Social commerce has become a major force in the world of online sales. In the past, people used to shop on eCommerce platforms like Amazon or eBay, or they would have to visit your business’ website directly. Today, they are more likely than ever to find and purchase products directly through social media channels.
This trend has been fueled by the rise of payment links and integrations on social platforms, which allow consumers to find and shop for products right from their social feeds. This also allows small businesses to sell their products on social media without having to invest in a full eCommerce website.
In this article, we will explore how to use payment links on all your social media channels as a small business to get started and boost your social commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is simply online shopping via social platforms. Unlike traditional eCommerce, where you would visit a business website through a web browser, social commerce allows users to find products and services by engaging with the social platforms, and either add them to a shopping cart and checking out while still in the app or clicking through to an online store or hosted payment page.
Some of the benefits of tapping into social commerce include:
Increased sales: Social commerce can lead to increased sales as it allows businesses to reach a wider audience and leverage the influence and virality of social media to promote their products and services. Built-in algorithms enable users to find you, so you can reach your customers much faster than SEO efforts for search engines alone.
Enhanced customer engagement: Social platforms can be a two way conversation that allows you to better engage with customers in a more personalized way, responding to their questions, concerns, and feedback in real-time. For example, easily respond to TikTok comments on a previous video with a video response, giving your customer a visually engaging experience that might reach other customers as well. The ability to enable and respond to comments gives you unique insights and prompts for product or service information and address pain points a wider audience can relate to.
Greater customer loyalty: Social commerce can help businesses build stronger relationships with their customers by creating a sense of community and providing a more seamless and convenient shopping experience. There is social accountability on these platforms, but also the ability to tag and praise businesses and products with raving reviews and authentic experiences which go a long way for word-of-mouth marketing efforts.
Lower marketing costs: Social media platforms are generally less expensive than traditional advertising channels, making it a cost-effective way for businesses to market their products and services. While targeted ads can run up a small fortune, you have the ability to grow a social media presence and audience and even the opportunity to go viral- for free!
Improved customer insights: Social media provides businesses with a wealth of data on app and platform specific customer preferences, behaviors, and interactions, which can be used to refine marketing strategies and optimize product offerings.
If you’re not already using Tiktok and Instagram to find your next restaurant recommendation or product review, you should know that as a business your younger audiences are, and even Google is starting to reflect social results when users search for terms and social platforms together.
Challenges of Social Commerce
Despite the impressive boom in China, social commerce has been met with an underwhelming lukewarm embrace in North America among consumers.
A 2022 survey conducted by Accenture on over 10,000 consumers found that 41% of eCommerce shoppers were hesitant to use social commerce due to fears about authenticity and product quality, compared to 23% of consumers who used social commerce.
The top two concerns in the survey were associated with trust, especially when it comes to returns and chargebacks. Accenture explains the biggest hurdle and factor in tapping into these markets and building brand and social trust is nailing the basics such as seamless purchase protection and refunds, quality checks and reliable order fulfillment.
In Hootsuite’s 2023 Social Trends Report, “When networks and vendors do overcome that trust barrier, social shoppers are very sticky and reliable repeat buyers.” Other key findings spoke to higher loyalty and greater trust in social commerce and vendors therafters once customers took the leap of faith.
How to Get started using Social Commerce using payment links
If you are new to social commerce, or even Ecommerce, there are several integrations available for businesses like yours.
Hosted Payment Pages
You don't have to invest time or money in hiring a developer to create a tailor-made way to accept online payments on your website. Helcim’s Hosted Payment Pages allow you to select the information fields you wish to gather, specify the payment amount, and personalize the appearance of the page to reflect your brand, all without requiring any coding or developer assistance.
Best for: Merchants who already have a website but no payment gateway.
Since you already have your social media and Google profile pages, you can easily leverage a checkout page to get your products out there without creating a whole new website. These pages combine content management and payment tools to seamlessly provide a fast checkout experience for both you (no more lost DMs!) and for your customers— all just a few clicks from your social media platform.
Best for: Merchants who only have social media and need a product catalog and checkout page.
Through code and APIs, merchant developers can build their ecommerce stack and create a more customized online payment experience for their customers. The only thing they don’t want to do, is to code more or spend too much dev time building a payment experience from the ground up. Businesses with developers can leverage HelcimPay.JS which is a prebuilt payment flow, offering a hassle-free solution for integrating payments into any website or app. With its end-to-end design and straightforward copy-and-paste code, developers can save valuable time while implementing this feature.
Best for: A merchant who has a developer on their team or is looking for a more customizable payment experience that could integrate well for your website, platform or app.
What is a Payment Link?
A payment link is a URL that directs customers to a payment gateway. It enables small businesses to sell their products directly through social media channels. With a payment link, small businesses can create a simple product page like the Helcim Online Checkout that allows customers to purchase products with a few clicks.
Payment links are easy to create and share, and they give you the ability to link to an online checkout page from your Google profile, social profiles, and even your website if you already have one.
Benefits of Using Payment Links
Using payment links to sell products on social media has several benefits for small businesses. For one, you can reach your customers with natural product placement where they are most— on their phones browsing social media.
Here are some of the key advantages:
Cost-Effective: Payment links are a cost-effective solution for small businesses that want to sell products online. They do not require any investment in a full e-commerce website or shopping cart software. Payment links can be created and shared for free or at a minimal cost.
Easy to Use: Payment links are easy to create and share. Small businesses can create a product page with a description, image, and price in a matter of minutes(especially using Helcim templates!). The payment link can then be shared on social media channels or sent to customers via email or messaging apps.
Increased Sales: Payment links can help small businesses increase sales by making it easy for customers to purchase products directly from social media channels. With a payment link, customers do not have to leave the social media platform to make a purchase leading to increased conversion rates and a reduction in customer attrition and abandoned shopping carts.
Flexibility: Payment links are flexible and can be used to sell a variety of products. Small businesses can create payment links for individual products or collections of products. They can also use payment links to sell digital products, subscriptions, or services.
How to Create a Payment Link
Creating a payment link is easy and straightforward. Here are the steps:
1. Choose a Payment Provider
2. Set Up a Product Page
The next step is to set up a product page that includes a description, image, and price of the product. This can be done using a website builder or an e-commerce platform like the Helcim Online Checkout.
3. Generate a Payment Link
Once the product page is set up, the payment link can be generated using the payment gateway. This link can be shared on social media channels or sent to customers via email or messaging apps.
Where to Use Payment Links on Social Media Channels
Once the payment link is created, it can be shared on all social media channels to reach potential customers.
Here are some tips on how to use payment links on social media channels:
Add the payment link to your social media bio so that customers can easily access it. This is especially useful for Instagram, where only one link can be added to the bio. You can also add payment links on posts to promote your products. Include an eye-catching image and a short description of the product to attract customers and take advantage of social media advertising to promote your payment links to a wider audience.
Additional integrations to consider
The most obvious integration for social commerce is with social media platforms themselves. Popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer built-in shopping features like shopping tags, that allow businesses to showcase their products and services directly on their social media pages.
Customers can seamlessly navigate through Instagram’s shopping tags, shop tab, ads, and even place orders through a direct private message — all without leaving the platform.
Instagram also offers the ability to add a link such as a payment link in your bio which can bring customers to an online store or hosted checkout page.
E-commerce platforms: Many e-commerce platforms offer integrations with social media platforms, allowing businesses to easily set up social commerce features on their e-commerce websites.
This can help streamline the buying process for customers and make it easier for businesses to manage their social commerce efforts.
Payment gateways: Payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe offer integrations with social media platforms and e-commerce websites, making it easy for businesses to accept payments directly on social media pages and e-commerce websites. If you’re looking for an easier way to integrate a payment page without as many technical barriers Helcim offers a hosted payment page which is a straightforward and quick way to setup a checkout page without the need for developers or coding.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools: CRM tools like HubSpot and Salesforce offer integrations with social media platforms, allowing businesses to manage customer interactions and track customer data across multiple channels and to nurture those leads, including social media. You can also look for a payment provider with built-in Customer management tools to integrate with your other payment tools at no additional cost.
Marketing automation tools: Marketing automation tools like Hootsuite and Buffer offer integrations with social media platforms, making it easy for businesses to manage their social media presence and schedule posts in advance.
By leveraging these integrations, businesses can create a seamless social commerce experience for customers and streamline their social commerce efforts, ultimately driving more sales and enhancing customer engagement.
Social Commerce: Key Takeaways for Small Businesses
Social commerce is a game-changer for online sales by providing online shopping via social platforms, which allows users to find products and services by engaging with the social platforms directly.
It also allows small businesses to sell products on social media platforms without investing in an entire e-commerce website.
Some benefits of social commerce include:
- Increased sales
- Enhanced customer engagement
- Greater customer loyalty, lower marketing costs
- Improved customer insights
In this blog, we learned that when navigating the common industry challenges of social commerce, businesses must focus on nailing the basics, such as prioritizing seamless purchase protection and refunds, quality checks, and reliable order fulfillment.
And if you’re new to social commerce? It’s easy to get started using social commerce using payment links with several integrations available for businesses like yours, including Hosted Payment Pages, Online Checkout, and Helcim Pay.JS.
By implementing the tools and tips outlined in this blog, small businesses can leverage their social media channels to get started and boost their social commerce quickly and start bringing in sales from this new market opportunity.