Social commerce is booming right now and it looks like the future is just as bright. We’ve come to a point where just about everyone is on social media, and they’re not just on it, they’re using it to shop and get stuff done.
The use of social networks for e-commerce transactions is also on the rise. As a result, social influencer marketing platforms and brands are making it easier than ever for consumers to quickly purchase items directly from social media posts. In addition, marketers are sniffing out great content on social media to place on their own eCommerce sights to improve sales via social validation. With all of the recent advances in social commerce, it makes sense to spend some time digging deeper to dissect how social commerce came to be, its current state and what the future holds.
Upswing of Social Commerce
Believe it or not, social commerce was first introduced by Yahoo! in November, 2005. The concept was developed to enable online shoppers to obtain reliable advice and support from online experts regarding their transactions. Social commerce is separated by some from social shopping; the former is the collaboration of online vendors while the latter is the networking of online shoppers (Small Biz Trends).
Social commerce is divided into seven main categories, including:
- Peer-to-peer sales platform
- Social network-driven sales
- Group buying
- Peer recommendations
- User-curated shopping
- Participatory commerce
- Social shopping
Each of these different types of social commerce proves there’s a wide range of opportunity within the shopping, recommending and selling spheres. Social media has collided with shopping and now it’s up to the platforms, brands and marketers to make it as easy and seamless as possible for consumers to complete their transactions.
State of Social Commerce
Social Media Explorer reports that, “2015 was one of the biggest years for e-commerce around the world, and social media had a big part in it. Out of the total global e-commerce sales, more than $30 billion were generated directly from different social networks, an increase of $10 billion from 2014, and more than $25 billion from 2011.” These statistics reflect a rapid growth in online purchasing habits and demonstrates that a lot of the success should be credited to social networks.
Buy buttons and media tools, like ugc marketing materials, that help marketers analyze data are making it easier than ever before for brands to track and measure their campaigns and sales. Social selling isn’t just about sharing and posting anymore, marketers are implementing strategies and budgets to make sure they target the right people at the right time and ultimately get them to make a purchase, or convert.
What the Future Holds
Social commerce provides a new channel to enable a transaction and makes it easy on brands to use their already-established social channels and products to drive more sales. Digital commerce solutions allow companies to engage with their consumers through social influencers, build their brand and make a profit, all at the same time.
This practice has brought the fun and sense of community back to shopping, the only difference is that people are buying on their phones, including through Instagram advertising. Consumers are busy juggling their schedules and this exchange offers them convenience at a whole new level, which they love. Even with the growth in social commerce, brands must remember that each platform functions differently and each audience is unique. Most importantly, marketers must not forget to incorporate authenticity in their strategies.
No one can deny the rise and success of social commerce thus far. The trick is going to be adapting the right tools and social influencer marketing strategies to answer the calling. There’s not a magic formula for succeeding in the social space, but giving social commerce a chance is a good place to start.