Why social media is the future of ecommerce

Thursday January 9, 2020 - Posted by:

Social media has already impacted consumer perceptions, but what’s more exciting is how it will directly affect ecommerce and the way we spend.

From Airpods to Fashion Nova clothes, social media proves itself time-and-time again to be invaluable for brands looking to boost sales and brand awareness. Social media and e-commerce go hand-in-hand and not even luxury brands, can expect to flourish online without a dedicated social media strategy.

In the future, social media will become more embedded with e-commerce and the current trends already look positive. Over 81% of UK consumers surveyed admit to purchasing a product after seeing it on social media and sales via mobile commerce are growing at an average of 16% annually.

As social media continues to further embed into e-commerce, brands need to keep abreast of changing trends, technologies and new approaches to better take advantage of the commercial opportunities it presents.

How social media is making it easier to shop

It makes sense why businesses have embraced social media platforms. Here are a few key stats which highlight the draw of social media:

With a strong market potential, it’s no wonder that social media companies are finding new ways to better enable e-commerce and shopping via their platforms. In mid-2018, Instagram launched its shoppable posts feature, which allows businesses to tag products in organic posts that consumers can tap to find out more and make purchases. Additionally, through Snapchat’s visual search feature, users can point their camera at products or bar-codes, which redirects users to the Amazon Store where they can complete the purchase. On Facebook, many brands have incorporated chatbots to enable customers to raise customer service queries or complete purchases.

While there has been a lot of technical innovation regarding social media and e-commerce, there are some lacklustre results in this area. Social media undeniably impacts consumer perceptions towards products, but as a direct commerce tool, it has yet to live up to expectations. A recent survey by SUMO found that 82% of shoppers have yet to use any form of social commerce.

Despite this, the business world is optimistic about the rise of social media in e-commerce. According to the same report, security and privacy are the biggest concerns which are hindering mass adoption, however, customers are steadily becoming more open to shopping directly through social media. For example, 74% of shoppers are now open to purchasing via a chatbot, compared to 55% in 2016. Moreover, 30% of online shoppers say they would be likely to purchase through a social media network.

The willingness of consumers to shop through social media should be taken in the context of wider changes towards consumer spending habits. Payments via cash are steadily declining and the high-street in the USA and the UK is facing stiff competition from online shopping. And what should come as no surprise to anyone, social media usage is up, with the average person spending over two hours a day on social media, generally through their phones. With more and more people glued to their phones and willing to spend make purchases, it is imperative for brands to facilitate e-commerce through social media.

As more social media networks break into the e-commerce sphere and experiment, the user experience and transaction methods will gradually become more frictionless and will make it appear like a more efficient option for consumers to use.

How brands can take advantage

Perhaps the key fact to take away from the above is that social media is here to stay and consumers want to find more efficient ways of transacting. But to get consumers at the point where they are comfortable enough to spend money through a social media network, businesses need to develop a marketing strategy that engages with users.

Considering that nearly half (47 per cent) of internet users in North America and Europe can now be classed as social shoppers, retailers stand to gain from the deployment of a strong social media strategy. How people use social media continues to change every year, with it moving from a tool to upload user content (photos, posts, etc) to a tool than encompasses e-commerce.

Many social media users are vocal and are willing to follow and interact with brands by sharing items they have purchased or publicly commenting about products. Brands also need to engage with non-vocal customers and craft engaging social media content that draws in users and results in conversions. Successful brands will be proactive about uploading content to their social channels.

Bringing localisation to e-commerce and social media

Global e-commerce continues to grow each year and brands tapping into multinational and multilingual markets need to prioritise a strategic, carefully planned approach that connects with their target market. Simply put, a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach does not work.

Marketing content needs to be effectively translated and localised to connect with their target market. Social media is popular globally, which means brands cannot take a Western-centric approach to their social media strategy. In Latin America alone, there are 567 million social media users and in Africa and the Middle East, there are nearly 350 million social media users.

Considering the impact of social media on e-commerce, it is absolutely essential for brands to utilise a multilingual social media marketing model to appeal to audiences in international markets.

Brands should not aim for only a direct translation of content but look to localise and capitalise on cultural nuances too, such as holidays and respect for native values.

As we have pointed out before, consumers trust peer and personalised recommendations. Localisation of social media content is the first step towards communicating effectively in the customers’ language and developing a marketing strategy with a personalised touch.

To find out more

To succeed in localising your social media content and to make the most out of your e-commerce strategy, you need to understand your target markets and be properly equipped to communicate with your audience in a fully relevant, powerful way.

Find out how Locaria can help you achieve your international social media marketing or international SEO goals by calling us on +44 (0)20 3948 6800, or request a quote online today.

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