Social commerce, the new way of online shopping

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The e-commerce sector has boomed amid the crisis of Covid-19 as commerce moves from traditional selling to online selling. The surge of this market is still maintaining positive momentum and will not cease to increase any sooner. Over the next years, the market of online shopping will reach approximately $7.4 trillion by 2025 (Statista).

But the landscape of e-commerce is changing and, a new way of online shopping is evolving: social commerce.

What is social commerce? 

Simply put, social commerce refers to selling and buying products directly on social media.

Social shopping enables users to purchase directly on social networks.

Indeed, social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, are not only platforms for users to have conversations, create content or share information, they have become a go-to shopping for users and a selling platform for brands.

According to Accenture, the social commerce opportunity will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025. More than ever, social media has grown into a virtual mall and plays a decisive role in consumer buying. 

Social commerce combines e-commerce and social networks. So, commerce benefits from the features that offer social networks: product images, scrollable videos, and live shopping.

What are the benefits for brands ?

Brands using social networks to sell can: 

  • Reach a larger audience as 59.3 % of the global population use social media.
  • Build their social proof through user-content generated and influencers’ reviews
  • Receive customer feedback as social media make it easy to interact directly with customers through comments, reactions, and even messages

Live shopping is essential in social commerce 

We can’t talk about online shopping without mentioning live shopping. 

Appeared in China years ago, and emerged worldwide during the pandemic, live shopping is the ability to advertise products to an online audience through social media live stream. 

As Gen Zers demand more and more authenticity, live shopping creates a more authentic image of the brand given the instant connection between brands and consumers. 

Livestreaming makes the customer experience more attractive and brands more real and approachable. Comments and reactions offer the customers the place to give feedback instantly making it a two-way conversation. 

Then, brands can increase brand awareness and build trust.

Influencer marketing: a lever to reach prospects

Live shopping is essential for brands and retailers to bring authenticity and make a difference. But, it is also a means for consumers to discover new products or to have a third-party recommendation. 

Plus, people tend to research the product, looking for reviews before buying it. For that reason, a live shopping event can fade away the lack of trust and hesitations from customers.

Using influencers is crucial in social commerce. They are a powerful way to reach the target audience and increase trust in your brand. 

However, brands and retailers should definitely choose the right influencer. 

The influencer should:

  • align with the brands 
  • have a niche- an audience who would be interested in the products
  • have a good knowledge of your products
  • be entertaining 

Having their favorite influencer review the product in real-time, allows people to connect with him and build interest in the products.

Video content is vital in social commerce

Video content can be used to showcase products, demonstrate how to use them, or even provide customer testimonials. When used correctly, video content can be an effective way to engage customers and increase conversions.

However, as attention spans keep shortening, capturing the attention of potential customers become more challenging. That’s where short-form video can help. 

This has emerged after the rising of TikTok and have gone from mere entertainment to an essential element of marketing communications.

Over all other types of media, Gen Z and millennials favor short-form videos. Indeed it is the best way to reach these generations that spend most of their time on TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube. 

Instagram and Youtube introduced Reels and Youtube Shorts in 2020. Recently Amazon, the e-commerce giant, launched a new in-app functionality called Inspire. Likewise TikTok, it’s a scrollable feed with short-form video content showcasing products the retailer thinks the consumer might be interested in. So, customers can shop directly from content created by other consumers, influencers, and brands.

Social commerce still generates doubts

Practically all social media launched some version of e-commerce functionality. 

Social commerce continues to be a growing focus for many social media apps as well as brands.

However, people still have some doubts about social commerce. According to Hootsuite, 48% of consumers have concerns about the protection or the refund of their purchases and 37 % are concerned about the poor policies on returns and refunds. Those two-top reasons stem from a lack of trust in social media and retailers. 

Top concerns about social commerce

Social commerce is an essential aspect of social media and brands. But, the challenge is to solve the skepticism of people. Social media must assure their users of the protection of their online transactions. Meanwhile, brands must increase trust by clarifying their policies if their goal is generating sales and making prospects go to the end of the buyer’s experience.


To know more about live shopping in China, click here

To know more about Amazon’s new launch ‘Inspire’, click here