Social Commerce: Turning likes into sales

Social commerce is the use of social media platforms to facilitate online shopping and transactions. It is different from e-commerce, which relies on websites or apps to sell products or services. Social commerce leverages the social interactions, recommendations, and influence of users to drive sales and conversions.

Social commerce has been growing rapidly in recent years, especially in emerging markets like China, India, and Southeast Asia, where social media penetration and mobile internet usage are high. According to a report by eMarketer, global social commerce sales reached $89.4 billion in 2020, up 35.8% from 2019, and are expected to grow to $604.5 billion by 2027.

Some of the benefits of social commerce for both buyers and sellers are:

  • Convenience: Social commerce allows users to browse, compare, and purchase products or services without leaving their favorite social media apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, or WeChat. This reduces the friction and hassle of switching between different platforms and entering payment information multiple times.
  • Trust: Social commerce builds on the existing trust and loyalty that users have with their social networks, friends, and influencers. Users can see reviews, ratings, comments, and recommendations from other users, as well as interact with sellers directly through chat or video. This enhances the credibility and authenticity of the products or services and increases the likelihood of purchase.
  • Engagement: Social commerce creates a more engaging and personalized shopping experience for users, as they can discover new products or services based on their preferences, interests, and behaviors. Users can also participate in live streaming, gamification, flash sales, and other interactive features that make shopping more fun and social.
  • Reach: Social commerce enables sellers to reach a larger and more diverse audience, as well as target specific segments based on demographics, location, and behavior. Sellers can also leverage the power of social media influencers, who have a large and loyal following, to promote their products or services and generate word-of-mouth marketing.

Social commerce is not without its challenges, however. Some of the issues that need to be addressed are:

  • Privacy: Social commerce involves sharing personal and financial information on social media platforms, which may pose security and privacy risks. Users may be reluctant to share their data or make purchases on platforms that have a history of data breaches, misuse, or manipulation. Sellers and platforms need to ensure that they comply with the relevant data protection laws and regulations and provide transparent and secure payment options for users.
  • Quality: Social commerce may also raise concerns about the quality and reliability of the products or services offered, especially when sourced from third-party vendors or suppliers. Users may encounter counterfeit, defective, or fraudulent products or services, or face delivery delays or disputes. Sellers and platforms need to establish clear and fair policies and mechanisms for quality assurance, customer service, and dispute resolution.
  • Competition: Social commerce is a highly competitive and dynamic market, where sellers and platforms need to constantly innovate and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of users. Sellers and platforms need to differentiate themselves from their rivals, and offer unique and valuable products or services, as well as engaging and interactive features, to attract and retain users.

Social commerce is a promising and exciting trend that is transforming the way people shop and sell online. It offers many opportunities and benefits for both buyers and sellers, as well as challenges and risks. As social media platforms continue to evolve and integrate more e-commerce features, and as users become more comfortable and confident with online shopping, social commerce is likely to become more mainstream and prevalent in the future. Subscribe to  Masai Cloud Multimedia for the best social media services.