April 12, 2018
Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are becoming the newest e-commerce marketplaces, with new research demonstrating that consumers are increasingly turning to these places to make online purchases and connect with brands.
Not all brands are convinced, however, with the value of social commerce and social media as a means of making sales. But, social media sites continue to allow purchasing opportunities with brands, and this allows them to sell goods directly via social media pages.
Last year, Facebook announced it would be making further developments to improve the site’s dedicated shopping section and improving the mobile shopping experience. Now, users can buy favorite products without ever having to leave Facebook.
Instagram has also made some changes to its platform by opening up the image sharing platform to all advertisers, with new ad formats that allow users to view posts and click on buttons such as ‘Buy Now,’ ‘Shop Now,’ or ‘Install Now.’ It is not just Facebook’s two platforms getting in on the action, though; Snapchat has hinted that it is planning on introducing its e-commerce platform.
Despite the demand from consumers for brands to sell through social media pages, many of them are reluctant to do this. Although many brands are not enabling customers to purchase directly through social media pages, the customers are still using their pages for inspiration on what to buy – not to mention that social media is also the go-to place to find any sort of online discount. eBay, for example frequently utilizes their Facebook page to spread the word about a currently active eBay promo code or special sale, in order to attract the attention of customers. This indicates the pure value of social commerce and shows us that it is only a matter of time before all brands start selling products through social media pages.
Over 50% of people who follow favorite brands on Facebook have said that they do this so they can view products over anything else. These people are called ‘social shoppers’ and visit social media as part of their day-to-day shopping habits and use posts, advertising and images they see on social media to influence purchasing decisions. In fact, many people use social media platforms solely to follow brands and make purchasing decisions as opposed to keeping in touch with friends.
History of Social Commerce
Social commerce was a phrase first coined in 2005 by Yahoo, but it wasn’t until 2008 that it really started taking off, and the foundations were laid down for how we know it today. 2008 was the very year during which suggestions and expectations around social media and e-commerce coming together became commonplace. The usefulness of social media as a marketing tool and way to increase brand awareness was widely known already.
In 2009, new technologies came along and started to become widely used. Twitter, smartphones, and e-commerce became changed customer behavior. Then, in 2010, social commerce began to pick up speed as Facebook began to make some serious profits as more and more brands began to flock to social media platforms to reach and connect with customers and target market.
Since 2011, the ‘Internet of Things’ has become commonplace and online retail is growing faster than ever before. E-commerce and using social media to connect with brands isn’t just something for ‘millennials’ anymore. People of all ages and demographics are taking to smart devices for shopping purposes and following favorite brands or retailers. Some even choose to participate in gambling games on social media. With this, social commerce has spread like wildfire, and it is something we are going to see an increase in relevance over the next few years.
Want to learn more about social commerce? Check out our infographic below, which is packed full of interesting facts relating to social commerce, its history, and predictions for the future.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!