Understanding Social Commerce vs eCommerce
Selling products and services online has opened a brand new way for businesses to reach consumers worldwide. However, with this new way of doing business comes new terminology and concepts that can be confusing for business owners just starting out.
If you are interested in boosting revenue via digital channels, you have two main options: social commerce and eCommerce.
In this post, we will define both of these terms, look at the pros and cons of each, and help you decide which option is right for your business (with a little help from the right marketing team!)
Why Sell Online?
Before we break down the options, we must ask – why sell online at all?
There are many reasons, but the three main benefits of selling online are:
- Increased Reach: With an online store, you can sell to anyone in the world who has access to the internet.
- Enhanced Sales: Not only can you reach more people, but you can also sell more products and services because of the global reach of the internet.
- Improved Efficiency: Selling online allows you to run your business from anywhere in the world, at any time. You no longer have to be tied down to a physical store location.
The digital world has made it easier than ever for business owners to reach more customers and sell more products, regardless of their geographical location. And with the right marketing team by your side, you can make the most of both social commerce and eCommerce to grow your business.
What is eCommerce?
eCommerce is the process of buying and selling products and services online. It covers a wide range of activities, from retail shopping to business-to-business transactions.
eCommerce is a fast-growing industry, with global sales expected to exceed the trillions in the coming year. Nearly anyone with a computer and access to a distributor can participate in eCommerce – and you can reach a global consumer base in seconds!
How eCommerce Works
eCommerce is a two-way street. Sellers must offer products that people want to buy, and buyers must feel confident that they are getting a good deal.
Most eCommerce sellers will set up an online storefront where consumers can browse and buy products. The seller will then ship the products to the buyer’s address.
In addition to retail shopping, eCommerce also enables businesses to sell products and services directly to other businesses. This is known as business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce.
While eCommerce has far less overhead than a brick-and-mortar store, it does have some costs. Sellers must pay for a domain name and web hosting, and they may also need to invest in eCommerce software or a shopping cart system.
However, those who can set up an eCommerce system and drive traffic to their store can enjoy a high degree of success.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is similar to eCommerce but run through the vein of social media. Rather than depending on a website storefront, social commerce allows customers to buy products directly from a company’s social media page without ever having to leave the platform.
This helps companies keep customers engaged and browsing their social media pages, which can lead to more sales.
How Social Commerce Works
Rather than simply depending on their main website storefront to drive sales, social commerce businesses use their social media pages as a means of interacting with potential and current customers.
This interaction can take many forms, including:
- Posting product photos and descriptions and tag relevant brands or products.
- Sharing customer reviews and testimonials.
- Offering exclusive discounts or coupon codes to followers.
- Running contests and giveaways.
- Hosting live video or chat sessions with experts on the product.
- Partnering with influencers to promote products.
- Creating social media-exclusive content, such as videos, blogs, and infographics.
- Building a community of customers who can interact with one another.
Social commerce businesses can use any or all of these methods to interact with potential and current customers on social media. The more engaged a company is with its social media followers, the more likely they are to make a sale.
The Power of the Influencer
One of the primary reasons that social commerce is overtaking eCommerce is the rise of the influencer.
An influencer is an individual who has a large following on social media and wields significant influence over that audience.
Many social commerce businesses partner with influencers to promote their products – creating a unique form of marketing.
The influencer will post a photo or video of themselves using the product, with a caption that includes a special discount code or link to the product page. This type of advertising is incredibly powerful, as it encourages followers to buy the product not just because they trust the influencer but also because they want to get the same product as the influencer.
The Future of Social Commerce
Social commerce is quickly becoming the preferred way to shop for online shoppers. With social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest leading the way, social commerce allows customers to buy products directly from a company’s social media page without ever having to leave the platform.
This is a huge advantage for companies, as it keeps customers engaged and browsing their social media pages, which can lead to more sales. Yet at the heart of social commerce rests the basic tenants of eCommerce – so businesses who can set up an eCommerce system and drive traffic to their store can enjoy a high degree of success.
Start Social Selling with Startup
Social commerce and eCommerce are poised to lead the way in online sales. If you’re looking to start a business or just want to increase your sales, it’s important to understand the basics of social commerce and how it differs from eCommerce.
One of the best ways to ensure that you start off your eCommerce journey on the right foot is by partnering with Startup, an eCommerce platform that helps businesses of all sizes set up and run their online stores.
At Startup, our team of digital marketing experts can work with you to design and develop a powerful eCommerce strategy that puts your products and services in front of the right audience.
From online storefronts that drive traffic to strategies to engage influencers across social media platforms, Startup has your eCommerce needs covered. Contact us today to learn how to start selling online like a pro.