How Social Shopping is Taking Over the Retail Industry

And how Whym uses conversation to power the checkout process


The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the rise of e-commerce.

E-commerce is far from a new concept. Since the internet’s early days, consumers have taken to the web to conveniently shop for their favorite products. The internet acts as an efficient gateway for retailers to connect with potential customers and express their brand in entirely new ways, meeting consumers where they are, rather than forcing shoppers to come to them. But more recently, in the days since the pandemic, consumers have brought their entire lives online. The internet is where people meet, connect, and share ideas and information. Today, around 3.5 billion people use social media worldwide. In fact, consumers in developing countries are more likely to have a smartphone with social media apps than they are a laptop. On average consumers spend two and a half hours a day on social platforms, with more than 300 million new social media users coming online between 2019 and 2020. People are doing everything online and on social media – including shopping. 

People want to buy products recommended by the people they already trust. Seeing an Instagram ad from a trusted influencer means so much more than seeing a commercial or billboard – it’s all about personalization. By making the shopping experience feel intimate, trusted, and personalized, consumers feel the brand is catered towards them specifically. This personalized process allows customers to feel more nurtured and connected to the brand, increasing brand loyalty and, again, sales. 

This social media takeover has paved the way for social commerce to boom – and it shows. According to Sandie Hawkins, TikTok’s GM of North America Solutions, social commerce is, “Word of mouth on steroids”. 

But here’s the thing: without an easy checkout process, brands are still losing sales, and seeing abandoned carts. Even with the rise of social shopping, 80% of shopping carts are reported to be abandoned. The good news? Whym, a startup founded by former Snap employees, allows retailers to embed carts and payments directly inside their content and conversations, so social shopping is truly effortless. 

A shift in consumer behavior makes social media shopping an obvious choice 

When e-commerce first began to rise, social media acted, mainly, as a showroom. 

Users could browse the Instagram or Facebook pages of their favorite brands to “window-shop” before heading to larger-scale e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, to actually make a purchase. The primary purpose of a brand’s social media presence was to build relationships, expand brand awareness, and establish trust between consumer and store – not to actually make a sale. However, in recent years, visual-first platforms like Instagram have prompted retailers to ask the question, “Are we missing an opportunity?” 

Since shoppers are spending so much of their time on social media apps, retailers are bringing their products to meet the consumers where they are. Many retailers market their products in their stories with a convenient swipe-up link, directing their customers to a product page on their site. Many will caption their posts with “link in bio”, inviting the customer to visit their page, click the link, and find an array of products that feel totally catered to them. 

Social commerce has also paved the way for "Instagram brands" that exist entirely on that platform. Now anyone can market and sell their product from any social media app, converting the users that were already there into loyal customers. 

But how can brands ensure that their customers are actually completing the checkout process? This is where Whym comes in.

Time and clicks are the enemy – Lengthy checkout processes and website distractions lead to cart abandonment

Even with Instagram and other social media platforms bringing products directly to their clientele, consumers still have to complete a lengthy checkout process, and often get lost along the way. 

Picture this: a consumer finds a product on Instagram that they love, and they want to share it with their friends. They direct message the product to another shopper, who loves the product and plans on buying it. But when they click the post, it directs them back to the brand’s Instagram page, and the shopper spends time browsing other products, forgetting why they came to the page at all. 

In another scenario, the shopper makes their way to the brand’s website through the DM, but they still end up abandoning their cart. Perhaps the checkout process was so long they didn’t have time to complete the purchase, or maybe the shipping costs were too high – either way, the brand has lost a sale. 

What we know is this: most of the time, when customers first discover a brand, they aren’t ready to make a purchase – they’re in “browse-mode”. Very few tools exist to help capture shopper interest in the moment, and brands are left wondering what they can do to convert these browsers to buyers. What if there was a tool to help sellers understand which of those “browsers” are actually interested in making a purchase? Better yet - what if a solution existed to match a phone number or an email address with a specific product? 

Whym powers social shopping 

Using social media and the power of direct messaging as a marketing tool is a great first step, but without the cart technology to purchase within the message, customers still get lost. 

This is where Whym comes in. Whym’s cutting-edge cart technology allows shoppers to bypass unnecessary steps, capturing intent-to-buy and powering impulse purchases. With Whym’s link-based cart technology, the shopper receives a link to your product via direct message or DM. The shopper simply replies “Y” to buy… and that’s it. If the consumer has never used Whym before, Whym will onboard them, using their phone number as their unique user ID. They’re only onboarded once – after that Whym remembers their info, so purchases can be completed with just one click. 

Once a shopper purchases a product through the link, the order is fulfilled like any other. Whym acts as the point of sale, processing the payment and sending orders to your e-commerce dashboard, ready to fulfill. 

Whym integrates seamlessly with Stripe, Big Commerce, Woo Commerce, Magento, and Shopify stores, so brands can effortlessly turn the conversations about their products into sales – wherever these conversations are already happening. 

Whym empowers brands to turn conversations into conversions  

It’s a given that social shopping is the new frontier for e-commerce. But relying on swipe ups, links in bios, and DMs to make sales still leaves room for major purchase distractions and cart abandonment. The team behind Whym is using their cutting-edge cart technology to make the shopping experience faster and more enjoyable for shoppers – which leads to more sales for the brands they already love. 

If you are wondering how Whym can help simplify your e-commerce experience, schedule your free demo today. Whym knows that it is important to meet customers where they are, and today, that’s on social media. Find out what this could mean for your brand today

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