Enter the Age of Social Commerce
A shopping revolution is underway. Where Amazon, ebay, and Walmart reigned supreme merely months ago, ecommerce’s latest transition now sees Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and TikTok quickly usurping the ecommerce throne. Enter the Age of Social Commerce.
The Age of What?
Social commerce allows online consumers to purchase third-party products directly from within the native social media experience. Though it was already cresting a massive wave just 3 years ago, the Covid epidemic which prompted an unprecedented wave of online shopping, was a huge catalyst to social commerce’s overnight rise in both popularity and usage.
Much like our gComm’s native abilities, social commerce lets you browse, learn about a product, and complete its purchase all without ever leaving the social platform. So you can see an ad for a product that interests you on Instagram, do your research there by seeing posts, videos, and read user comments about it, and finally purchase it — all on Instagram. Then go back to browsing #awfuleyebrows or whatever you’re into.
But wait! That’s not all! Order now on your fave social platform and get customer service, after-sales care, and brand-to-customer communication included with your purchase! All of this can be yours for the low, low price of — well, nothing, really.
From discovery to purchase in a few, frictionless clicks – no standing in line, no screaming kids, no problem.
Plus, there’s the added bonus of the post-purchase euphoria, when word-of-mouth marketing and free advertising are rolled out by your paying customers, and a “Check out these new kicks I just ordered” pic on what is essentially the world’s largest shopping catalogue (IG) is worth far more than its erstwhile 1,000 words.
And this leads us to the best part for both brands and consumers: the fact that social commerce platforms aren’t, by definition, commerce platforms at all, but are social networks that incorporate commerce elements that allow selling to occur on their home turf. This means social selling isn’t only about selling, but also about cultivating relationships on social media in order to build your brand as well as your consumer base. Thus, effectively (and rather geniusly) social platforms encapsulate commerce within their own closed metaverses, and have become self-contained marketplaces. Where sponsored ads were once bread and butter for these giants, this new market category’s revshare is leaving that old model in the dust.
Which is why most (if not all) social platforms have recently made efforts to incorporate e-commerce tools into their offering, as a way to attract more DTC brands, and to enhance their value proposition to consumers. Alongside Instagram’s Shoppable Posts and product tagging, Facebook launched it’s collab with Shopify in Facebook Shops (eliminating the need for sellers to open a store page on the platform). TikTok has also launched TikTok Shopping, going as far as managing sellers’ logistics and supply chain activity for them.
To be fair, social platforms benefit greatly from social commerce, namely raking in the revshare dollars, and acquiring valuable consumer data while keeping users engaged in their ecosystem. The more personalized the experience, the broader the range of shopping tools and payment options, the more shoppers they can keep on their platform. But it’s also driving competition among the social giants, all in the name of acquiring more sellers. Platforms that adapt to sellers’ needs, particularly in terms of marketing, technology, payments, and logistics, are able to substantially differentiate their offering. The sellers, on the other hand, are able to leverage the social platforms’ ability to personalize user experience, which translates into higher conversion rates.
All in all, shopping on social media makes the experience much more interactive than a typical e-commerce spree, and for those missing the mall during the Covid era, social commerce is the second best way to go shopping with your friends.