Are Facebook and Shopify on the way to becoming a better Amazon?
The partnership for onsite shops between Facebook and Shopify is not even one year old, but the progress that has been made is quite impressive. Facebook, with all its apps, is already the point of attention for many people. If one includes Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or Whatsapp, it is hard to find someone who is not using at least one of those apps. They are the "places'' where we as consumers spend our time. Successful companies are aware of that and meet us exactly at our point of attention.
Combining the Facebook universe, as the point of attention, with the capabilities of Shopify, as the point of sale, creates an unprecedented opportunity: Discovery, interaction and purchase, they are literally creating the "one stop shop". Not just for products people are already aware of, but especially for products people love to discover!
Looking at the current capabilities Shopify shop owners have within the Facebook universe is already quite impressing. Nearly the whole shopping experience of a webshop can be replicated.
Two major steps are still missing though. The first is the actual check-out within the Facebook universe (unless you are living in the US where Instagram Checkout is already being implemented). As of today you still need to leave the platform and purchase the product within the webshop. This however is about to change, as both companies announced that "Shop pay" will be available to merchants on Facebook & Instagram: "Making Shop Pay available outside of Shopify for the first time means even more shoppers can use the fastest and best checkout on the Internet." Users no longer need to leave the platform to purchase the product. The whole process happens on Facebook/Instagram.
The second step is creating visibility for the shop & its products as every shop is just as good as the amount of people visiting it. At the moment advertisers can use an array of formats dedicated to driving traffic/conversions on a webshop page /app outside the universe. However looking at the current metric structure it is already possible to distinguish between conversions happening on a website, app as well as on-facebook, leaving an open door for the potentially soon to come capability to drive paid visibility for shops/product on Facebook or Instagram. It took both parties not even a year to come this far and it won't take them that much longer to launch advertising capabilities as most of the technical infrastructure is already in place.
So implementing those two missing features will be game changing as advertisers, especially SMBs, will be asking themselves: Do I need to pay the fees on Amazon or is it more lucrative to focus on Social?
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Time flies and the holiday season is quickly approaching its festive highlight: Christmas! With Q4 and Christmas being the most important time for many brands, it is also the most important time for social media platforms. It is the time when they are rolling out new features or concepts and are helping brands to better reach their (pot.) customers.
Improving their own social commerce capabilities is a major point on every platform's agenda and Pinterest marked off some timely ToDos right before Christmas.
Improving the Social Storefront
One the essential differentiators between just window shopping and buying is inspiration. The ability to discover and experience products easily is key. Pinterest made some interesting changes and additions to enable exactly this.
Merchant Storefront Profile
An updated profile enables brands to transform their shop tab into a storefront with featured in-stock products organized by category, featured product groups and dynamically-created recommendations.
A feature we all know from Instagram is the ability of brands to tag their own products in scene images. Pinterest is now testing this as well to make it more seamless for shoppers to shop from this scene and make that inspiration a reality.
Product Catalog improvements
Product catalogues are quintessential for any brand or retailer with huge amounts of different products. On Pinterest it is now simpler to upload those catalogues as well as keep them up to date with scheduling mechanics. IKEA used this functionality recently to upload over 130.000 products.
Collections are becoming an ad format
With the aforementioned ability to upload huge amounts of products, Pinterest is combining this with its current collection feature transforming this into its own ad format. Brands can now select a main asset and a corresponding product group to create an inspiring, multi-image ad unit. Additionally, Pinterest is launching the option to use video as a hero in a Collections ad unit to further tell a brand story.
Introducing a visualization tool a more granular look into conversion performance is now possible. Brand can see how customers are completing their path to purchase - all summarized in a familiar funnel.
None of those features are game-breaking for advertisers as most of them are already known from other social media platforms. However they further solidify Pinterest position as significant part of a brands own social storefront.
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As all events these days, the Facebook Marketing Summit 2020 was in full grip of the Covid-19 pandemic. Turned fully digital, we were in the convenient situation of leaning back in our remote office chairs and listening to the (marketing wise) most important topics to Facebook. Those were quite diverse, however we want to focus on one particular issue in this blog post: "discovery commerce". Under this term Facebook is fusing multiple topics which are happening within our behaviour as consumers as well as the commerce space.
The shift towards online shopping is happening for quite some time now and the global pandemic has simply accelerated this shift. For advertisers this is a significant disruption as it changes the consumer journey as we know it: “Instead of consumers finding their preferred products, their products are finding them.” While e-commerce comes directly in mind when thinking about online shopping, it is already established and limited on searching and purchasing through a website. Customers will mainly encounter products they already know and are actively seeking out. However, it needs way more to create demand in this new reality. That's where "discovery commerce" shines. It lets "products find people so they can discover (and potentially buy) things they are most likely to love".
To help a company’s products find the right people, Facebook is supplying a set of tools within its “discovery engine”. Those are clustered in four pillars:
“Nobody knows your customers better than you.”. In other words: If you know who your customers are (CRM, Tracking etc.) or what characteristics they have (interest, behaviour etc), Facebook is offering ways to utilize this data to target specific audiences most relevant to you.
Sophisticated Advertising Tools
“...with some help from machine learning…”. With its algorithmic power Facebook is able to utilize the various signals advertisers are getting back to constantly improve optimization and hence becomes better at “turning desire into demand”.
Engaging Shopping Experiences
“...with your own digital storefront, people can be easily moved from discovery to purchase…”. Facebook and its family of apps is already the digital place where people are engaging with your brand and products. Enabling them to nearly frictionless take the next step, offers great potential.
Secure Data Handling
As data security is being watched more carefully from various stakeholders, Facebook is highlighting the system being rooted in privacy.
Why do we find this so interesting:
First of all, it appears that someone at Facebook is closely following our blog: Having a top view, Facebook is offering its own perspective on the importance of social commerce. They are simply dressing the topic within a facebooky wording.
To be honest we believe this is quite a smart choice:
With Facebook running ads (even on competitor networks) about discovery commerce, we know they are really serious about the topic. The considerable push we can expect for social commerce in general will be great for everyone! We are excited to see what they are able to accomplish!
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Sources: 1.) https://www.facebook.com/business/c/discovery-commerce 2.) Turn on discovery commerce - Driving demand through shopping serendipity
Huge digital malls with unlimited storefronts: strength and weakness at the same time. The need to stand out from the crowd. This is a lot to process, so let us compare it to something we know and understand quite well: actual malls.
For many of us malls were a place to hang out, windowshop and of course buy products. We used to spend whole afternoons in malls, strolling through the hallways, trying to figure out which of the many storefronts is worth visiting. Changing the perspective to the shop owners. We see that they face their own set of challenges. What is best shown in the storefront to entice people to come in. Which of my products attract the most people? How to best allocate shelf space between my various suppliers? Who are the people who just windowshop and who are the actual buyers?
Social Media platforms recognize the challenges for both the consumer and the brands/shops. With their advertising capabilities they are offering tangible value to both. As a consumer I can configure what kind of advertising I want to see and get advertising that is relevant to me and as a brand/shop I can identify the people with the highest value to me and showcase them the products with the highest value to them.
The advertising possibilities on the social media platforms are constantly evolving and getting more complex. To understand what is actually possible is the first step in escaping the social storefront dilemma. As we are trying to help you navigate, we compiled some of the most important features.
Targeting - Reaching the user that is most relevant to you
This is a bold claim, however with their walled garden structure and the ability to collect user data, social media platforms are in a good position to actually meet that. All platforms have their own capabilities (with differing degrees of sophistication), but we can cluster them into 3 categories:
Ad formats - The ubiquitous storefront
Knowing the right customers is only part of the equation, as they need to be aware of the brand and products. This is where social media platforms shine. They created dedicated ad formats for specific advertising goals. From discovery and experience to consideration and purchase: users are in specific mindsets making ad formats specifically designed for those mindsets more successful. Looking at the most recent trends in social media advertising we see some interesting trends:
Algorithms - The almighty blackbox
Social media is almost a synonym for strong algorithms affecting our daily lives in 2020. In terms of advertising those algorithms are often mystified with their inscrutable ways. The platforms are of course anxious about keeping their proprietary algorithms as secret as possible. When managing many campaigns and understanding their workings though, the impact of those algorithms on the outcome is undeniable. However, as it is the case with every tool, you need to understand how it works and how it is supposed to be used. One of the key trends of the past years is the land grab by the social platforms. They requested ever more control to be passed to their algorithms and were taking it away from brands/shops. It is imperative though, that even if these autopilot systems work well, brands/shops do need to understand their workings to leverage them for their own objectives.
The social storefront dilemma is something every brand has to overcome. Getting the required visibility for one’s own brands and products is a real challenge, but with the right usage of their efficient advertising tools social media platforms are offering the right path to drive actual return!
What social platforms are offering is unprecedented in many ways: They have the place, form and tools to showcase the right brand and product to the right customer in the right way.
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Within our last blog posts we learned some fundamental things characterizing social commerce. Summing it up briefly: Social Commerce offers unlimited storefronts to let users discover, experience and purchase products! In this blog post we want to dive deeper into the implications of those infinite virtual shopping streets.
Hearing the term "unlimited social storefront" is great as it solves a huge challenge for physical storefronts. If you wanted to be successful back in the times, you better have a storefront at the high-street, otherwise you struggled in reaching potential customers and letting them discover your products. Social platforms solve this challenge as brands are able to build their own social storefront without major limitations.
However the biggest strength of this unlimited social storefront is also its biggest challenge: It is not limited for anyone. Since there are virtually no barriers to entry, every brand, big or small, can utilize this potential to engage with customers and let them experience the brand and products. These substantially lowered barriers to entry also mean that competition moved from the group of shops which clustered around high-street to a national, regional or even global set of players.
To have the ability to showcase brand and products is great, it will not lead to anything by itself though. You need to reach the right people and catch their attention as well. But with our attention being limited, this is the much harder part. On the one hand our attention is limited naturally, as there are only 24h a day of which a large part is already consumed by activities like sleep and work. On the other hand, platforms are actively managing how we "spend" our attention and there is a good reason for that. The time we are spending on their properties and the attention we are offering are the most valuable resources the platforms have. Our data for example is also highly valuable, however, this is mainly a product of us spending our attention. Keeping in mind how most platforms finance themselves, namely advertising, it is obvious why they are actively limiting organic reach.
Of course we are all commercial beings and we prefer to get stuff for free! However there is a significant upside to paying social media platforms for ads. Advertisers are not just getting more reach, they get equipped with much better ways of addressing and capturing users attention. Hence getting real opportunities to overcome the social storefront dilemma!
If you want to learn more about the advertising possibilities social media platforms are offering, come by and read our next blog post!
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We are living in strange times. Technology is changing our lives at unprecedented rates and is offering opportunities we could only dream about 30 years ago. Maybe this extreme pace is one of the reasons why we like to dwell in memories of the past. One particular decade many of us like to think back to and that is influencing our lives again is the 90s. Especially the younger generations like not only to dress like the 90s but to shop like they are in the 90s. Do you remember the hay-day of QVC and HSE 24? Live TV-Shopping is back! At least somewhat and with a significant technological spin on it. Of course we are not watching TV anymore, we are watching livestreams on social media!
China is the trailblazer once again and for two years now, Chinese companies, influencers and everyone else who has something to offer is using livestreams to advertise their own products. Even the Chinese government has voiced its support, calling the industry the "new engine" of e-commerce growth.
With China leading the way, the US are of course the next in line following this footsteps. With "NTWRK" a new player is entering the livestream market: "Our goal is to become a massive marketplace". NTWRK is combining the power of engaging content and the influencers creating it, with desirable and exclusive products. Those products are limited in number and availability time frame, increasing their desirability and leading to high velocity in transactions.
Those opportunities did not go unnoticed by the big players in the social commerce market. Amazon has a streaming platform, which hosts daily live shows on fitness, makeup, cooking etc. The hosts are talking about certain topics and matching products are shown directly below the video. Easy to access, easy to purchase.
With its "Shops" feature Facebook is going down a similar route. They are making it easier to shop for products in real time. Sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase.
As live-streaming becomes more popular it will be only a matter of time until more platforms will be offering similar product integrations into their streaming possibilities.
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Social commerce is quite a popular term, with a lot of varying angles and perspectives. Loosely defined it is the digital selling of products utilizing social media like features (e.g. for product discovery and experience). This plurality of perspectives culminates in as many approaches to social commerce. The underlying premise is what they all have in common: Leverage our changing behaviour patterns for improved and immersive commerce solutions.
On the forefront are the big social media platforms (like Facebook or Snapchat), which are already great at letting users discover and experience products. With features like dynamic product ads or in app checkouts they are constantly improving their own on-platform and off-platform commerce offering. Then we have players like Verishop. They are building a marketplace, but to improve the experience they are adding features like feeds and are hence adopting a more social media like look and feel.
Shopify, one of the leading providers of e-commerce software, is actively encouraging its customers to experiment with social commerce, as this is a great way to connect with and sell to customers. Walmart, another major retail player, is taking this approach to the next level. They are not just thinking about how they can utilize social media platforms, but are exploring a potential purchase of TikTok US. Effectively becoming a major social commerce player themselves. They even renewed their interest after their initial bid, which was jointly with Microsoft, was rejected by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Those are just some examples of the many approaches to social commerce. We compiled some articles below, in case you want to dive deeper.
Facebook is making it easier to shop and sell within its apps
Facebook just took the next step to becoming more of a digital mall. After Instagram Shops, Facebook is now announcing the expansion to Facebook Shops. The Shop is aimed to be a new place to discover businesses and shop for products in the Facebook/Instagram app. Businesses can easily set up their own store and showcase their products. While Facebook is getting the Shops starter kit, Instagram will go into the next phase. With Checkout it will enable users to make a purchase in just a few taps. All of this happens without actually leaving the app.
Snapchat’s ‘dynamic ads’ product for e-commerce retailers rolls out worldwide
With it's latest ad product launch, Dynamic Ads, Snapchat is also delving deeper into social commerce. This ad product allows advertisers to automatically create ads in real time using the brands own product catalog. As known from other platforms, advertisers don’t have to spend time manually creating their advertisement to fit Snapchat’s vertical format, but instead, sync their product catalog with the social platform and allow Snap to build their ads in real time. Early results of this new format have been very promising, with advertisers seeing significant ROAS increases.
Verifshop adopts a social network strategy from China
Looking at digital commerce and an effective omni-channel approach, social media platforms are a natural next step. Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat are constantly working on ways to improve the shopping experience for its users. Verishop however is entering the social commerce sphere the other way around. It is an e-commerce site that specifically offers social elements like a personalized feed to let it's user have a social shopping experience. This approach is not new and has led to great success for dominating Chinese e-commerce players like Alibaba.
How social commerce is enabling retailers to be part of their customers’ life
Social commerce is the perfect opportunity for retailers of all stripes to dive in, experiment with social shopping, and emerge ahead of the curve. The ability to showcase the brand and products exactly where people spend much of their time to discover things they are interested in, is combined with fast and easy purchasing flows making social commerce a great place to combine product discovery and sales.
What a Walmart-Microsoft bid for TikTok could mean for e-commerce
The potential (forced) sale or technology partnership of TikTok’s US operations to or with a local partner has dominated the tech headlines for the past weeks. One of the more interesting suitors is Walmart. While this sounds strange initially, there are solid business reasons behind it. The retail landscape has shifted dramatically and Walmart's move is just the latest in a string of maneuvers in which retailers try to adjust their ways of selling products in the digital world. On top of the direct path to the customer, transaction data is the other big asset of owning a social media platform. While it currently needs to be shared with Facebook or Google, a world where Walmart is able to effectively reach and serve its customers through an omni-channel approach as well as provide a viable platform for its third party brands to advertise on, opens a whole new set of opportunities.
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When browsing through our page, you quickly realize: cmmrcl.ly is a bunch of people who like bright colors as well as c's and m's. While this might be correctly observed, this is just a scratch on the surface with much more underneath!
Founded in the heart of St. Pauli/Hamburg we could not imagine a better place to embody our values. We are not about the fancy and superficial. We are about hard work, great products, partnerships and above all generating real results! Those are the things that truly matter to us! What we do is help advertisers to benefit from a highly dynamic, rapidly accelerating social commerce sphere.
Social commerce is at the heart of intersecting fundamental changes within our behavior as consumers. On one hand the brick-and-mortar businesses erode and sales shift more and more towards digital channels. On the other hand we have a drastic change in media consumption with all of us spending more of our free time on social media platforms than ever before. These changes have not gone by unnoticed by those platforms and they are evolving how we discover and shop for brands: Instagram is a digital mall offering the full spectrum from on-platform storefront to in-app checkout allowing an immersive, seamless shopping experience!
Social commerce with cmmrcl.ly?
These changes in our purchase behaviour force businesses to rethink their sales channels and processes. This transition is where we help with our knowledge and product offering. We help you to realise incremental sales from social commerce and orchestrate these with all other sales channels.
Putting our money where our nordish months are, we will align all your sales channels and deliver result-based advertising measures along your ROI targets across Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter, TikTok, Google and the programmatic world!
The upcoming decade offers enticing new opportunities and we are already excited about helping our clients take advantage of them!
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Welcome to our blog! We are happy you found your way to us. Within this space we are covering all things social commerce: From current trends to new features, talking about everything that excites us!