In an era when people expect gratification with just a click or two, shoppable content is no longer just a trend but a must-have for eCommerce. An eCommerce site with shoppable content makes for a smooth, quick shopping experience without interruptions and annoyances that can hinder a sale.
With shoppable content, you can draw attention to your top selling products online and highlight new merchandise and products that need more promotion.
Let’s take a closer look at shoppable content, its role in eCommerce marketing and the different ways you can apply it to your business.
• Shoppable content: a must for eCommerce
• What is social commerce?
• Can shoppable content work for non-retail businesses?
• Types of shoppable content
• How to make shoppable content
• Get back-end and marketing support from Thrive
Shoppable Content: A Must for eCommerce
What is shoppable content? Shoppable content is any content that allows people to buy products or services directly from the said content. It offers customers a seamless online buying experience, from discovering a product for the first time to putting it in their cart and checking it out.
This type of content is distinguishable by product tags: small, clickable icons bearing a product’s price. They can also expand to show a product’s thumbnail, name and price. Product tags are usually overlaid on shoppable content so viewers cannot miss them.
When created with marketing flair, shoppable content can boost the sales of your top selling products online and strengthen your overall digital marketing efforts.
But before jumping headlong into shoppable content, let’s briefly talk about the social side of eCommerce.
What Is Social Commerce?
Social commerce marries traditional eCommerce with social media. It enhances the shopping experience by making the buyer’s journey seamless, from awareness to decision-making. Of course, it can occur outside of social media platforms, but the process is still heavily entrenched in social behaviors.
Answering the question, “what is social commerce?” ties into this discussion on shoppable content because shopping, while a personal choice, has become a highly social activity. People always ask for recommendations from friends and family and seek purchasing inspiration around them. In addition, the urge to buy a product increases when people see how popular it is, more so when they see that someone they know liked the post.
When social interactions and the resulting transaction all happen on social media sites, social media eCommerce takes place.
eCommerce had already been integrating with social, but as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the growth of social media eCommerce accelerated in the last two years ( Instagram and Facebook, for one, developed Shops in 2020 to help small businesses weather the economic impact of the pandemic). Ecommerce websites are adapted by creating social media accounts, linking their accounts to their websites and redesigning their websites to show more pictures, gifs and videos – just like a social media feed.
Can Shoppable Content Work for Non-Retail Businesses?
Definitely. Shoppable social media is not exclusive to retail. Shoppable content is, in fact, visual marketing, so it’s all about showing your target audience how your products or services can improve their lives.
Here are some examples of how business-to-business (B2B) and non-retail businesses can attract leads through shoppable content:
• A home services company can sell the idea of a comfortable home life.
• A family dental clinic can use images of their staff getting along very well with toddler patients.
• A wellness company offering workout programs can use video clips and high-quality stills of their trainers and students.
• A business process outsourcing (BPO) company can showcase its company values, culture, the quality of its equipment and location.
• A company offering computer numerical control (CNC) machining services can use videos of its machines and production lines in motion to demonstrate its capabilities.
The possibilities of marketing with shoppable content are endless, and this alone makes it essential to eCommerce today.
Let’s now look at shoppable content examples you can create and apply to your online marketing.
Types of Shoppable Content
Here are the three main types of shoppable content:
• Images: product photos, social media posts, images in e-zines and magazines
• Videos: promotional videos, sponsored videos, video ads
• Articles: blogs, reviews, guest posts, feature articles
Shoppable pictures are the easiest to create mainly because product photos are more common than promotional product videos. It’s also easy to find a shoppable content platform that supports shoppable images. Social media sites are one – we’ll discuss shoppable social media later in the article.
(sample: Revlon IG)
You’ll often find shoppable video content as ads on video streaming sites. Video ads give customers a vivid picture of your products’ or services’ benefits. They can tell stories your customers strongly relate to in just a few seconds. A strong emotional response plus a conveniently-placed “Buy now” button is a recipe for high conversions.
(sample: Vimeo ad on YT)
Shoppable articles let readers add a product to cart without interrupting their reading experience; including both shoppable images and videos. Net-A-Porter does an excellent job of this on their website.
(sample: https://www.net-a-porter.com/en-gb/porter/article-8dd9e9875ff076d7/jewelry-watches/fine-jewelry/how-to-layer-necklaces?cm_sp=topnav-_-editorial-_-today-on-porter-1 )
The Benefits of Shoppable Content
If you’re not yet putting out shoppable content, you should reconsider, or you’ll miss out on their benefits for eCommerce:
Shoppable Content Shortens Your Sales Funnel
The typical eCommerce sales funnel looks like this: a buyer searches for a product on Google or social media. They find something promising, like a review blog or a social media post. From there, they find a link to the product page. The buyer checks out the product details and then adds the item to their cart. When they’re ready to buy, they checkout and input their payment method, this process takes at least five clicks.
Search engine / Social media search bar > article / post > product page > add to cart > checkout
With shoppable content, a buyer sees a photo or video of a product they’re interested in. They click on the product tag to check the price. Next, they will then click on the link to the product page to add the item to their cart and later to checkout. This takes four clicks, max.
Shoppable content > product tag > add to cart > checkout
If a shoppable content platform also hosts your shop (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, your eCommerce site), buyers can add the product to their cart without leaving the page. This shrinks the sales funnel down to two or three clicks.
Shoppable content > add to cart > checkout (whenever the buyer is ready)
A short sales funnel benefits from a customer’s urge to impulse buy. This leads us to the next benefit of shoppable content.
Shoppable Content Enables Instant Purchases
Let’s revisit the example earlier for shoppable video content, an ad for a content creation platform. Since the video is carefully crafted with a strong marketing intent, its target viewers will find it enticing. Moreover, with the CTA button visible throughout the advertisement, its target viewers will be tempted to at least check it out. For some, it will take very little to convince them to proceed to checkout.
Shoppable Content Increases Conversions and Sales
The ease and speed of adding a product to a cart are sometimes all it takes for people to buy online. This is how shoppable videos, images and articles increase ad click-throughs, conversions and sales.
A Baymard Institute study shows that one in five online shoppers abandon their carts if the checkout process is too long or complicated. The fewer the steps to checkout, the less likely customers will change their minds about buying.
Shoppable Content Increases Organic Traffic, Repeat Customers and Brand Loyalty
In 2019, Accenture surveyed over 20,000 consumers from 19 countries about their online shopping experiences. One key finding was that poor browsing and purchasing processes frustrate online shoppers. Forty-seven percent of the “frustrated consumers” said they avoided brands and businesses that gave them that experience.
Shoppable content removes the need for browsing, and the straight-to-cart feature ensures that the buying process goes without a hitch. As a result, customers enjoy a hassle-free buying experience, encouraging them to follow the brand, bookmark the eCommerce store and buy from there again.
Now that you know about shoppable content and how it is useful to eCommerce marketing, here’s how you can create them.
How To Make Shoppable Content
We can categorize the ways to make the shoppable content examples above into two: via social media shopping platforms or through a website.
1. Make shoppable video content, shoppable image posts and shoppable logo on social media.
Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok and Pinterest are good places to start. These shoppable social media sites support many shoppable content examples, like in-feed posts, carousels and videos.
• Instagram (IG)
Scroll down your Instagram feed, and you’ll soon see the different types of shoppable content Instagram supports, like stories, carousels and ads. You can, however, only create shoppable content Instagram if you have an Instagram business account. A shoppable logo will appear on the upper right corner of a post when viewed from an IG page.
• Facebook (FB)
Thanks to FB-IG integration, IG stories with product tags can appear on a Facebook page (but first, you must link your IG and Facebook business accounts and add a Shop. It’s a granular process, so it would be helpful to have experienced social media managers set this up for you).
You’ll also be able to make shoppable in-feed posts from your Facebook page. These posts have a shoppable logo, a tiny shopping bag at the upper left corner of the first image.
Shoppable pins are a type of rich pin that is native to Pinterest. This feature allows users to sync content from their websites with their Pinterest boards.
Creating shoppable pins, however, is a bit more complicated than Instagram or Facebook. First you’ll need to add some code to each product page you want to promote on Pinterest (except if your site host is Etsy, Teachers Pay Teachers or eBay). Pinterest provides the code on its site. If you have little experience with website coding, however, we strongly recommend getting a social media marketing agency that also offers digital marketing services to help you with this.
TikTok is currently one of the most popular shoppable video platforms for businesses. However, you’ll first need to install TikTok Shopping, an in-app feature that allows you to add a product pin of an inventoried item to your TikTok uploads.
YouTube may be built differently, but it enables social media shopping more effectively than other platforms. The easiest way to make your videos shoppable is to add product page links in the description box.
YouTube recently upped its social commerce game, however, with shoppable ads. Each ad has an expandable CTA window where you can show your top selling products online, their prices and an add-to-cart button. To make these shoppable ads, you’ll need a Google Merchant Center account and sync it with your video ads. Google paid ads specialists should be able to help you set these accounts correctly and as quickly as possible.
2. Make shoppable blogs.
The best shoppable content platform for articles is your eCommerce site. First, review your published blogs and make the ones with the highest traffic shoppable. Then, add product images with a Shop Now button that links to the corresponding product page beneath each one. Finally, consider investing in third-party WordPress plugins, if you want more dynamic, in-image or in-video product tags for your shoppable blogs.
If your eCommerce site doesn’t have a blog yet, now’s a good time to start one. Ideate articles that will give you plenty of opportunities to insert shoppable media, such as product overviews or product highlights, guest review articles and authoritative articles about topics related to the products or services you sell.
The number of businesses that will make use of shoppable platforms will only increase. These best practices can help you stand out or at least maximize the impact of your existing shoppable content:
• Invest in quality and story-telling. For example, ideate editorial-style product photos and graphic explainer videos showing ideal, aspirational scenarios that are irresistible to your target market.
• Invest in shoppable ads on social media.
• Set up your social media shops correctly so your customers can have a truly seamless social media shopping experience in just two to three clicks.
• Make shoppable ads on Instagram look organic so they can blend into your followers’ feeds. Seventy-four percent of social media consumers are tired of seeing so many ads, but 51 percent click on those that interest them. Ads that strike a balance between promotional and organic are the shoppable content Instagram users will want to engage.
• Put shoppable media on your homepage to draw attention to the product or service whose sales you want to increase.
Grow Your Business by Going Shoppable
The socialization of eCommerce is inevitable, and businesses that already have one foot in social media eCommerce have an advantage over those that haven’t utilized it at all. Of course, social media-savvy businesses that have already integrated shoppable content into their eCommerce sites and social media accounts have the most advantage.
At a time when businesses are flocking to establish their presence online, the ability to implement shoppable content into your business processes as quickly as possible has become even more important.
Social media developers designed easy-to-use business platforms, but they are more convenient for businesses that are just starting out. The more digital assets you have, like a website with over five thousand pages, the longer it takes to manually put together a shoppable shop and site. It would be more cost-efficient to take advantage of professional social media marketing services for social commerce campaigns.
Get Back-End and Marketing Support from Thrive
Thrive’s social media and eCommerce specialists understand what is social commerce and how to go shoppable. We study each client’s unique situation and determine how to get the best results from our tried-and-tested methods. Many have benefited from our social media marketing services because we are flexible, adaptable and innovative even as we follow the industry’s best practices and understand how shoppable video platforms work.
With Thrive as your social media marketing agency, you can effectively turn your eCommerce marketing into a sales generation tool. Get started with Thrive.
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