Social media is gradually becoming an important channel for online shopping. In the past years, social media has become a place where you can get inspired and learn about brands & products. Today, social media is transforming into a place where you can also buy those products.
This is called social commerce, it refers to the activity of selling and buying on apps and social media sites. How products can be purchased still differs from platform to platform but the key point is that purchases can be made wholly or partly within the social media platforms or apps.
Consumers opt for the way with the least amount of friction. Just as voice-commerce offers a new and fast way to purchase products through a voice assistant like Alexa, so does social commerce.
On social, most of the users are a few clicks away from a purchase since address and payment details are already stored by the social platform. The research phase is also shortened since the comments and reviews are directly visible next to the product.
Social commerce is still in an early stage but has the potential to become a major sales channel for businesses. 60% of Instagram users say they find new products and a third of the users are happy they will be able to make purchases through social media.
Social commerce's latest development was initiated by Snapchat. Snapchat recently launched the first global campaign using its new 'Shoppable AR' technology. The initial campaign is an AR shoe 'try-on' filter, created with Gucci. Gucci will feature four pairs of sneakers in two different Lenses (each Lens will showcase two pairs). And snapchatters will be able to try out the shoes in AR to see how they look and purchase the shoes they like directly from the Lens via a “Shop Now” button.
With the rise of social commerce, a mobile-first experience is a must. Mobile was already dominant but will now be more important than ever. A slow site is a no-go in the customer experience, every millisecond you have to wait for a page to load is an experience killer. When people click through from Instagram to buy your product, you have to make sure that once they hit the ‘buy now’ button the experience doesn’t change. Your e-commerce website or app has to be just as fast and mobile-optimized as the social platforms they are coming from.
On social media, life goes fast. Swipe, swipe, like, like, share, comment, share, swipe. People use social media, everywhere, and mostly in short bursts of time. In the bus, on the toilet, during class or a meeting, or while walking the dog. The e-commerce website or app that maximizes short visits the best, with a mobile-first design and an intuitive user journey, will win.