The Short Answer for Choosing the Right Platform
If you find yourself asking which eCommerce platform provides the best tools and support for integration with social media, then the short and sweet answer is – it depends. It depends on what social media site you want to access, the type of product you want to sell, and what back-end capabilities will provide digital data you can actually utilize. It also depends on your tolerance for plugins and add-ons that can integrate your business with social media where direct tools are lacking.
To put more context behind this response, we are taking an in-depth look at three social media channels and the eCommerce platforms that work best with each one.
Platforms that Best Connect to Facebook
WooCommerce’s direct line of communication to Facebook is through its Facebook for WooCommerce extension. This extension provides two ways to integrate your online store with Facebook. First, the platform’s Facebook Ad Extension allows eCommerce companies to target Facebook users, through ads, after the user visits a company’s website. The shopper will see advertising, pulled from the WooCommerce site, for the specific products he or she viewed on the site, which can be a strong reminder to make a purchase.
Second, Facebook for WooCommerce also has a set of features called Facebook Shops on Pages. This integration gives WooCommerce users the ability to sell merchandise directly from their Facebook business page. Inventory and product changes that happen on your WooCommerce site are mirrored on this Facebook page and updated without any extra effort by the user.
The integration options from WooCommerce are among the most efficient, but every eCommerce platform now offers some integration for social media that is applicable to Facebook. The reason Facebook is the focus for all the big eCommerce platforms? It has proven to be one of the best channels for targeted marketing and data collection. Through both its business pages and paid advertising, Facebook allows eCommerce companies to only pay for ads to users that fit relevant demographics.
Other eCommerce platforms that provide strong integration with Facebook are Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento. In particular, Shopify offers direct integration with Facebook’s Shop section. This allows Shopify users to browse products and make purchases without leaving Facebook. On the back-end, the changes to a Shopify store are automatically reflected on the business’s Facebook page, in a manner very similar to Facebook for WooCommerce.
Options for Integration with Social Media Image Giant Instagram
It is impossible to ignore Instagram’s current power and popularity for marketing eCommerce products. There are an estimated 800 million active users on the social media site every month, and many are potential customers for an eCommerce company. Plus, the image-based channel works well for highlighting a specific product or setting up a promotion.
Ever since Instagram introduced paid advertising in 2013, it has experimented with several revisions and additions to its advertising platform. For example, 2015 saw the introduction of fully operational ads that included a “Shop Now” button below the post. Then, in early 2017, Instagram allowed paid advertisers to appear on its Shapchat-like feature called “Stories.” Stories is Instagram’s implementation of short video clips, shared among friends, but with an expiration date for viewing.
Several eCommerce platforms recognize Instagram’s unique capabilities for marketing online products and provide plugins and extensions for integration. For example, Magento offers an Instagram Integration Extension for Magento 2 that allows brands to create products in their store through posts on Instagram, provide a slider of Instagram posts on a Magento store, and manage aspects of their Instagram account from their Magento store. WooCommerce likewise has WooCommerce Instagram available as part of its line of “Social WooCommerce” extensions.
Instagram integration for eCommerce platform Volusion is slightly more complicated. Volusion requires plugins or apps, such as Zapier, to allow Instagram and your online store to communicate. These additional tools create the necessary channel of communication from store to Instagram, and back again. However, in the process, integration with social media requires some additional work.
Latest Tools for Integration with Instagram
Over time, Instagram has learned to capitalize on its image-driven success in the market and offer eCommerce companies more opportunity to sell directly through posts, but users were still required to direct traffic through a link their Instagram bio. From this link, a shopper could select a particular post and shop the items highlighted in that image. This brings us to late 2017 and Instagram’s decision to rollout clickable, shoppable advertising.
Previously, Instagram restricted its onsite integration with eCommerce platforms to a single link in the company’s Instagram bio. As detailed above, this requires several extra steps for a shopper. This complex process is slowly being phased out of Instagram’s business model, and the ability to shop directly from a post has arrived. For the two eCommerce platforms able to offer this latest integration with social media, Shopify and BigCommerce, it is a big step up against the competition for Instagram-sourced purchases.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce already offered excellent integration with Instagram through extensions and plugins, but the latest option vastly expands their capabilities. Through Instagram’s latest clickable posts, a Shopify or BigCommerce user can tag items from their store directly in the image. These tags are linked to the item’s product page, thus allowing a seamless and effortless transition between Instagram and purchase and ushering in a new phase of shopping integration with social media.
What About Snapchat?
Snapchat quickly grew from casual image-sharing app into a full-blown social media influencer in just a matter of months, although the concept was in development for much longer than that. Moreso than the other big social media channels, Snapchat’s rise was driven by a very young audience. It was the generation after Facebook’s first users that readily added Snapchat to their smartphones.
The demographics of Snapchat’s early users made it seem like a dubious option for advertising at first. Unlike the millennials, who are fully in the workforce and proving to be avid online shoppers, these latest social media users didn’t have any cash to spend. It wasn’t until Snapchat reached a broader audience that marketers began to move in, and, once settled in Snapchat’s feed, immediately set up camp.
To afford smoother integration with eCommerce, Snapchat introduced shoppable ads at the end of 2016. In early 2017, the social media platform created a full API for advertisers. One of the greatest features included is the potential to swipe once on an ad in Snapchat and arrive at the eCommerce product page or even a store checkout. Snapchat also offers the ability for users to opt into email lists or other lead generation materials with a single click in the app.
While Shopify has shown significant interest in the use of Snapchat, the functionality and API implemented by Snapchat is available for any eCommerce site. It is one of the few social media channels that has yet to pick a favorite among the eCommerce platforms.
Implementing Social Media Tools
Are you ready to improve all aspects of your brand’s social media integration? It helps to have a professional in eCommerce and social media marketing on your team, and the perfect partner is 1Digital Agency in Philadelphia. Visit our website to learn more about our eCommerce expertise and social media marketing.
- Dan Kogan
- October 25, 2017