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The Latest Developments in Social Commerce

The corona crisis has changed the shopping behavior of a large group of Dutch people: almost one in three shoppers ordered online more often during the crisis and half of them also bought more products per order (source: GFK). This upward trend is expected to continue. According to Kantar research , 20-40% of the Dutch indicate they continue to shop in the online stores they discovered during the COVID-19 crisis. It makes sense for companies, now more than ever, to invest in online commerce. The social giants are also busy. In order to facilitate brands in social commerce, they launched one new feature after another. What are the latest developments in social commerce? And what can you best invest in as a brand to boost your online sales?


1. Facebook and Instagram Shops

Despite the recent coverage of Facebook in recent months, the giant continues to develop in e-commerce at lightning speed. In view of the increasing restrictions on finding first- and third-party target groups on digital platforms, the recent 
launch of Shops is a godsend for advertisers aiming to continue toward target advertising.


Facebook Shops act as copies of web stores where products are displayed on both Facebook and Instagram. The products, or a selection thereof, are linked via a catalog or loaded directly from a website via shopping partners. It has been possible for some time to tag products in an image or video. With a single tap, the user can immediately access the product details. Recently it has also become possible to advertise in the Netherlands in this way. 


A new development is the Shop tab, in which you can discover the entire collection within the Facebook page or Instagram profile Shop. Shoppers can then pay on the advertiser's website or most recently - and this is where it gets interesting - without leaving the app.


Facebook Pay


Facebook users in the Netherlands can now link payment details (credit card, debit card or PayPal), contact details and delivery address to their Facebook profile by means of Facebook Pay. The user sets this up once. With this you can pay in the Facebook Shop within the Facebook app. If successful, this will be rolled out further to Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. This way the target group can make a purchase immediately with minimal obstacles.


Besides a better shopping experience, this is a great opportunity for advertisers to stay relevant to their customers. Privacy regulations make it increasingly difficult to use website data within other platforms and apps, but with the help of Facebook Pay the advertiser retains the option to continue to show relevant advertisements based on purchase data.  


As a brand you can already study Facebook Shops. In a cookie-free future, you will have both the data to remain relevant for your customers, and an advanced consumer experience when customers expect this from brands.



2. Snapchat - dynamic ads

We already know them from Facebook and Instagram, but last month Snapchat also launched Dynamic ads in the Netherlands. A big advantage of dynamic ads is that all products from your product catalog are loaded into your advertisement. If products change, the advertisement changes immediately so that you always show up-to-date advertisements that fit within every advertisement format. This has many advantages; Snapchatters see more relevant ads, brands see a higher ROI and content creators spend less time on small adjustments. Snapchat is increasingly collaborating with partners who make the dynamic ads applicable for multiple platforms by means of feeds and templates. It is a great advantage that you can offer your assortment automatically on multiple channels to invest in technology solutions that make this possible.


Snapchat - Beta Brand Profiles

In July, Snapchat started testing 
Brand Profiles for 30 major brands in a closed beta. Brands are given additional options such as saving and showing previously posted Snaps, videos, stories, and AR lenses. This way you can discover multiple products within Snapchat and test them virtually. In addition, potential customers can checkout directly in the app through Shopify.

snap chat spectacles


3. Pinterest shopping


Whereas the platform first focused on inspiration and awareness, it is increasingly shifting towards conversion-driven solutions: Shop the look, Collection ads, Dynamic product ads and Shopping tabs. One of the newest features is Shopping Spotlights, which gives influencers a bigger role on the platform. The promoted content appears at the top of the search tab and links directly to the brand’s (product) site. In addition, Pinterest launched Shop with Your Camera on June 1, where a photo of a product leads to suggestions from Pins with products similar to this one. The products that are in stock can be purchased directly in the new shop tab via the advertiser's checkout page. This is expected to be available in the Netherlands shortly.

Also read: One year of Pinterest advertising: six key learnings


Pinterest advertising - be the brand they see first

97% of pinners' search traffic is still non-branded. They are looking for inspiration very early in the Pinterest buying process, even before deciding on a brand or product. The target group therefore actively moves towards the content. It is precisely in this orientation phase that you have the opportunity to expand your search strategy and be findable with the right product.
Pinterest Business itself states: Be the Brand they see first. Even with the short period Pinterest advertising is available, it is still relatively easy to climb as a brand on Pinterest in both organic and paid search results. The big difference here compared to other social platforms is that the content has a much longer lifespan. An investment you make now to make content easy to find can have positive effects on the algorithm in the long term. Take into account a longer path to purchase.

pintrest shopping advertisements


4. Conversational commerce via social media


Thirty-five percent of online shoppers regularly contact a brand or company, in most cases with questions about the delivery ("Where is my package?"), but there are also many questions about the price and quality of a product. In order to speak to customers in an efficient and effective way, an increasing number of commerce parties, have added so-called messaging apps (also called conversational commerce) as a complement to their in-person customer service. The quality of the services of these messaging apps provide is improving rapidly.


Messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Messenger offer consumers the opportunity to interact with a company in an accessible way. Messaging bots or Quick Replies exist for even faster and more efficient service, and customers are growing accustomed to these enhancements. The contact they then have via these apps is comparable to a physical store assistant. This can increase trust in a brand or product by removing doubts: 57% of conversational shoppers say they chat with a company for additional information about products and 34% for more confidence in the brand.* In addition to improved emotional value, you can also negotiate the price of a product via conversational commerce: 35% of conversational shoppers indicate they negotiate prices or offers via Messaging apps. In fact, two-thirds say they spend more money after chatting with a company.


The Dutch consumer increasingly expects companies to be available through conversational commerce. Conversational commerce is therefore clearly here to stay. As a brand you want to respond quickly to this development, preferably before your competitor has this perfectly in order and your target group already has a smooth user experience with another brand. You can scale up later when it suits the business.

* Source: “Conversational Commerce: the next gen of E-com” by BCG (Facebook-commissioned study of 8,864 people across BR, ID, IN, MX, MY, PH, TH, US and VN), Aug 2019.

whatsapp vattenfall facebook klm


Pick your battles

The precondition for the above developments is that a platform must match a brand. For walkers you don't have to advertise on Snapchat and a recruiter has little to look for on Pinterest. In addition, the foundation of your e-commerce must be in order before you use the many possibilities of social commerce. Shopping tools, catalogs and campaign management tools allow you to quickly scale up to multiple platforms. Changing afterwards or setting up each platform separately costs a lot more time and money in the long term. It is better to start on a small scale and be ahead of the competition. This way you can scale up with a strong product when they start experimenting rather than the other way around.


Finally, and this is perhaps the most important, pick your battles. Be critical about which developments really have potential for your organization, then invest in improving and automating that process. A company must look beyond today's fast conversions, as KLM has done with conversational commerce. This can yield you more in the longer term than, for example, a one-off campaign on TikTok.


Would you like to chat about social commerce for your brand? Please feel free to contact kitty.bakker@iProspect.com.