Social commerce is quite a popular term, with a lot of varying angles and perspectives. Loosely defined it is the digital selling of products utilizing social media like features (e.g. for product discovery and experience). This plurality of perspectives culminates in as many approaches to social commerce. The underlying premise is what they all have in common: Leverage our changing behaviour patterns for improved and immersive commerce solutions.
On the forefront are the big social media platforms (like Facebook or Snapchat), which are already great at letting users discover and experience products. With features like dynamic product ads or in app checkouts they are constantly improving their own on-platform and off-platform commerce offering. Then we have players like Verishop. They are building a marketplace, but to improve the experience they are adding features like feeds and are hence adopting a more social media like look and feel.
Shopify, one of the leading providers of e-commerce software, is actively encouraging its customers to experiment with social commerce, as this is a great way to connect with and sell to customers. Walmart, another major retail player, is taking this approach to the next level. They are not just thinking about how they can utilize social media platforms, but are exploring a potential purchase of TikTok US. Effectively becoming a major social commerce player themselves. They even renewed their interest after their initial bid, which was jointly with Microsoft, was rejected by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Those are just some examples of the many approaches to social commerce. We compiled some articles below, in case you want to dive deeper.
Facebook is making it easier to shop and sell within its apps
Facebook just took the next step to becoming more of a digital mall. After Instagram Shops, Facebook is now announcing the expansion to Facebook Shops. The Shop is aimed to be a new place to discover businesses and shop for products in the Facebook/Instagram app. Businesses can easily set up their own store and showcase their products. While Facebook is getting the Shops starter kit, Instagram will go into the next phase. With Checkout it will enable users to make a purchase in just a few taps. All of this happens without actually leaving the app.
Snapchat’s ‘dynamic ads’ product for e-commerce retailers rolls out worldwide
With it's latest ad product launch, Dynamic Ads, Snapchat is also delving deeper into social commerce. This ad product allows advertisers to automatically create ads in real time using the brands own product catalog. As known from other platforms, advertisers don’t have to spend time manually creating their advertisement to fit Snapchat’s vertical format, but instead, sync their product catalog with the social platform and allow Snap to build their ads in real time. Early results of this new format have been very promising, with advertisers seeing significant ROAS increases.
Verifshop adopts a social network strategy from China
Looking at digital commerce and an effective omni-channel approach, social media platforms are a natural next step. Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat are constantly working on ways to improve the shopping experience for its users. Verishop however is entering the social commerce sphere the other way around. It is an e-commerce site that specifically offers social elements like a personalized feed to let it's user have a social shopping experience. This approach is not new and has led to great success for dominating Chinese e-commerce players like Alibaba.
How social commerce is enabling retailers to be part of their customers’ life
Social commerce is the perfect opportunity for retailers of all stripes to dive in, experiment with social shopping, and emerge ahead of the curve. The ability to showcase the brand and products exactly where people spend much of their time to discover things they are interested in, is combined with fast and easy purchasing flows making social commerce a great place to combine product discovery and sales.
What a Walmart-Microsoft bid for TikTok could mean for e-commerce
The potential (forced) sale or technology partnership of TikTok’s US operations to or with a local partner has dominated the tech headlines for the past weeks. One of the more interesting suitors is Walmart. While this sounds strange initially, there are solid business reasons behind it. The retail landscape has shifted dramatically and Walmart's move is just the latest in a string of maneuvers in which retailers try to adjust their ways of selling products in the digital world. On top of the direct path to the customer, transaction data is the other big asset of owning a social media platform. While it currently needs to be shared with Facebook or Google, a world where Walmart is able to effectively reach and serve its customers through an omni-channel approach as well as provide a viable platform for its third party brands to advertise on, opens a whole new set of opportunities.
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