What are social media purchase pathways, and how can they boost eCommerce success?

Isabelle Comber7 mins
What are social media purchase pathways, and how can they boost eCommerce success?
In this article

Reaching, engaging, and selling to digital-savvy customers is easier than ever thanks to social media. Whether you aim to sell your products and services in Australia or tap into a limitless international market, social media is one of the most powerful assets in your marketing toolkit.

Let’s explore how building your social media presence and setting up direct payment pathways from the major social media channels can help your business take off and grow beyond borders.

The role of social media in the buying journey

It’s no secret that word of mouth trumps almost all other forms of marketing, making the power of social media in eCommerce undeniable. Shares and recommendations on channels like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are indispensable ways to build brand recognition, improve buyer trust and boost sales.

As part of our recent The State of Cross-Border eCommerce report, Airwallex surveyed over 3,000 customers in the US, the UK, China, Singapore and Australia, and found that almost 60% were likely to use social media platforms to shop online.

Customers expect brands to be active on social media and a significant percentage, especially those in Gen Z, are more likely to make a purchase based on a social endorsement. 

Social media is becoming hugely important not only in raising awareness and consideration but also in closing the sale. Research also shows that consumers using social media during the shopping process were four times more likely to add more to their baskets, or make purchases of a higher value than they would when shopping off-channel.

It’s not enough for brands just to show up on social. The way they interact with consumers really matters. Users expect to be educated and entertained – to get relevant, useful and amusing content. A brand’s efforts should involve more than just posting product photos or promotional content. 

Influencers can be a key part of this strategy. Consumers want to see real people interacting with products and are especially receptive to personalities they follow and trust. The ability of influencers to catapult a brand from relative obscurity to massive success has been shown time and again. 

In fact, an average of 75% of consumers across international markets say that influencer endorsement is likely to sway their overall purchase decisions when shopping on social media channels, with the percentage rising to a dramatic 94% in specific markets like China.

What is a social media purchase pathway?

A purchase pathway is a customer's journey from discovering a product or service to the "moment of truth" – buying it. 

With social media platforms getting the lion's share of online attention, smart brands are ensuring their audiences can purchase without going off-platform, essentially creating a "social media purchase pathway” to ease the process. Here’s a breakdown of the journey:

  • Discovery: It begins with potential customers scrolling through their Facebook, TikTok or Instagram feeds, and stumbling on a product or service you’ve featured or that an influencer or another customer has posted about. You have their attention and they visit your profile and check out your content.

  • Consideration: As their interest increases and they consider your product or service more seriously, they like and follow you and consume your posts, videos and reviews for more detailed information. 

  • Conversion: While some may visit your website, many are content to take the easiest possible path to purchase – buying directly via a link provided in a post.

Providing a streamlined path from interest to purchase within the confines of a familiar chosen social platform can fast-track the decision process and enhance the overall customer experience by making it as frictionless as possible. The ease of clicking a link and being taken straight to a purchase page caters to the desire for instant gratification that drives modern consumers.

And the great thing about social media is that the relationship doesn't end at the point of sale. After buying, the customer will likely follow your brand more closely, share their purchase experience with other users and even become a loyal supporter, all of which can happen on the same platform where their journey began.

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As an eCommerce business, you have an opportunity to reach a vast market of social media users if you provide the right integrated shopping experience. The State of Cross-Border eCommerce report indicates that eCommerce sales in Australia have reached an impressive $18 billion, and over half of global consumers expect to purchase more often from overseas merchants in 2024.

By embedding Payment Links into social media channels, you can handle both domestic and global transactions without directing customers to your website (or even having a website!) while offering a secure and globally compliant payment experience.

Here's how it works:

  • Create a one-time or reusable payment link: Generate payment links that suit your selling strategy. Whether you're offering a one-off deal or have a staple product in your lineup, you can tailor your approach to meet your customers' needs, allowing them to choose from multiple payment methods, including credit and debit cards and a variety of popular local non-card options.

  • Generate corresponding QR codes: Enhance the convenience by automatically generating a QR code for each payment link if needed.

  • Personalise payment links: Customise payment links, making them more engaging and trustworthy to your prospective buyers by using your own custom domain, logo and name.

  • Eliminate unnecessary FX fees: For businesses catering to an international audience, fluctuating foreign exchange rates can be a challenge. Along with its Global Acccounts and FX solutions, Airwallex minimises unnecessary FX fees, ensuring that more revenue stays in your pocket and customers aren’t deterred by unexpected costs.

  • Safeguard against fraud with a 3DS engine: Airwallex’s 3DS engine adds an extra layer of security to protect against fraud so that both you and your customers can transact with peace of mind.

  • No coding required: A huge advantage of Payment Links is their simplicity. You don't need any technical know-how to create them, meaning businesses of all sizes can leverage their powerful features without any barriers and focus on what they do best—selling.

  • Integrate with leading eCommerce platforms and accounting software: Streamline your sales and financial processes through integrations with leading providers like Shopify, WooCommerce, Xero and Netsuite.

Get started with Airwallex

By marketing your products on social media, you gain a key opportunity to gain exposure to a global customer base. Once there, you can capture followers and turn them into loyal customers by giving them engaging content and a seamless, interactive shopping experience with simple ways to purchase and pay.

Download The State of Cross-Border eCommerce report to discover how to leverage social media purchasing trends to win in today's competitive eCommerce market. 

To learn more about how you can implement and configure Payment Links to build your business, get started by creating a free borderless account.

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Isabelle Comber
Business Finance Writer

Izzy is a business finance writer for Airwallex. She specialises in thought leadership that empowers businesses to grow without boundaries.

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