Social Commerce: how digital stores can win more customers in 2023

Together with Joshua Priore, CEO and founder of Worldz, we discuss, how digital stores can win more customers in 2023.

Joshua Priore

Present among ‘30 Under 30’ in 2018 Forbes Italia rating, is the founder and CEO of Worldz. Worldz is an Italian startup, offering an ecommerce software product capable of integrating the functions of social networks within the digital shops.

Why do people like to buy products on social media

—We saw and felt a massive surge in ecommerce and social commerce in particular between 2020 and 2021. Then, in 2022 in-store shopping gradually bounced back. However, social commerce continued to thrive. So, talking about the trend of social commerce: why do people like purchasing through social media?

Well, people don't actually like to buy products on social media. Only 4% of those who discover products on social media are willing to buy it directly there. People prefer to buy products on ecommerce websites, which is quite normal. 

A little example. Think that you are a user and you found a new product on TikTok. You are scrolling on TikTok and suddenly see a content creator with a product that you’d like to buy. Before you purchase it, you would probably like to know more details about the product: its description, the return policy, shipment process, and some external reviews.  

When you see sponsored content it is quite different. On social media you need to find all that info by yourself. You also may have doubts about leaving your credit card info on social media, since you know that the media collects your data (remember all those Facebook data leak cases).We, as users, prefer to have a customer experience that is split into phases. On the main phase I get to know the product, think whether I actually want to buy it. And when the time comes, I buy it on an ecommerce site. The main issue there is the customer experience.

Which of the social media platforms are most popular

–Even though there is not a large percentage of people actually buying goods via social commerce, the number of users is growing and there is a widely known adoption by younger generations. How is it connected with social media platforms? Which of the platforms would be most popular nowadays? 

That’s right. Even if we are not thinking about Meta or other platforms as a social commerce, we will eventually see it as the same thing. Think about that: people are spending up to four hours per day on social media!

Obviously, there are lots of brands and shoppers that are trying to reach out to people, so even if Facebook, Instagram, TikTok are not meant to be used for shopping, this may change soon. We need to see them not as social commerce, but as social networks with the opportunity to see and discover products. 

When you shop on social media, it’s really not about the product. It's about the content that you see. And social media really knows how to do it.

If I can give one advice to brands and retailers it would be the following: sell whatever you want on social media, but using social media as a shop window. At the same time, you have to be sure that you are engaging with the right customers and target the right content. This is the strategy that you have to go for to succeed!

The impact of social commerce today 

—What do you think is the impact of social commerce today? Maybe we could run a shortlist of its pros and cons. 

Ecommerce industry was born long before social media. However, social media has reached millions or billions of people way before ecommerce. This was revolutionary! Now on social media not only influencers but brands are trying to create a platform where people can interact with each other and also buy stuff.

Talking about some pros and cons, first and foremost there is a huge opportunity to reach millions of people in just one click. At the same time, people can discover new products or new brands based on their behavior. 

However, social media channels don’t know how to collect information outside their platforms. The cookie policy and the GDPR, Meta’s and Google’s regulations make it impossible to track the user behavior.

Third-party cookies nowadays is another problem for merchants, because they cannot find a way to reach out the target. When we are speaking about online shops and advertising, everything has to be measurable. And that is the problem, that’s is the con.

How to win more customers using social media experiences

—So, how can we win more customers using these social media experiences in digital stores? Is it possible at all? 

First step is to optimize the customer experience. That way you will have an ecommerce that works very well. 

If there is a big budget for marketing activities and you don't have an optimized ecommerce experience, you can spend that budget on these essentials. The most important thing is to use optimization tools for ecommerce.

They can help you better understand what are the problems of your business and how to solve them. Also, don’t forget to do the A/B test, because in digital you can always test two configurations of the platform or to see which color or whatever it is, is more engaging and just to increase the conversion rate.

Every month billions of people spend time on social networks, so it is necessary to have a strategy and cover the entire cycle of customer experience. If you are running your campaign on a social network, you are getting traffic from it to your ecommerce store, the end goal is to make those users buy your stuff. 

You need not only to give them the kind of products they are looking for, but also provide them with the best service. In most cases, it's not even about the price, the service is often the main reason why customers choose you. Clients need to have the kind of experience they expect. 

In our case, the company that I founded in 2015 - Worldz - gives you exactly this kind of solution. It provides a personalized experience on an ecommerce site and at the same time brings back the people that noticed you online. Once they have been on your site and bought something there, we help them dig deeper. Our solution allows users to share what you are going to buy on social media and get a credit that is related to the engagement that you have on that social media.

So coming back to the question, my answer is here: use the tools that cover the full sales cycle and provide excellent customer experience.

The trends and predictions for social commerce in 2023

—What about the future? Any trends we should expect in 2023? 

Meta has been working on some things to win the battle for engagement with their platform. It seems that now TikTok is winning. In fact, a lot of young people (especially Gen Z) spend more time on TikTok than Instagram, which is why it is a real battle! “The death of Instagram” may happen just because the kind of content that you can share. On Instagram it is more natural. It’s not that dynamic and personalized anymore.

So, I think that during 2023 Meta will start from the socials and will again focus on doing some features for Gen Z. From the other side, I guess that it also makes sense for them to develop more effective advertising with having more features and ways to improve campaigns and boost the traffic. I believe that big tech companies will be 100% focused on social commerce this year.

In fact, since social media is not all about ecommerce, we may expect some other changes as well that may affect social commerce too.

Listen to the next episode: Why brands like Adidas choose Salesforce Commerce Cloud for ecommerce?