Group Buying Apps For Shopify Growth
Ecommerce is exploding across the internet. Digital Commerce 360 reported that “in the first six months of the year, consumers spent $347.26 billion online with U.S. retailers. […] Online spending represented 18.6% of total retail sales for the first two quarters of 2020.”
With this explosion in stores’ online presence, companies are battling to adapt to the new landscape, especially as the need for digital advertising rockets into prominence – and so does the price for those services. That’s where social commerce and group buying comes in.
The Increase in Digital Ads
There’s no denying eCommerce is booming, and as mentioned above, with that increase in demand comes a need for digital ads. MSN.com reported:
- “Morgan Stanley analysts outlined Thursday why they believe online advertising can grow 20% in 2021, with Facebook, Google, and Pinterest leading the pack.
- Third-quarter earnings by tech giants like Facebook, Google, Snap, Twitter, Pinterest, and Amazon showed digital ad revenue came roaring back in recent months.
- Morgan Stanley raised its 2020 and 2021 ad forecasts by 8% and 15%, respectively, expecting 11% year-over-year growth in 2020 and 20% year-over-year growth in 2021.”
eCommerce stores are the way of the future, but the advertising for those stores can become incredibly expensive, either with pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or third-party marketing companies.
The question becomes not if you need to market, but how to make your marketing efforts and sales cost-effective for both merchants and consumers. That’s where group buying and social commerce come in to radically reduce your advertising budget in favor of social commerce. Cut out the middleman and take your marketing straight to the consumer.
The numbers don’t lie: China’s E-Business Research Center reported the group buying market in China reached 34.89 billion yuan (US $5.5 billion) in 2012. That was eight years ago. Can you imagine how huge it is now?
A Brief Introduction to Social Commerce
Let’s start by defining some terms starting with “social commerce.” Hal Koss writes for BuiltIn.com:
“Social commerce is the online overlap of shopping and community. It often takes the form of commerce based interactions on social media platforms or group experiences in e-commerce websites.”
Social commerce turns social media into a market landscape for advertising and online shopping. Native advertising makes this especially easy.
What is Group Buying?
Group buying emerged as a collective form of social commerce and has really taken hold in Asia, specifically in China on platforms like Weibo.
The silos aren’t as strict between the shopping experience and the social experience as they are in many Western countries. Shoppers use social media as an integrated way to both spend time with their communities, find entertainment, and shop, all in one.
Users share product deals offered by merchants with their social media communities. The goal is to turn the shopper into a micro-influencer, attracting their friends and family to join the deal and drive down the product price for all members of the shopping group.
There’s a lot of advantages to group buying. Shoppers and their friends and family save money while merchants increase their brand awareness, decrease marketing spend, cut down on refunds and chargebacks, diversify their customer base, and increase conversions. The ROI for group buying is high.
The Main Contenders
Of the three on the list, this is the strongest option in terms of versatility. It stands out from the pack for a few reasons.
PowerBuy is a centralized, one-stop Shopify app that starts like the other apps, helping merchants slash marketing spend and boost sales by leveraging the word-of-mouth micro-influence of users on key social platforms by offering shareable product deals.
Shoppers can then post to social media to drive the price down once they meet the minimum quantity as they bring people into their group buy.
Like the others, it offers tracking and controls on performance metrics and for specific platforms, gamifying the group buying experience. It cuts down on fraud and chargebacks. That’s all great.
Where it really stands out is in its ability to utilize artificial intelligence (AI). AI analyzes shopper patterns throughout the grouping process. It will then recommend deals based on the shopper’s browsing history.
From the PowerBuy Shopify Store.
The AI is customizable to show users what you want them to see. Edit item display number and priority through multiple display options.
Multi-SKU Group Buying allows users to add on to existing PowerBuys to complete the group buy minimum themselves. Products that share the same discount percentage are available for shoppers in a Multi-SKU Group Buy.
PowerBuy also offers a free 30-day trial with full app functionality, double the length of the Jioukou group buying app.
We like this because it gives you a sizable amount of time to really evaluate the app’s fiduciary impact on your business metrics. Two weeks is a brief snapshot of time, whereas a month gives you a bigger picture of long-term improvement.
The store boasts these metrics:
“With PowerBuy, our merchants have achieved 8% CR vs 1% with BuyNow, 38% Cart Abandonment vs 75% with Buy Now, & less than 0.05% fraud rate overall.”
Bruce Watanabe, Co-Founder & CEO of PowerBuy
PowerBuy is well integrated across all main social apps equally and doesn’t favor one over the other. It’s optimized for desktop and mobile while operating in real time. The customer service is friendly, helpful, and prompt. There are four plans to choose from.
The basic plan is free to install with a 30-day free trial. You can offer up to 1,000 SKUs for a PowerBuy discount deal and PowerBuy makes 3% commission.
The Pro plan is $29.99 per month after the 30-day free trial and you can offer up to 2,500 SKUs with a 2.5% commission from PowerBuy.
The Plus plan is $49.99 per month with a 2% commission from PowerBuy for up to 5,000 SKUs after the free 30-day trial.
Lastly, the Advanced plan is $69.99 per month with a 1.5% PowerBuy commission on up to 10,000 SKUs after the free 30 day trial. If you have needs that exceed 10,000 SKUs, you can email contact [email protected] to discuss.
Whichever app best suits your needs, PowerBuy will be there to help you maximize your fiscal impact. Be sure to check your country’s payment gate compatibility with Shopify and PowerBuy.
What is Multi-SKU and how does it work?
PowerBuy also offers something called PowerBuy Multi-SKU, which increases shopper AOV and conversions. Merchants simply create multiple deals across their store with the same percent discount.
Here’s the unique part – AI will evaluate shoppers’ previous searches and show users deals they might like or need for the same discounted price on the checkout page. This is the easiest way to showcase your hottest deals, top sellers, or new inventory.
As the user finds deals with the same percentage discount and adds them to their cart, meeting the order minimum becomes a breeze and they can get the discounted price by themselves without being reliant upon others to complete the minimum.
This is a really simple way to exponentially grow your store’s customer base. The potential for virality and increased ROI through conversions is too good to pass up.
Jioukou Group Buying Shopify app is a popular player in the group-buying app market. Their app advertises that they allow merchants to increase their client base while offering savings to everyone in the group purchase, leading to new customers.
They also claim to expand merchant’s social media engagement when shopper’s share the merchant deal on their social feeds.
Jioukou offers discounts to loyal customers, attracting a shopper’s network of like-minded community members to buy, increasing customer retention and acquisition while minimizing marketing spend.
From the Jioukou Group Buying Shopify Store.
- Group buying button
- Easy to set up
- Separate checks
- Free trial for 14 days
It’s fairly simple. Merchants just display the app button on the product page they are offering a deal on; adjustments are available for merchants who want to make rule alterations.
Shoppers can either buy directly or share their product via their social networks to drive the price down for a group discount.
Completing purchases need not be done at the same time, and shoppers can pay whenever they want in the process on an individual basis.
From the Jioukou Group Buying Shopify Store.
There are three plan options: the 14-day free trial, the $24 a month basic plan for small and medium businesses, and the $6,666 a month advanced plan with customization, API integration, and 24/7 customer support.
All in all, this is a solid app, though the increase in price from the basic plan to the advanced plan is pretty drastic and the free trial is only 14 days.
However, user reviews report that the level of customer service is excellent, so whether or not you choose this app is based entirely on your set of individual needs.
It’s optimized for both desktop and mobile and updates in realtime. It even gives you the option to have the page translated into traditional Chinese. If you have a large Chinese-speaking audience, this could be a great app for you.
3. Group Buy
The Group Buy Shopify app installation from LetsBuyToo is a popular option as well. It makes group buying super simple by providing an easy form that takes 30 seconds to create a deal.
From the Group Buy Shopify Store.
The app also offers real-time performance tracking and taps into the virality potential of group buying social commerce as a whole and allows shoppers to invite their friends to the deal personally.
- Start group buying in 30 seconds
- Deal customization
- Allows up to 6 members per group buy
- One-click WhatsApp deal sharing
- Social sharing available for other platforms as well
The app is compatible on desktop and mobile. The design is very aesthetically pleasing and intuitive to eliminate points of customer friction and confusion. It also offers a lot of flexibility for merchants creating deals.
Merchants specifically can:
- Choose discount amounts for group buying deals
- Set deal duration times
- Track & control individual deal performance and for their store overall
- Control management of incomplete group deals
From the Group Buy Shopify store.
Overall, this is a good choice. It does limit how many people can join the group buy and emphasizes WhatsApp integration more than other social networks, but you can still post on one of many platform options.
The app offers a free 14-day trial with customer support and up to 30 group-buy orders. The basic plan is $14 per month with customer support and unlimited group deals.
Shopify and Ecommerce Group Buying
Social commerce by the way of group guying is the marketing and shopping tool of the future. As demand for digital advertising grows and the price to do so skyrockets, merchants will be seeking low-cost ways to achieve similar results.
Group purchasing is that way, and has had staggering results across Asia and particularly China. Three of the most common apps on the market are:
- Group Buy
Each has characteristics suited to your individual needs. Group buying enables you to increase company brand awareness, decrease marketing spend, cut down on refunds and chargebacks, diversify their customer base, and increase conversions and overall ROI.
The data speaks for itself. Corner the market on this new way of advertising today to ramp up your conversions.
Author: Lindy Tolbert, Freelancer
Lindy Tolbert is a writer in Austin, TX, specializing in conversion rate optimization for eCommerce and other tech companies. She also writes frequently about group buying, social commerce, and social media. Find her on LinkedIn.