A new era in commerce has emerged. With big names already trialling their ‘Buy Now’ buttons, we give you three reasons why social commerce is growing at a phenomenal pace.
In June of last year, Twitter became the first social network to launch a ‘Buy Now’ function on their posts, while September saw Facebook launch their trial version. Now that Instagram has joined the ranks, it seems pretty obvious that soCommerce is here to stay, and yet there has still been a huge amount of speculation about it.
Critics point to studies which suggest social media to only constitute a very small percentage of online engagement. However, these studies are usually conducted with a large number of people well over the age of 25, and one of the key issues with this is that this age group variation is too non-specific for us to gain any valuable insight. Older age groups won’t launch straight into soCommerce if they’ve been getting on perfectly well without it. This is a growing sector, and you need to understand who uses it. So, without further ado, here are the three reasons why ‘so’ is the new ‘e’.
1) Social Media Madness
First off, social media has become something which we simply cannot escape from in everyday life, and in signing up, everything about our lives is accessible to everyone else. What better way for marketers and the like to take advantage of that than to tailor all advertising opportunities towards our online profiles, which we update on so regular a basis.
With 20% of all internet pages now opened being a Facebook page, and with YouTube currently the top source of online traffic in the world, it wasn’t going to take long for marketers to realise that they were missing a trick. Not that you can blame them for trying; it represents the chance to provide a seamless shopping experience for customers, breaking down the barriers between online and brick-and-mortar retail even further.
Even newer than Facebook and Twitter is the patent-pending Spreesy startup, which can turn followers on Instagram into customers. After connecting their Instagram accounts to Spreesy.com, businesses can continue to post as normal while adding a price and quantity to the post’s caption turns it into a money-maker; a customer can simply leave an email address in the comments section before moving to the secure Paypal checkout – talk about convenience.
2) The Millennials
Speaking of convenience, that’s first on the agenda for the Millennial Generation, or ‘Gen Y’. Emailing has become far too laborious for them; it’s much more appealing for them to go to their brands’ pages to post a comment, so those with a social media presence gain more respect, understanding and loyalty from these consumers for understanding this. As I discussed in an article last year, the type of customer we’re currently dealing with is fickle, so maintaining a loyalty from them is getting more and more difficult.
The impetuous nature of this consumer has meant that they’re slowly taking the eCommerce market by storm, and for those of us in the industry, this is going to mean big changes, particularly in the area of customer service. Social commerce is here to stay because this sector is only going to get bigger and bigger; within a couple of decades it will not be a generation anymore, but representative of most of society. The fact is, far more credence is given to reviews and review sites these days than to traditional advertising methods.
3) Being Left Behind
The fact that people prefer to read reviews by fellow consumers than listen to any kind of advertising only serves to reinforce the impact of social commerce. Marketing needs to rethink its strategy.
However, before every business starts running to catch up, it’s worth discussing what they actually hope to achieve with social media. Realistically, you need to know who your target market is inside out, and how they think. Are they likely to be on Facebook, is Twitter more appropriate, or is it Google+ you should be considering as your primary target? Plus, let’s not forget, it also depends on the content you’re putting out.
So, move over traditional marketing in favour of social media marketing, which has often been an afterthought up until now. Companies are seeing a huge return via the integration of a tailored, comprehensive social media strategy; in terms of figures it is still a little hard to quantify, but in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty, this is self-evident. Social media does not function as a tag-on – it must be considered in those crucial boardroom talks right from the off.
Whether you’re a B2C or B2B site doesn’t matter anymore; buying habits transcend across all levels of life, in much the same way as social media itself, so it’s reasonable to assume that this kind of attitude to commerce will move over in some form.
Social commerce is here to stay, because when you add together the all-consuming nature of social media and the limitless possibilities of personalised merchandising offered by it, the nature of the Millennial customer which will only grow larger as the years go by, and the changing strategies of big businesses, it is an opportunity to move our transactional avenues to the next level which we cannot miss.
If you'd like to find out how you can create a personalised platform, why not take a few minutes to view our Omnia eCommerce solution page.