Social media has changed the way people interact. From royalty-free music to paid partnerships that are becoming an important part of social networking sites, these platforms are now tying up with brands to offer a smooth shopping experience on social media.
The term ‘social commerce’ was introduced in 2005 for online collaborative shopping tools, but has only recently picked up more than ever.
With increasing internet and social media users, the consumer space has also widened. Retailers are thus increasingly trying to meet them where they are. Even on social media.
Social platforms play a huge role in influencing consumer purchase decisions. One of them leading the trend is Instagram, which influences 72 pc of its users’ purchase decisions.
So much so, over 40 pc of online shoppers follow brands on social media and 57 pc have purchased a product they heard about on social media.
However, not only brands but also wholesalers and individuals tying up with local retailers are making their presence on social media.
“It is the easiest and an economic way of telling people that you exist and what products you offer. It cuts out on all the hassle and cost of setting up a real physical store,” says Pallavi Goel, who runs an online bakery with the name The Crumble House.
However, bringing shopping into social channels is still emerging. Not many people prefer shopping on networking sites. Shoppers look for an easy-to-use mobile experience and even among heavy online shoppers, only a small percentage has ever purchased from a social media platform.
“I recently purchased a pair of shoes from Instagram. It was not a brand but a local wholesale page. The quality was good and the rate reasonable. But the service and delivery process were really a hassle. I am not sure but I may not prefer to buy again from social media” says Kartik Narayanan, a student in New Delhi.
Recently, Facebook came up with a feature to enhance social commerce on its platform. Brands can now create ‘Shop Now’ stores and use Facebook Messenger to interact with consumers and for feedback.
The social media store enables sellers to upload product pictures and information, customise shop’s catalog, sell directly from the page, run advertisements and get insights.
Other networking sites are not behind. Twitter too, has teamed up with a number of e-commerce partners and allows brands to tweet a product with a ‘Buy’ button through which followers can buy from the page itself without leaving Twitter.
To invite people to purchase from Twitter, the platform also introduced features like Twitter-only sales, flash sales, product releases, and more.
Similarly, Pinterest came up with ‘Buyable pins’ collaborating with brands like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Wayfair. Just select ‘Buy It’ and pay with Apple Pay or credit card.
However, unlike online shopping platforms other than social media, sellers do not display their entire inventory on social commerce shops. They release products to first see how they go over, and focus on top sellers to experiment what works.
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