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5 Social Commerce Trends for Agencies and Consultants in 2024

Social commerce, the intersection of ecommerce and social media to give users one seamless online shopping experience, has emerged as a crucial arena for ecommerce brands over the past few years.

If you have clients who are planning to invest in this form of selling, or you just want to get more clued-in about how social media is driving change for consumer brands, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the trends and market forces that are driving this niche.

Here are five social commerce trends to be aware of in 2024.

1. Omnichannel Experiences Are Here to Stay

The omnichannel ecommerce experience has been steadily gaining traction over the past couple of decades. While in previous years providing an omnichannel experience was an innovation for early adopters and a distinct benefit for your business, in 2024, it’s nothing short of a necessity.

Research from Capital One Shopping has shown that nearly three quarters of retail consumers shop across multiple channels, with retailers who incorporate three or more channels as part of their buyer journey seeing customer engagement a massive 251% higher than single-channel retailers. What’s more, customer engagement that adopts an omnichannel format increases sales revenue by an average of 9.5%.

These days, it’s not enough simply to be seen on social media. If you’re an ecommerce brand, your customers are going to be researching, looking for support, and comparing products across multiple different channels, and they’ll want to do this seamlessly with no disruptions whatsoever.

To harness this trend, retailers should aim to create a brand experience that’s consistent across all social media platforms, their website, and other marketing channels to give shoppers a buying experience they expect.

2. Most Social Commerce Buyers Are in Colombia, Asia, and the UAE

Historically, social media trends have found most of their early adopters in North America and Europe, but social commerce in particular has seen massive popularity in regions which might surprise some marketers and consultants.

According to data from Statista, the top five countries by percentage of online consumers who buy from social networks are Thailand, Colombia, China, the UAE, and India. In fact, the US came in 13th place, with only 57% of consumers regularly buying through social media.

The adoption of social commerce in general, and particularly emerging platforms like livestream shopping, have placed some of the most fertile markets for social commerce firmly in developing and newly-industrialized economies. This is not only an interesting trend in terms of the sheer volume of shoppers, but also high conversion rates, which has proven to be a distinctive feature of livestream shopping.

Retail consultants can capitalize on this trend by supporting their clients as they tap into these burgeoning markets, leveraging insights into localized consumer behavior, and developing tailored strategies that harness the power of social commerce. 

3. AI is Shaking Things Up

Just about every niche in the world has felt the effects of AI tools going mainstream over the past few years, and social commerce is no exception. 

Data published by ecommerce analytics platform Mindsite in late 2023 shows that:

  • More than half of ecommerce brands are already using AI.
  • 84% of ecommerce brands either reported integrating or prioritizing AI.
  • The AI ecommerce solutions market is projected to be worth US $16.8 billion by 2030.

There are countless potential applications for how AI can help forward-thinking ecommerce brands develop their customer experience and save time and resources for more efficient operations. These include personalizing customer recommendations, finding and solving inefficiencies, and fine-tuning marketing campaigns for more effective targeting.

When you’re working with retailers who are soliciting your help with their tech stack, it’s important to motivate them towards embracing AI in order to keep their customer experiences up to evolving standards and a step ahead of the competition.

When approaching ecommerce from a social-first standpoint, AI also has a variety of uses to enhance the quality of retailers’ content and start your social lead gen pipeline the right way.

Our own free social media AI tools, for example, are purpose-built for a variety of applications, including creating bios and posts, and resizing visual content.

4. AR and VR Engagement is On The Rise

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have spent the past decade mostly in the realm of niche enthusiasts. Today, however, these exciting technologies are rapidly being adopted by brands and users. If you’re an agency or consultant in the ecommerce space, it’s crucial to keep your finger on the pulse as more and more shoppers begin to engage.

According to stats from Emarketer, the US alone is projected to have 110.3 million AR users by 2025, and 74.5 million VR users. What’s more, nearly a fifth of the US population will use AR as part of their social media experience in 2025, up from 16.6% in 2022.

Though the rise in AR and VR hasn’t been as meteoric as AI, there’s no denying it’s poised to become a bigger and bigger part of the way people interact with brands on social media, especially with Meta’s rapid adoption of VR in the form of the Metaverse.

Innovative consumer brands are already embracing this tech to improve the shopping experience in social commerce channels, with applications such as:

  • Makeup and apparel brands using “virtual try-on” AR to see how products will look on them before they buy.
  • Homeware brands offering AR experiences that show customers how large furniture items and similar products will look in their homes.
  • AR educational overlays for in-store shopping, e.g aiming a phone camera at a physical product and instantly seeing its key features and benefits.

As AR and VR social commerce experiences become more normalized, organizations that research and adopt this technology can help their clients create a more interactive and enjoyable shopping experience through the social platforms that allow for it.

5. User-Generated Content Continues to Shape Social Commerce

User-generated content (UGC) is by no means new. However, its prevalence is continuing to grow as social commerce takes center stage and shoppers look for organic, authentic recommendations rather than curated product images from branded accounts.

An article from WARC showed that in 2023, 19% of winners at the Cannes Lions creative communications awards utilized UGC as part of their campaigns, which is almost double the amount compared to 2022 and 2021. This same piece cites Google Trends data showing that after a gradual decline starting in the noughties, the topic of user generated content has climbed sharply in popularity from 2021 onwards.

By combining established UGC practices with shoppable social media experiences, agencies and consultants can help their clients inject important social proof into their marketing, helping to provide their audience with more authentic, natural touchpoints as they discover brands on their favorite social media platforms.

Because UGC is a markedly important deciding factor for Gen Z buyers, the prevalence of this in social commerce is only projected to become more important as we look to the future.

Harnessing the Power of Social Commerce Trends

As social commerce becomes a bigger and bigger driving force, it’s important that you keep your finger on the pulse and avoid getting left behind. By studying these social commerce trends and identifying intelligent ways to apply them to strategies for your client accounts, you’ll be able to ride the increasing popularity of new ecommerce technologies and surpass other agencies that are lagging behind.

To get a better idea of how your audience is interacting with your brand, and discover some great AI tools for improving efficiencies in your social media marketing, sign up to Highperformr for free today!

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