Social media has taken over the world with a sweep. Nearly everyone lives a parallel life on the virtual world. These social avatars enable the people to live their life in a way they would not be able to in their real lives. People flock to these platforms since they can shape the utopia they want to be in. This is the reason that Social Media giants such as Instagram and Facebook have become an integral part of everyone’s life. Businesses have also taken full advantage of this opportunity presented before them and have used the reach of these platforms to advertise their own products.
Social commerce is the use of a social network community to drive e-commerce sales, and it is a massive market: By 2027, it is projected that social commerce will drive $604 billion in sales.
Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have both dedicated “buy now” indicators on ads, as well as live streams run by influencers that are resulting in e-commerce goods being sold out on the regular.
The first social media platform, Six Degrees, was seen as just another trend that would fade away very soon. But little did anyone know that it would open such an untraversed territory for the millions of people to explore the virtual world. Soon after Facebook came out it started the concept of sponsored stories as a form of advertising. It spread just like wildfire and soon enough there were many social media platforms using their base as potential consumers for businesses.
The biggest benefit of social media to commerce is that it facilitates transparency in the latter. Since there are millions of people on social media, businesses have to be really particular about their image. This helps to keep a check over fraudulent practices. People can share their reviews about the products and services on these platforms helping other people to make a better decision. In a recent study, it was revealed that 86% of the people shopping online find a good review as a must before buying the product they desire.
However, social commerce should not be mistaken with social media marketing.
Social media marketing is used by brands to drive traffic to their websites. Brands will post ads showcasing their products for consumers to click-through to the website.The cost of such ads is usually based on the number of views the ad will gain or a cost-per-click. Social commerce allows consumers to purchase products and services from a brand directly, from within the social commerce platform. This could be via either clicking on a paid ad or by clicking on the “View Shop” CTA on the brand’s social media profile.
Recently due to the coronavirus pandemic, social and e-commerce got a major boost since they were able to provide an alternative to the consumers to satiate their consumption needs in times of distress. This is true considering the immense reach of e-commerce websites such as Amazon.
Brands can even work together with celebrities and influential people to promote products and advocate thousands of followers over social media. Social media channels provide a platform for consumers where they get to know about new product launches, trending brands, and thus greatly influence the purchase decision enabling customers to browse, explore and purchase products directly from the Facebook business page or Instagram business account. Sellers can sync their existing product feed from an online store to Facebook and Instagram shops.
In this everchanging world, social commerce has truly established itself as the premier form of retail and purchase helping the consumer to overcome many difficulties faced before.
Social Commerce and other topics are discussed at the FACULTY OF COMMERCE AND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT at Amrapali Institute, Haldwani. Amrapali Educational Institute is a top ranked institute in Nainital.