Nothing has shone the spotlight on e-commerce quite like the Covid-19 Pandemic. Pre-isolation, there was already an existing and steady rise in e-commerce trends for major retailers. And, once the pandemic hit, there was a highly anticipated spike in online sales. As the world re-opens, we have not seen a decline in online shopping trends. E-commerce is here to stay and, perhaps one day very soon, will be entirely dominant in the world of retail.
And while online shopping became the norm in 2020, so did scrolling social media – particularly applications like TikTok and Instagram – to pass the time and stay connected with loved ones. It didn’t take long for social media powerhouses to catch onto this and develop a way to mix the two hobbies.
Social Commerce, or “Social Shopping”, is the latest trend in e-commerce. It promotes products on social media platforms, making them available for immediate purchase within the app. This “purchase while you scroll” technique allows users to make their purchases from start to finish in one platform. This differs from the forms of product promotion that originally existed on applications like Instagram and Facebook, directing users to outside sources to complete their purchases.
The question is: what are the main benefits of having this accessibility on social media platforms? How does it differ from your standard e-commerce practices and is it a worthwhile investment for companies?
Social, Interactive Experience
Unlike an online shopping experience through a typical e-commerce platform, social commerce allows customers to interact with not only their friends and followers but brands directly when making in-app purchases. Customers can review and ask questions about any product they are hoping to buy in real-time, with instant answers from the seller.
Highly Targeted Market Access
As is the case with social media advertising, the apps offering social commerce can ensure items being sold for in-app purchasing are available to a specific market, as desired by each retailer. These demographics also act as a focus group of sorts, providing real-time feedback on items as they shop.
Measurable and Profitable
A positive of working with social media apps? The audience and trackability that the platforms offer. To date, 83% of Facebook and Instagram users use the apps to research items they want to buy. Apps can offer products to an existing, purchase-ready audience that they have an abundance of information on. They also promise extremely detailed statistics on the engagement this audience has when it comes to social commerce.
All in all, social commerce has been a positive addition to the online retail space and social media experience since its launch. Though not a replacement for an e-commerce platform, it is certainly a profitable addition to a continuously growing online world.