As a society, we constantly look for more convenient ways to cover our need for speed. During the COVID pandemic, formulated marketing strategies to supply consumers’ need for instant gratification were established, like e-commerce and its successor, social commerce.
Social Commerce started appearing in the U.S. a couple of years ago on popular social media platforms. Although social commerce can be new and confusing for many marketers and brands out there, social commerce has come into existence quite seamlessly in the past years.
Social commerce, stemming from eCommerce, refers to the shopping experience that occurs directly on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok. This trend relates directly to the time consumers spend on social media platforms.
According to Forbes’ article “The Future Of Selling Is Social: Social Commerce Vs. E-Commerce,” consumers spend more time on mobile apps than web browsers. Making social media platforms a most powerful advertising tool than any search engine. “Given that consumers spend more time on mobile apps than on their mobile web browsers, wishful thinking may imply an indirect paradigm shift away from Google, as the world’s most powerful advertising platform, to Facebook.”
The NOW Gen is all about using social media for entertainment, communication, staying in the loop of news and trends, learning, and even commerce. This instant-gratification-looking generation has made the swift move from traditional e-commerce to social commerce because it feels natural to instantly shop what you are discovering in your social media timelines. The seamless addition of social commerce to the consumer’s routine of social media usage will allow its growth and fulfillment.
In the past couple of years, various social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, have invested in features to facilitate selling products. These people-connecting platforms are now integrating live stream events, digital stores, and more to become a selling point to its users.
Social commerce for the U.S. is still in its early stages, but it is expected to be just as big as in the Asian markets. On the other side of the globe, specifically in China, social commerce is a popular trend amongst social media users. “About 51.5% … of social media users have or continue to purchase via a social media channel.” It is no surprise, since China is also the global eCommerce market’s leader, that they are also leading this social commerce trend globally. “China continues to lead the global e-commerce market, accounting for 52.1% of all retail e-commerce sales worldwide, with total online sales just over the $2 trillion mark in 2021. It also has the world’s most digital buyers, 824.5 million, representing 38.5% of the global total.”
Many brands are getting on social commerce because the consumer is asking for it. As mentioned above, the NOW generation is known for its need for instant gratification. Therefore, the paramount convenience of social commerce is immediacy.
Consumers are also looking for “mouth-to-mouth” product recommendations, and social commerce allows them to hear directly from brand ambassadors. The social shopping experience is richer than a regular shopping experience. With added social factors, consumers can seamlessly complement their social interactions with the brands they know, trust, and hear from new products or brands.
As Ad Age has mentioned in their article, “Shopping Trends Every Marketer Should Embrace In 2022”, getting on board with the social commerce experience will give consumers the convenience and engagement they are looking for. “Expanding virtual shopping experiences appearing on social platforms will entice consumers who want a more engaging and convenient way to shop online. The in-store experience will never look the same as everything from easing curbside pickup to concierge services to enhanced AR/VR visualizations will become normal features. Moving forward, brands that engage directly with consumers via content and creator-influenced experiences that come enabled with commerce functionality will capture significant market share.”
Brands are learning from China to implement social commerce strategies. Some trends you can look out for include: video, live stream shopping, live chat, and social influencers. The consumer is looking for these things to be convinced that your product, and brand, is the best option. If you are looking to join the social commerce movement, consider the following ideas:
Choose the right platform and format to showcase your business. It is critical to understand what social platform is used more by your consumer segment. Also, evaluate how you will present your products on social media, now your newest storefront.
Prioritize quality visuals. The social media consumer is constantly flooded with thousands of videos on social media. Your business needs to stand out from the rest to make an impactful shopping experience. Take your time to tailor these assets for your brand and product.
Finally, although this new way of commerce is significantly increasing in our markets, don’t forget to constantly evaluate and adjust your strategy. With the NOW generation, speed and change are crucial to success. Social commerce is here to stay; take advantage of it.