Social Commerce – The Evolution of eCommerce

  The marriage between eCommerce and social media has been a match made in heaven for a number of companies that have been able to use it to it’s fullest potential. But as the development of social commerce continues to grow, there is still a lot of room for the relationship to blossom even further. Social commerce involves using social media as a selling platform and allows followers to buy merchandise straight from their timeline. Essentially social commerce is being used to shorten the user journey from social media channels and to enhance the user experience. According to Statista, 66% of the UK population are actively using social media with 57% doing so on their mobile device. It makes sense then, that social commerce exists. The addition of another route to your business is a hugely important and one that you cannot afford to miss out on. As it continues to develop, the social media platforms that 2/3’s of us are all using have big aims for social commerce, evolving it into an eCommerce platform in its own right, or at least the next stage of eCommerce. The big players within the social commerce world are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, with Pinterest and Snapchat not too far behind. Each one of these social platforms can offer a very distinctive user experience, however, the goal remains very much the same. Each one has the ability to offer companies an incredibly powerful tool which can leverage huge numbers of extremely engaged customers.

Social commerce today

With social commerce still in its infancy, most of the brands we work with are continuing to test the water to discover what works for them and their customers by building data, aiming to get ahead of the curve. Users are also still getting to grips with the relatively new technology presenting new opportunities for all types of brands as Octavio Maron, executive director at Fetch, explains:

“There’s a lot of friction from the user to go through the steps [to purchase] because there’s also this learning curve of buying something on this new platform.” [source]

Nevertheless, the customer journey on platforms like Instagram has become increasingly more streamlined for both users and brands over the last 12 months. Thanks to functions such as Instagram’s Shoppable features and Facebook product catalogues, which make it easier for users to find the products they want and brands to track sales leads directly from social media.

Why is social commerce important?

  • Traffic ⬆️ Even if users don’t buy anything from it, users will be left with an impression which can be developed into a purchase at another stage.
  • Reach ⬆️ There are billions of social media users logged in every day, who are actively looking for products like yours and (provided that you display them well), they are ready to make that purchase.
  • Trust ⬆️ Products which have been bought, shared and reviewed amongst friends help you build a deeper relationship with your followers and give them a better experience.
  • Omnichannel. Think of omnichannel and you’re mainly thinking about social media. Omnichannel is all about one seamless experience. If a user spots something they love on their timeline, social commerce gives them the opportunity to click through to purchase straight away. Ensuring one smooth journey to purchase.
  • Community. Social commerce thrives on community. Much in the same way as you build trust, you’re also giving your products a better opportunity for repeat purchase. It helps to create an experience which users want to share and a brand they want to adopt and follow.

Will social commerce be around for a while then?

All the developments within the world of social media and eCommerce point to yes. Social commerce is continuing to grow, with huge investments being made by some of the biggest companies around today. It’s here to stay. Everyone knows that social media is an astonishingly powerful marketing tool and brands are utilising that influence within the eCommerce sphere more and more. In terms of activity, Facebook currently commands the biggest market share, it enables online retailers to display an entire product catalogue, manage orders and more, all inside the platform you’re already using to target new audiences. So ignore it at your peril. Of course, it’s true that social commerce won’t work as well for some businesses as it does for others. It’s always best to seek advice from your design agency/developer before starting a project. If they don’t mention social commerce, (unfortunately there are still many eCommerce ‘experts’ who still don’t know what it is), it’s really important to find someone that does. Like us for example, get in touch!


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