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Social Shopping - 5 ways it will affect your e-commerce brand in 2024




From 24 April, Meta will be phasing out Shop accounts on its platforms, Instagram and Facebook that don’t support an in-app checkout. A significant step in their plan to become the sole checkout provider for Shops on Instagram and Facebook by 2025, globally.


The roll out this spring doesn’t affect the UK yet, but with other territories impacted from April it won't be long before UK e-commerce brands are forced to accept the idea of Meta keeping its customers on their platforms from discovery to purchase and never reaching their websites at all.


Brands’ Meta accounts without checkout-enabled will not be able to use some features, including tagging in organic posts, as well as creating lookalike audiences in ads retargeting those who have viewed their Shop.





It is no surprise that Meta are making this commercial move to monetise the organic sales that brands have been able to enjoy, commission-free on its platforms up until now. But as an e-commerce brand what are your options and how will it impact your online sales in the future?


You have two options - to opt-in and allow your feed to be shoppable and give customers a blended social/e-commerce experience. Or to convert to a ‘shop-less’ lookbook style feed, with customers having to then come to your website via the link in your bio to find items they are interested in.





Undoubtably, for any consumer an ‘instant shopping experience’ within their feeds will be the future of social shopping. By opting out you could see your social sales decline as you put a barrier between your social followers and your products. If you do choose to opt-out, using the link function in stories to directly link to products in your store and using multi-link functions, such as Linktree in your bio to enable you to signpost customers directly to core categories will be key.


Meta is also rolling out Live Shopping this year, with brands able to tag the products they are showcasing in their Live stream at the bottom of their screen, so viewers can add to cart whilst they view without having to leave the Live to purchase. Again, another tool from Meta that they will use to blur the lines between social and e-commerce on their platforms.


5 ways social shopping will impact your brand in 2024:

1. Brand messaging

If a consumer never reaches your website before making their purchase, will they have seen all your brand value touchpoints before purchase? Will they understand fit, design value and detail? Will be making a fully formed decision before purchasing that will not just convert to a sale, but a long-term customer? Social shopping may be great for driving frictionless low AOV, impulse purchases but for higher-value ticket items such as furniture or luxury fashion, buyers may not be ‘bought in’ to your brand value significantly enough through social alone.


2. Remarketing

Purchases made in-app will feed through to your e-commerce site without the option for consumers to opt-in to future marketing (compared to your online checkout process). Opportunities to further market to shoppers will be restricted to paid ads through Meta’s platforms, using remarketing strategies to reach your customers.


Not only is email marketing one of the highest ROI marketing channels for an e-commerce brand, but it also allows for personalisation and segmentation of your database, which remarketing ads don't.


Doubling down on the physical marketing sent out with orders will be a key focus to counter this. Enticing social shoppers to make their next purchase directly on your website will allow you to bring them into your own brand eco-system for sustainable, long-term marketing opportunities.


3. Upsell

If consumers do not visit your website to make their purchase, in-cart upsell or post-purchase cross-sell opportunities will be lost. A key opportunity many brands use to increase consumer's AOV and make an easy additional sale to already engaged consumers. Coupled with the inability to remarket via email as above, a significant increase in customer acquisition costs will be likely.





4. SEO

If 20-30% of your existing online sales are currently being referred from socials, if these consumers never reach your website it could impact your organic search rankings as Google will register a significant drop in traffic. Until the move to in-app checkout is rolled out we won’t know for sure how big this impact will be, but any drop in traffic to your site is going to negatively affect the visibility of your user analytics and insights into customer behaviour to inform your future user-experience design decisions.

5. Returns

Following on from point 1, if customers are not seeing size charts or fit guides on socials, but being swayed into ‘one-click’ purchases by an image or video alone, inevitably returns will increase as consumers are not making considered, informed purchases. Educational reels on style and fit, as well as fully descriptive captions and options to DM for more guidance before purchase will help.


Key-takeaway:

As an e-commerce brand you never want to put any barriers between your potential customers and a purchase, however when you opt in to Meta stopping your customers from ever reaching your site you may be enabling easier social purchases, but for long-term relationship building and growing your own 1st-party database, social shopping could present a barrier to you as a brand.


If you are interested in discussing how to strengthen you other marketing channels outside of socials - such as SMS and Email Marketing and Organic Search Visibility - get in touch


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