The rise of social commerce and its impact on traditional business and ecommerce

It is rare to meet someone without at least one social media account. And let’s be honest, when we meet such a person, we all secretly think, why don’t they. Social media is a place where you can find a lot of entertainment, you can connect with friends, can follow the celebrities and influencers you like, stay informed, and much more. People use it for inspiration and also just to relax. We all love the cute Instagram reels or fun TikToks, but we also love checking what our friends share on Facebook. And marketers are taking advantage of how much people love social media and the time they are spending there.

It is not a secret that every brand would like to sell more of its product and make bigger profits. To do so, they need to reach more and more people. At some point, all efforts you make on your website and, in general, on the web will be nearly exhausted. They will still pay off in engaging with people, increasing customer loyalty, brand awareness, and more, but the main focus won’t be bringing new people on board. So, where should you look then? The answer is social media.

We are no longer talking only about eCommerce but also about social commerce. Many social media platforms now offer the possibility for you to create a whole shopping experience on them. You can try with organic means like using hashtags or taking advantage of dedicated paid advertisements for each platform. Then people that find you will be able to choose products, buy them and pay so easily. This is why the rise of social commerce is something no one can deny. But what would that mean for traditional shopping and eCommerce? We will find the answer to this question in this article.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is buying products or services through a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Zalo, etc. How the process happens depends on the capabilities of the platform. For example, some platforms will handle everything, and you won’t even have to leave the app, but others will redirect you to a third-party page for the payment or the logistics. No matter which option the platform offers, it greatly facilitates shopping through social media.

Why is social commence so important?

Social commerce offers almost the same possibilities as eCommerce offers. It provides you a seamless shopping without the need to leave your social media app. But it is better than eCommerce in certain ways for both buyers and sellers. The truth is that eCommerce is not perfect for small businesses. If you are a person that does some craft items, you probably can’t afford to build your own app to sell them. But you definitely can create your own social media account and try to sell there. 

For buyers, social media facilitates the purchase process itself and gives them a better view and feel for the brand, reading other people’s comments, sharing what they like with their friends, etc. And the presence of small freelancers and entrepreneurs gives them more choices, and they can also support local producers. The customer experience is so smooth, and they can find a great product while just checking what their friends shared during the day because of the amazing recommendation algorithms. 

Especially in countries like China and Korea, where people use apps like Kakao and WeChat, you can do everything without leaving the app. You can chat, use social media, watch videos, buy goods and products, pay for services, and more without leaving the platform. Maybe we will soon have more and more applications like that, even in the European and American markets.

How would social commerce affect other shopping methods?

Social commerce has a clear advantage: more people can be reached easier. People will know the most popular social media application because most of them are global. Or if there is a local one like Kakao the people in the country will be very familiar with it. But when it comes to eCommerce, each brand has its own site or application that you might haven’t even heard about. Or they might not have physical stores in a suitable location for you, which can be very limiting. 

The rise of social commerce and its impact on traditional business and ecommerce - 1

On the other hand, some of the bigger brands or retailers like Amazon, eBay, Zalando, AliExpress, and others will always remain a place where people will go when looking for something particular. eCommerce will definitely not disappear, but it will evolve. Even right now, we can see that those big retailers are running ads on different social media platforms. In this way, they at least can be visible there, and if someone clicks on an ad will be redirected to their own app or site. 

eCommerce will have to evolve to work better with social commerce. People won’t just uninstall their shopping apps or remove the bookmarks of their favorite sites. However, to ensure that they get new clients, those eCommerce shops will have to promote themselves on social media. Social commerce will have to offer a greater variety of products to take a bigger share of the online shopping market. But social media platforms also don’t want to lose the money coming in from big eCommerce names that promote themselves on their platforms. So, they won’t take the whole pie because the fee they take from each purchase is nothing compared to the price companies are ready to pay for a click on their ad.

Many businesses that were counting only on traditional shopping also discovered the power of social media and now are doing social commerce. If they were just small local shops that couldn’t have their own site or app, having a social media account was the perfect solution for them. Now they can first gain visibility, and maybe people will decide to go to the local shop if they can, or they can also get their products on social media and have them delivered. Traditional shopping will never disappear because people just love it. We love going to the shop and choosing our products and goods ourselves. However, eCommerce or social commerce is the perfect solution when we don’t have this option.

It is not sure how exactly the three shopping models — traditional, eCommerce, ad social commerce, will influence each other in the future. But we believe it will be more like a symbiosis where they will complement each other and work together. None of the three will become extinct, but it is uncertain what part of the market they will hold. Social commerce has surely grown a lot and probably will continue, so you should explore all the options to take advantage of it. It will definitely pay off. 

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Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela Gavrailova
Austria | Gabriela is a person with many and diverse hobbies. If you don't find her reading a book at home or baking something, she will probably be out hiking or taking some classes to learn a new skill.

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