Since the time Facebook launched its first version of Marketplace back in 2007, social commerce has been around wherein users sell to each other on similar peer-to-peer style platforms. However, its only during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the boom in the e-commerce landscape, that social commerce took off on a large scale and more consumers became comfortable with online purchasing. People are spending even more time on social media platforms, which in turn, are adding more features to make shoppable posts a practical reality for both brands as well as consumers.
Social commerce is the process of selling products directly to consumers on social media platforms. It is revolutionizing the entire e-commerce ecosystem. In fact, estimates suggest that the global social commerce market is expected to reach $89.4 billion right now, and poised to rise up to $604.5 billion by 2027.
Social retail fulfills the growing need for brands to adopt marketing strategies that provide unique and personalized advertisements for their consumers. Any consumer opting for social commerce often wants to establish a close connection with the brands serving them. Such users check customer reviews, go for simplified shopping and follow in-the-moment advertising – that tends to influence their purchase decisions. In this scenario, social platforms and related mobile apps enable brands to guide consumers in their entire shopping journey right from discovering a product to buying it, all in a single place.
How Social Media is Evolving to Drive Social Commerce
Social commerce encourages consumers to purchase products directly from the promotions run on social media. Since many social media sites are easily targetable, this feature makes them an ideal platform for offering a personalized experience to customers. As social media has achieved global penetration and sustainable growth over recent years, it’s safe to say that social commerce is being proactively adopted by businesses worldwide.
E-commerce has grown by leaps and bounds having received the boost by the outbreak of the pandemic and has scaled a decade of progress in 2020 itself. Across various industries, e-commerce sales have gone up from 40 percent to 70 percent in just a matter of weeks, as more customers had their purchases shipped to their doorstep. As a result, now there are more people on social media, where they are spending even more time to buy from the brands aiming to sell via e-commerce.
In addition, there has also been a shift in the consumer mindset. For quite some time, social media is where consumers indulged in window-shopping before heading to the respective websites to make a purchase, such as Walmart or Amazon. Considering this, brands began using social platforms to build strong relationships, trust, communities, and brand loyalty among their customers. The game changed with visuals-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest blurring these boundaries.
Why Businesses Must Embrace Social Commerce
Social media has proven to be a powerful tool that businesses must use to their advantage. It is imperative that brands embrace social commerce because, in the coming times, e-commerce and online purchase behavior will only go on to grow further. The key here is to create and implement a social media strategy as part of the brand’s larger marketing plan eyeing both short-term and long-term goals.
Some of the major reasons why businesses must adopt social commerce are:
Increase Brand Awareness - One of the topmost reasons why businesses must have an active social media presence is to raise brand awareness. Social media is one of the most effective places for brands to promote and target the relevant audience, especially owing to the rising marketing opportunities on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and so on.
Drive Traffic to Brand Website - While on-platform commercial opportunities continue to scale up, driving visitors from social media platforms to brand website remains a crucial step towards attracting prospective customers. The easiest and highly convenient way to measure traffic on the website is by using Google Analytics. This free tool provides meaningful insights about everything the brand needs to know about the incoming website traffic.
Boost Brand Engagement - Social media interactions with the target audience improves brand perception, drive brand loyalty and increase audience engagement with the brand, bringing in more recommendations. With the in-built algorithms of Facebook, Twitter, etc. it is easier to prioritize posts having the highest engagement on their respective audience’s home feeds. This further helps to build a community of like-minded people who share loyalty towards the brand.
The concept of social commerce has been around for a little more than a decade now. But only recently it has gained a fiery momentum among brands and consumers. As social media and e-commerce permeate other aspects of our lives, both seem to be merging into each other. With social commerce, not only do customers discover new products in places where they are most active but even purchase directly from there. As social media channels roll out more features to enable these transactions, social commerce has thus become the shopping mall of the 21st century.