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Social Commerce – Opportunities & Challenges

Published In: 2021/08/ 6

Social networking sites have altered our interactions with one another and our modes of expression. Half of the world’s population is active on one or more social media platforms. Social media has a practically unmatched reach.

Additionally, this creates a new e-commerce potential. Never has the retail and e-commerce sectors had access to such a large worldwide audience? Social commerce is the latest and fastest-growing retail trend in the modern era. E-commerce enterprises utilize it to engage their present and prospective customers and have developed it into an additional source of sales and revenue.

Utilizing social media to sell items online makes perfect sense, and social commerce is the next big thing in online retail. With the strength of social media and the reach of e-commerce, social commerce appears to have a bright future.

Now that even traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are shifting their focus to online sales in response to the pandemic, social commerce offers marketers an innovative way to interact and connect with their customers.

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Social Commerce Status Quo

According to a 10ecommercetends report, more than 87 % of shoppers on e-commerce platforms strongly feel that social media impacts their purchasing decision. Social commerce is not a new notion; it has existed for some time.

However, the COVID-19 epidemic is assisting in increasing its prominence and performance. The reliance on e-commerce has significantly increased, as has the amount of time spent on social media. Combine the two, and you have a commercial powerhouse simply ready to cash in.

Each of the big social media sites has included an e-commerce component from catalogues on Pinterest to shops on Facebook and Instagram to TikTok collaborating directly with Shopify to facilitate online sales. Facebook is making significant strides toward establishing a social commerce business. It debuted Facebook Shops in May, allowing retailers to create fully functional storefronts on their Facebook profiles.

The firm has done the same thing with its other social media platform, Instagram, branding it as Instagram Shops. It is gradually rolling out both commerce tools to other retailers.

It is granting access to its ‘in-app checkout’ function to merchants who meet its eligibility conditions. This eliminates the need for shoppers to exit Instagram to complete their purchases. All of this can take place directly on Instagram.

WhatsApp has now been added to the mix, enabling in-app purchases. It would allow users to browse products on Facebook Shops and purchase them immediately through the chat feature.

The following year is likely to be the most favourable for social commerce to flourish.

Social Commerce Economics

Market economists frequently assert that the marketplace is only a venue for meaningful talks. This is what social commerce – comprised of social media, digital media, and user-generated content – enables, enhances, and achieves.

Certain observers will argue that social commerce has been woefully underdeveloped thus far. According to experts, social commerce must mature and be nurtured to appear more human. The future of social commerce is more of a cultural movement, a shift in the attitude of businesses that view themselves as individuals rather than robots.

The social commerce industry’s future

Social commerce evolved from e-commerce websites and channels that included social media buttons, Twitter reviews, and purchasing and selling alternatives on Facebook.

Despite merchants and marketers’ widespread optimism about social commerce, it accounts for barely 5% of total internet retail. While this may appear to be a minor amount, social commerce is a $15 billion sector, so it is not to dismiss or disregard it.

Additionally, the outcomes are astounding. The following are some statistics from the last year:

  • Social shoppers spend 8% more than regular online buyers.
  • Facebook accounts for two-thirds of all social media buy button referrals in the United States.
  • Traffic from social networks to online retailers increased by 50% year over year.
  • A third of consumers have engaged with a brand’s social media page through a promotion.

The Future of Social Commerce

As these statistics indicate, the future of shopping will see people browsing on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Friends and family will no longer window shop in their city’s streets. Rather than that, they’ll be seated on the sofa with their iPads, reading a social media platform that features televisions, clothing, kitchen equipment, and other things.

The significant advancement that has the potential to change social commerce is augmented reality (AR). Consider this – a person can visualize how a product will appear in their environment. That will be something, won’t it?

Social media titans like Snapchat and Facebook have already invested significant amounts in creating augmented reality capabilities that can help their platforms increase sales. While the AR social commerce journey is still in its infancy, it will quickly acquire traction.

Social commerce will continue to progress in popularity in 2021, with both online and brick-and-mortar merchants utilizing it to increase sales. As social media evolves, the concept of social commerce will evolve as well.

Augmented Reality

For many, augmented reality (AR) has been associated with futuristic technologies, making it difficult to envisage how technology may easily integrate into our daily lives. While social platforms have been experimenting with it for some time—most notably in creating filters—this technology will likely be increasingly used to enhance social commerce offerings and help brands bridge the divide between digital and physical experiences, thereby adding significant value to everyday people’s lives.

If 2020 were the year that social media platforms integrated e-commerce, 2021 would be the year that they elevate the buying experience with augmented reality.

With the emergence of the augmented reality wearables market, the moment has come for social networks to begin fusing the digital and physical worlds in ways that go beyond creative possibilities and into economic prospects. This technology now makes it possible for social platforms to enhance their retail offers while also increasing user experiences.

Although mobile augmented consumers and social media platforms have widely adopted reality in the form of filters for some time, Snapchat and TikTok have been experimenting with ways further to boost users’ and marketers’ creative potential.

As contemporary advancements in mobile AR technology serve as a significant facilitator of AR adoption by social media, the timing is ideal. For example, Apple recently included a LiDAR sensor into several of its latest iPhones, improving distance and measurement accuracy. This technique enhances the precision with which 3D models are generated and speeds up the startup and operation of augmented reality applications.

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Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Voice Recognition within Social Commerce

With voice and augmented reality, the future of social commerce will become more futuristic.

Every day, voice recognition technology improves and becomes significantly more accurate. Alexa, Siri, and Ok Google are being utilized more than ever to query shopping-related advice. Additionally, they are becoming more prevalent in many families because of smart home gadgets. Customers will use speech to search for and discover new things, and if the ecosystem is designed properly, they will also use voice to make purchases.

The Future Potential of Social Commerce

Social commerce is paving the way for the e-commerce future. Brands and retailers will leverage social media features to produce engaging, shareable, and immersive advertisements that will aid in the viral spread of new product releases. Discounts for group purchases and social competitions will continue to improve the consumer experience shortly.

Your shopping habits are evolving at a rapid pace. The way you explore a home improvement store or shop for lingerie online changes at a cheetah’s speed.

Social commerce is anticipated to expand 25 % year over year, implying that businesses should quickly incorporate social selling tools into their armory. At the same time, people may not use buy buttons simply because they are available.

Brands must incentivize social shopping. Customers must be convinced to purchase social. Without it, buyers will merely glance at the purchase buttons and go on to their next task.

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Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Challenges of Social Commerce

S-Commerce has a lot of advantages for businesses and consumers. Social media provides an easy platform for users to express their ideas and suggest brands to their friends and family. It offers businesses and marketers the most powerful instrument available: word-of-mouth.

However, this is not the sole cause for social commerce’s rapid growth.

Most social media platforms now include incredible features for both buyers and sellers. Payment methods, listings, advertisements, analytics, and ‘Buy Now buttons are all included. Consider going shopping with your friends and soliciting their input before making a purchase. You’re likely to be significantly satisfied with your buy than you would if you made it on your own.

This is the exact mechanism through which social commerce operates.

Before making a purchase decision on social media, customers are more likely to examine reviews, opinions, and comments posted by prior customers. They are far more conscious of what they are getting themselves into when they click the ‘Buy’ button.

Social commerce is also an excellent method of driving traffic to your business. This is one of the primary benefits of social commerce since it enables you to generate genuine engagement and traffic to your website.

The Role of S-commerce on Body Dysmorphia

Social commerce can harm body image by contributing to the development of BDD. This disorder, also known as body dysmorphia, is defined by a constant concern with one’s physical appearance and perceived defects. The hair, skin, nose, chest, and stomach are the most often expressed areas of worry for persons with BDD (all of which can be artificially edited when posted on social media). While individuals with BDD are continuously worrying about their shortcomings, these flaws are often minimal or nonexistent. Individuals who suffer from this illness get a distorted view of their appearance.

Many people dislike aspects of their looks, but for those with BDD, thoughts about one’s defects are intrusive. They frequently occur every day and last for hours, causing significant disruptions in normal functioning.

In an age of social media and fitness models, body shaming is more prevalent than ever! Individuals believe that their opinions count, even if they are hurtful. When there is no face to look at, making a comment is simple. When you can create a name for a troll, it’s simple.

People believe that body shaming is a convenient way to express a “healthy” opinion. Even though some people are over/under weight and that’s unhealthy, body shaming doesn’t contribute to the adoption of healthy lifestyles for everyone In fact, for a few it can have the opposite effect.

Any sort of negativity can have a significant effect on someone. A small opinion might infuriate a person’s largest ego because of their experience with body shaming. People believe that a viewpoint is relevant if it appears to be “beneficial“. Any sort of negativity can influence one’s well-being. A glance, a tone, or even name-calling can all influence an individual’s confidence. When shaming is prevalent, physical, emotional, and mental well-being can deteriorate significantly, as we are conditioned to believe that other opinions matter.

Insecurity

It is frequently stated that persons who criticize others are dissatisfied with their own self. Body shaming can reveal a great deal about the offender. What you believe you are sharing is counsel you want for yourself. Individuals share opinions that are communicated to them. The only reason someone would feel compelled to share negativity is if they have been exposed to it elsewhere. Always keep in mind that what someone says about you is a mirror of their own self-esteem! Never is it truly about you!

Further Decline of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

It’s no secret that internet commerce has experienced a historical rise in demand due to pandemic-related lockdown measures requiring retail brick-and-mortar businesses to close or operate at reduced capacity. The retail apocalypse, as the movement of retail purchases to a digital environment, is dubbed, resulted (reports by retaildive) in the closure of over 9,300 stores in the United States last year and over 5,800 the year before.

While the retail apocalypse may appear to be directly related to the pandemic, the actual reason for the demise of brick-and-mortar stores is the consumer movement away from department stores and toward internet shopping. The more stores that close, the more consumers migrate to eCommerce, which results in the closure of different stores, and so on.

Jonathan is a London based Marketing Professional specialized in market trends. Jonathan also plays amateur rugby and is an active voice regarding freedom and private innitiative.

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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