Social commerce is revolutionizing the way we shop. In a nutshell, social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to buy and sell products. The concept has been around for a while, but the surge in popularity it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic has put it in the spotlight. The market is growing faster than traditional e-commerce, and by 2025, it is expected to reach $1.2 trillion globally. The rise of the “creator economy” and the growing popularity of small businesses are just some of the factors driving this growth. Social commerce is already changing the way we interact with brands and creating a more engaging shopping experience. With technology making it easier than ever to shop on social media platforms, social commerce is here to stay and will continue to reshape the future of shopping.
Factors contributing to the growth of social commerce
Shopping has come a long way from the days of the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Social Commerce is the new buzzword when it comes to shopping, thanks to its ability to provide a seamless buying and selling experience online, all within our very own social media platforms. As consumers turn to social apps for all their daily needs, social commerce is quickly gaining popularity across all generations.
Factors contributing to the growth of social commerce:
The rise of the creator economy has been a significant factor in the growth of social commerce. Millions of influencers create and promote products to their followers, resulting in a powerful and global reach for small creators. Another contributor has been the changes in consumer behaviour due to the pandemic, which accelerated the adoption of social media marketplaces. Furthermore, with the rising calls amongst consumers to support small businesses and buy local products, social networks have become the new marketplaces for budding entrepreneurs.
With consumers shopping on social apps, social commerce is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional commerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025, globally. In the US, social commerce gross merchandise value is expected to rise from $37 billion in 2021 to nearly $80 billion by 2025, accounting for 5% of total US e-commerce. These figures are driven by millennials and Gen-Z, who are projected to account for over half of the global population by 2030.
As the world becomes more digitally connected, traditional linear e-commerce tactics are being replaced with social commerce. Social commerce represents a paradigm shift in how consumers interact with brands. Creating interactive and engaging experiences for consumers is essential for brands to survive. As such, leading brands have started incorporating social commerce into their strategies, working with platforms like TikTok, focusing on engaging content that highlights unique product features or emphasizes product complexities in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
As social commerce continues to grow, the need for trust and credibility with consumers increases, coupled with the need for personalized and flexible technological solutions to cater to changing consumer behavior. Despite the challenges, the future of social commerce is bright, and the potential for growth is immense.
Statistics depicting the potential of social commerce
Social commerce is the future of shopping, and the numbers confirm it. Globally, social commerce is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional commerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025! Roughly 62% of this growth will be driven by millennials (33%) and Gen-Z (29%). It is projected that these generations will account for over half of the global population by 2030. In the United States alone, social commerce sales were $37 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach nearly $80 billion by 2025.
As social commerce takes over the e-commerce market at a rapid pace, small creators, influencers, and sellers are finding ways to attract consumers, tip the market share in their favor, and challenge established businesses. A surge in the popularity of social media marketplaces during the pandemic has dramatically changed the way consumers buy merchandise, and calls among consumers to buy locally and support small businesses have grown exponentially.
The pandemic has fueled this social commerce market’s growth, but it shows no signs of stopping. 5 billion social media users worldwide are projected for 2023. As the largest consumers of social media and online content and celebrities continue to age, it is safe to say that social commerce’s rise will keep being driven by the younger generations.
How social commerce differs from e-commerce
Social commerce is more than just a new shopping experience – it’s a social event. What sets social commerce apart is its sense of community building and engagement. It blends buying and selling with a sense of urgency across communities. Unlike traditional e-commerce, which can be dry and transactional, social commerce can be interactive, entertaining, and experiential.
Part of the reason why social commerce is so successful is that it taps into the power of personalisation. By leveraging creators and influencers, social commerce platforms promote a sense of trust and community among buyers. Influencers can offer relatable reviews and recommendations which resonate with audiences and help to influence their purchasing decisions. Creators can offer personalised shopping recommendations, creating experiences that are unique and tailored to individual shoppers.
Social commerce is all about connection. It’s about making shopping an interactive and engaging experience that encourages shoppers to take part in a community and to share their experiences and recommendations. By blending buying and selling in fun and innovative ways, social commerce platforms create a sense of urgency that is hard to resist.
Ultimately, social commerce offers something that traditional e-commerce cannot: the ability to connect with others and to build meaningful relationships around shared interests and passions. By creating a sense of community and personalised experiences that go beyond the transactional, social commerce is changing the way we shop and connect with brands.
Innovative examples of social commerce
Innovative examples of social commerce
The emergence of social commerce has paved the way for exciting new shopping experiences. Live shopping events on TikTok and shoppable Instagram live streams have become popular ways for brands to showcase their products by using fun and engaging content that resonates with consumers.
This is a significant shift from traditional advertising strategies, with a focus on product features that deliver information. Instead, social commerce provides a more educational, interactive, and entertaining journey that allows consumers to discover, engage with and purchase products while watching a live event or video. Brands can now reach new audiences by leveraging the user-generated content that many social platforms generate through AR lenses, a fun way for users to test products on Snapchat with friends.
In addition, social commerce is creating opportunities for better community building and engagement with consumers. Brands now place a high value on the influencer, partnership, and collaborative model. Social media communities are providing an excellent way for brands to meet consumers where they are and let them discover new products.
These innovative and interactive features of social commerce are only the beginning. Social commerce is continually evolving, and more and more brands can expect to integrate these features on their platforms to reach out to consumers in new ways.
Challenges and solutions in the social commerce industry
Challenges and solutions in the social commerce industry:
Establishing trust and credibility with consumers can be tricky in a world that is saturated with marketing noise. Authenticity is key, and increasingly, people want to see behind the scenes of the businesses they support. Social commerce offers a unique opportunity to show the human side of your brand, to pull back the curtain and give customers a peek at the people behind the products.
Transparency, honesty, and accountability are all essential to building trust with consumers. On the legal front, navigating regulations can be a complex issue. The regulations around social commerce are evolving, and it can be tough to stay on top of what’s required. There are issues around sales tax, advertising standards, and data privacy, to name just a few. Businesses need to be working with a legal team to ensure they’re compliant with the rules, whether that means posting the right disclaimers, adhering to data protection standards, or paying the right taxes.
The need for personalized and flexible technology solutions is another area where companies need to focus their attention. Customers want to feel that the shopping experience has been tailored to them and their needs. This means using AI and machine learning technologies to personalize recommendations, using chatbots to answer customer queries, and creating responsive, user-friendly interfaces. Brands that embrace flexible technology that can adapt to changing consumer needs will be able to stay competitive in this rapidly evolving industry.
As social commerce grows three times as fast as traditional commerce, the future looks bright. Adapting to changing consumer behaviour and new technologies is crucial. Social commerce offers a unique blend of buying and selling with community focus, entertainment, and urgency. Businesses utilizing these features create more engaging and interactive experiences that reach audiences in ways traditional e-commerce cannot. With flexibility and personalized technology solutions, social commerce has the potential to revolutionize how we shop.