It is touted as the next revolution in eCommerce. Social commerce, the ability to shop and make an online purchase directly from a social media platform, is emerging as the next big deal for brands. Typically, social media users are required to exit conversations and chats on channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest to make a purchase. Social commerce permits users to shortcut the purchase process by initiating a sale directly from the social channel without exiting the platform. Though it was introduced into the world of ecommerce slowly and deliberately over the past two years, social commerce is beginning to enjoy increasing popularity among internet users.
“Social commerce is the next evolution of eCommerce and will benefit from Americans’ heavy use of online shopping in recent years. As with the adoption of online shopping, it will take time for consumers to become comfortable purchasing items via social media, and even more time for them to do so on any kind of regular basis, but the category will see a boost as a result of increasing engagement from younger consumers as they grow into adulthood and earn more money. That said, social commerce will in no way replace traditional eCommerce or in-store shopping, but it will become a key part of their shopping repertoire.” Says Katie Hansen, retail and e-commerce Analyst at Minte.
Overall online sales are expected to reach $1.6 trillion in the next three years. Any percentage of sales completed through social media platforms will be a big deal and a massive opportunity for marketers who are actively committed to the space. While many consumers have not yet trusted the innovative approach to shopping, 39 percent of consumers revealed they have made a purchase directly from a social media channel. “As with any new concept, consumers still need a fair amount of education and reassurance on the process, as they are concerned that their data might not be secure and/or that they will never receive the item they purchase,” Hansen continued. With 4.5 billion people conversing across social media around the world, social commerce is poised to be the next revolutionary opportunity for marketers of all sizes. In 2021, global social commerce sales reached $492 billion and are expected to triple by 2025 to reach $1.2 trillion, according to a new study by Accenture.
Oliver Wright, Accenture’s global consumer goods and services lead says, “Any brand, large or small, and any individual can now become or create a ‘brand’ of their own and reach a market directly. This gives consumers more control. It gives power back to the people. This has hugely positive implications for small businesses and entrepreneurs as they are able to reach potentially massive markets that were simply not available to them before. Rather than a handful of big retailers and brands selling to mass markets of millions, we are now seeing millions of individuals and smaller businesses selling to one another within a vast social commerce ecosystem.” Recent research indicates that 59 percent of consumers would rather make a purchase from a small business. Could social commerce become a great equalizer in the internet marketplace?
While 90% of consumers are aware of brand pages and accounts on social media, 23 percent say they have not made a purchase on social media due to fear that they would not receive the merchandise. Many others express a lack of trust in the process, shipping costs, and data security concerns to be a barrier to full adoption. But the social commerce model is demonstrating that it can be a seamless and trusted pathway to connecting with consumers for those brands that demonstrate authenticity and trust.
Gaining a clear understanding of targeted consumers and where they are actively listening and conversing is essential for brands looking to enter the social ecommerce marketing segment. Identifying and understanding each consumer cache should precede message creation. Social media users are mobile, not only in the devices they are using but the channels they are frequenting. Knowing where the best potential customers are listening improves a brand’s opportunity to engage in a more productive social ecommerce experience.