalize on the holiday sales cycle
- Optimize your social commerce product discovery for the 2022 online holiday shopping season
- Social commerce platforms: Seven tools that will supersize your holiday sales
- Why you can't afford to ignore social commerce in 2022
Social commerce: What is it?
Social commerce is selling goods or services directly within social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Today, social media is no longer relegated solely to the discovery stage of the buyer’s journey. Instead, social commerce lets consumers complete their entire purchase process, including discovering new brands, researching products, and purchasing items, without leaving their preferred social media apps.
This model also lets merchants like you create virtual storefronts that simplify online shopping experiences by meeting consumers where they are.
Holiday shopping challenges to overcome pre–Black Friday Cyber Monday
Consumers and merchants continue to adjust to the rapidly changing commerce landscape we’ve witnessed over the past two years. While some things have changed for the better, other areas of commerce have become more complex. Because of this, brands should be prepared to jump through a few hoops before seeing holiday online shopping success in 2022.
Black Friday Cyber Monday planning needs to happen earlier
Although Black Friday doesn’t technically start until the day after American Thanksgiving, today’s retailers start teasing their offers as early as mid-October.
Thanks to inflation’s continued impact on retail sales, expect consumers to get an earlier-than-usual start on their holiday online shopping to beat price hikes.
Don’t wait for Black Friday Cyber Monday to launch your holiday campaigns. Find ways to inspire consumers to shop well before the holiday season.
Finalize your campaigns by mid-September for a mid-October rollout or early October for an early November rollout.
New iOS updates spell new privacy rules
Apple's introduction of app tracking transparency (ATT) left many merchants scrambling for new advertising methods. Any app within the App Store that collects data about end users and shares it with other companies needs to give users a choice of whether or not they want to be tracked across apps and websites owned by other organizations.
ATT turned the mobile marketing space upside down, forcing brands to do without the user-level data they’ve come to rely on. And for many, digital ad campaign performance has suffered.
Savvy brands are coming up with creative ways to get around this. Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have rolled out Buy buttons that let merchants seamlessly offer purchase opportunities while consumers scroll their Facebook pages or find décor ideas on Pinterest.
Opportunities to capitalize on the holiday sales cycle
Now that the challenges are out of the way, let’s dig into the colossal opportunities for brands that venture into the social commerce space this holiday season. Here are the social commerce trends to watch out for during holiday seasons:
In-app social media purchasing is on the rise
Research from social media management software provider Sprout Social reveals that 93% of business executives strongly/somewhat agree that companies are increasingly moving ecommerce to social media.
Ecommerce activity—including customer service, shoppable advertising, and brand marketing—is taking place on social media platforms increasingly.
According to the National Retail Federation, online holiday shopping resulted in $218.9 billion in sales in 2021. And Salesforce found that 4% of global digital sales happened on mobile devices through social media apps, and 10% of mobile traffic originated from social media networks.
Social platforms are ripe for customer engagement
More and more online shoppers turn to social media for inspiration when they don’t already have a specific product in mind.
Hubspot’s State of Consumer Trends report reveals that 28% of Gen Z and millennials and 18% of Gen X have purchased through an in-app shop.
Social media platforms offer brands a way to reimagine shopping experiences this holiday season.
Live chat is where it’s at
Fifty-four percent of survey respondents want to reach customer service in their channel of choice quickly. Younger generations expect to connect with brands through the social apps they use to chat with friends.
The 2022 holiday rush is the perfect time to provide an elevated in-app customer service experience for shoppers using social media platforms to engage your brand.
Video is the ultimate key to unlocking the power of social commerce
Research from Shopify shows that 46% of consumers want to watch product videos before buying, making video a vital medium in social commerce.
Livestream selling is blowing up, with the top 10 livestream shopping apps in the US reaching 2.3 million installs in the first five months of 2022, up 77% year over year.
Social-first approaches, including behind-the-scenes livestreams, video consultations, and personalized product recommendations, are ways your brand can capitalize on the video trend this holiday online shopping season.
Some early adopters of livestream selling have reported conversion rates of up to 30% (a whopping 10 times higher than conventional commerce conversion rates).
Optimize your social commerce product discovery for the 2022 online holiday shopping season
Be in the right place, at the right time, with personalized gift recommendations. It’s critical for your successful online holiday shopping campaigns.
Use your brand to create a more meaningful online shopping experience that intentionally implements ways for shoppers to connect with the communities important to them.
Consumers gather around shared interests, locales, and professions on social media platforms. Your brand can create customer-centric experiences on these platforms by using shopping behaviors like sharing, tagging, and wishlisting to make social commerce more, well, social.
Also, experiment with hyper-local campaigns and video ads that speak directly to holiday shoppers in specific geographic locations.
Social commerce platforms: Seven tools that will supersize your holiday sales
Nearly every social media platform has added social commerce capabilities—including live shopping, virtual product try-ons, and in-app purchasing—to their products to help brands drive sales. This holiday season, merchants are more eager than ever before to explore these new ways of connecting with consumers online.
These seven social media destinations can show you how to incorporate social commerce into your holiday online sales strategy this year.
Meta: Facebook and Instagram
Forty-six percent of holiday shops surveyed purchased a product they discovered from a relevant ad on Meta, making this OG platform a major player in the social commerce arena.
And to prove the purchasing power of its various platforms, Meta is offering several ways for you to make your mark on online holiday shopping this year.
Instagram shopping lets you use product tags to transform your visual posts into an immersive shopping experience.
With Facebook Page Posts and Marketing, you can launch ads and promote page posts right inside Shopify. Thanks to Facebook Shop, you can create your shop on Instagram and Facebook.
Facebook Checkout with Shop Pay offers customers a new seamless checkout experience on FB and IG. Merchants can manage payments along with orders and returns and benefit from promotions, faster order syncing, and more.
And did you know: one-quarter of the holiday shoppers surveyed messaged a business using instant messaging during the 2021 holiday season?
Meta also makes it easy for you to take advantage of this trend by creating meaningful connections with customers using its messaging features on Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Google and YouTube
Consumers shop across Google more than a billion times per day. Just let that number sink in.
Google has invested heavily in integrated shopping experiences to show you how to meet your customers where they already are. Picture this: A consumer screenshots of a pair of shoes they’re coveting on an influencer’s feet. Later that week, when they come across that screenshot in Google Photos, there’s a suggestion to search for the photo with Lens. This innovation lets the customer see shoppable search results that help them find that pair of kicks that caught their eye and seamlessly complete the purchase.
Shopify’s Google Channel gives you another way to get in front of interested shoppers by listing your products for free or running paid Performance Max campaigns directly inside your Shopify admin.
This collaboration lets your products be discoverable to high-intent consumers across Google Search, Shopping, YouTube, Google Images, and more.
Let’s not forget about YouTube, where 70% of viewers say they bought from a brand because they saw it on Google’s video streaming platform.
YouTube Shopping lets you sync your products from Shopify to YouTube instantly to create authentic live shopping experiences and sell passively by pinning products next to your on-demand videos so followers can like, subscribe, and buy.
More than 400 million people have saved over 240 billion pins using this visual discovery engine.
With Shopify’s Pinterest sales channel, you can expand your reach by positioning your products in front of millions of consumers on Pinterest during the busiest shopping days this year.
You can turn your products into pins quickly. Pinterest users can find, save, and buy products from your website without any advertising cost.
Merchants can also boost the discoverability of their pins by promoting them (as sponsored pins) through Pinterest or Shopify Marketing.
The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt currently has more than 23 billion views on the app. Compared to other platforms, TikTok users are 1.7 times more likely to purchase products they discover through the app, making it a social commerce powerhouse that you shouldn’t ignore during this holiday online shopping cycle.
TikTok’s Shopify app lets you create video ads, track results, and manage your orders from your Shopify admin. Key features available on the TikTok channel for Shopify include:
- TikTok Ads: Merchants can start with TikTok For Business and start running ads quickly for their holiday online shopping programs.
- TikTok Shopping: Shopify’s guided campaign-creation tool assists you in setting up and tracking conversion campaigns and promoting your holiday deals effortlessly.
- Creative Made Simple: Shopify’s Video Generator tool empowers brands to create TikTok-style videos in minutes, requiring no video production expertise.
A Twitter survey revealed that 76% of people agree that conversations on Twitter result in a product purchase. And with 217 million active users, merchants that want to increase their reach during the upcoming online holiday shopping season should take notice.
With the Twitter sales channelon Shopify, US-based merchants can connect their Shopify catalog with Twitter Shopping seamlessly to get their products in front of millions who have conversations on Twitter for free.
Twitter Shop lets you showcase up to 50 products on your Twitter profile and spotlight up to five products using the carousel.
Why you can't afford to ignore social commerce in 2022
Social media is no longer just a place for a brand to showcase its holiday spirit. Instead, it’s now a must-try strategy to drive holiday sales, boost engagement, and focus on customer care.
For many consumers, holiday shopping marks a period of considerable stress. That’s why more and more are opting out of the madness that comes with waiting in line all night to catch the in-store Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
Online holiday shopping reached new heights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that more shoppers have seen how laidback holiday online shopping can be, there’s never been a better time to level up their customer experience by investing in social commerce.
Solving a pain point for your consumers, like making it easier to find and purchase unique gifts online, goes a long way toward building customer loyalty and affinity that can last far beyond the 2022 holiday season.