evolution of social commerce

Evolution of Social Commerce in the Retail Industry

The evolution of social commerce has skyrocketed over the past few years. eMarketer projects that retail social commerce sales will reach $36B this year. That is in the U.S. alone! This just shows that social commerce holds a bright future for retail, especially considering how the pandemic changed the way we shop. 

The evolution of social commerce was most notable in 2007 when Facebook launched Marketplace. This has allowed users to sell to each other on a peer-to-peer style platform. However, social commerce has taken off only recently as the pandemic has made consumers comfortable buying online. 

The evolution of social commerce is a win-win situation. It offers brands a great opportunity to expand their audience. Furthermore, social commerce allows customers to buy products without leaving social media platforms. Hence, social commerce has streamlined the sales process. 

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The Rise of Social Media and E-Commerce

It’s not hard to see why the evolution of social commerce has been massive. For instance, people spend more time on social media. Statista revealed that the average person spends 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media per day. 

Moreover, platforms acknowledge this rise by providing more efficient targeting tools. It is also projected that mobile shopping’s sales will reach $3.56 trillion in 2021. 

As noted above, the pandemic has boosted e-commerce, achieving a decade worth of progress in 2020 alone. In many industries, e-commerce sales increased 40 percent to 70 percent in just weeks. Consequently, more people are on social media to buy from brands.

The Shift in Consumer Mindset 

For a long time, consumers would window-shop in social media before heading to e-commerce sites to make a purchase. Brands used social platforms solely to build relationships and trust. However, visually-driven platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest began changing the game. 

For instance, “Instagram brands” have emerged in the past few years. These brands have implemented what social commerce really means – having the entire purchase journey on the platform. Instagram also contributed to the popularity of influencer marketing. Every social media platform is now following suit in adding social commerce features. 

How Platforms Implement Social Commerce 

The visual nature of Instagram has made the platform the gold standard for shoppable posts. Meanwhile, Facebook offers a similar feature with its product tags. Pinterest’s rich pins make it possible to sync information between your website and organic posts. Rich pins automatically update all pins as you make changes. 

Moreover, YouTube is a great channel to present your products. You may use cards that pop up during a video and include shopping links. The platform is notable in influence marketing wherein content creators like to say “links in the description box below”. 

Meanwhile, many brands are observing how TikTok will evolve in years to come. The platform has rolled out shoppable ads in 2020. TikTok also enables brands to upload catalogs and livestream shopping. As result, advertisers can link to e-commerce pages during live takes. 

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