Social Commerce: when the user becomes the product

Beatrice Borghi - March 15, 2022
consumer behavior e-commerce ecommerce marketing social commerce

Social Commerce: when the user becomes the product

Social Commerce in Italy - PXR Italy

E-commerce - online commerce - revenues in the year 2021 amounted to $4.938 billion, compared to $3.351 billion in 2019 (data: eMarketer). The web shopping sector grows year by year and is always a top trend. Today, a new method of online shopping is emerging, making it possible to merge entertainment and marketing. We are talking about Social Commerce, the new business strategy used by brands to sell products directly via social media, without a website referral.

What is Social Commerce?

Social Commerce is a specific type of E-commerce, which allows consumers to purchase a product directly from dedicated applications (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and many others). Is essential the integration of social media to allow retailers to use a new channel of communication and product promotion. We can see the growth in demand for online shopping in recent years is high.

The figures speak for themselves: through the use of apps, Social Commerce has seen a substantial increase in sales with global revenues of more than $585 billion in 2021 alone. The global pandemic that has characterised the last two years has allowed for further growth and spread of Social Commerce, which has seen a 68% increase since the start of Covid-19 (data: Astound Commerce). 

What innovation does it bring?

Social Commerce allows the user to embark on a real consumer 'journey', thanks to a reduction in purchasing time and a simplification at the moment of payment. All this is measured in terms of Consumer Experience (CX), i.e. the subjective relationship (positive, negative or neutral) that a customer creates during contact with the product or service on sale.

Brands are increasingly relying on social selling because it allows them to connect with the perfect users for each product, while creating the illusion (for the user) that it is the product that is perfect for the user. This strategy used by brands allows them to guarantee each user the most suitable experience for their needs, in a timely and precise manner.

Social Commerce: the impact on our lives

The novelty that Social Commerce brings is a combination of browsing social media for personal purposes and buying products on the same platform. A report by a business agency (The Influencer Marketing Factory) has devoted an entire research study to a panel of 350 Americans aged between 16 and 38, which highlights the main habits of this new frontier of online business.

I risultati mostrano che il 61% preferisce gli acquisti in app in modalità “Add to cart/Buy now”. Tra i prodotti preferiti troviamo abbigliamento in primo posto (41%), a seguire make-up e cura del corpo (23%) e tecnologia (15%).

The results show that 61% prefer "Add to cart/Buy now" shopping on the app. Among the preferred products we find clothing in first place (41%), followed by make-up and body care (23%) and technology (15%).

Also crucial are the reviews that the customer provides at the end of the shopping experience. Companies use this data to do an in-depth analysis of what works and what doesn't in their marketing strategy. The survey reports that users consider it important to read product reviews on a scale of 1 to 10, an impressive 7,85.

Most used social media by users

The leader in social commerce on the global stage is Instagram. The app, with more than 1 billion registered users, has created an immersive showcase that allows brands to tag products for purchase directly in posts. In fact, according to several researches, more than 70% of users make a purchase decision after seeing a post or Story on the app. During a 2021 global survey conducted by Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2021, 64% of brands said they would increase their use of Instagram as a business tool in the near future.

Other social networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Tik Tok are also expanding their business marketing through Social Commerce. Forecasts see worldwide revenues of $3,370 billion by 2028, an increase of $2,619 billion compared to 2022. (data: Grand View Research) While the global digital landscape is constantly changing, these apps have proven they can keep up with their consumers.

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