Will Social Commerce leave its mark on Ecommerce† The answer can hardly be more than affirmative. The potential to reach millions of buyers worldwide via social media is enormous. It's not a matter of if, but when. The term 'social commerce' was coined by Yahoo in 2005 and described as 'all commercial actions in which social media is the most important link'. According to a recently published American report, direct buying on social media will take off in the coming years.

The report, The Social Commerce Report  of the American research agency Business Insider Intelligence, states that social media is rapidly developing into crucial channels in online shopping. They are increasingly integrating techniques for direct purchases and payments. Logical, because consumers use social media en masse as a source of information about products and services. Reviews and influencers play a major role in this. The step to buying and paying via social media is relatively small. Larger platforms have been aware of this for a long time and social media themselves are doing their best to facilitate the process increasingly better. Win-win, say.

Your potential buyers are on social media for longer

Just a few recent figures. In the US, already 36% of all Internet users indicate that they use their social networks as the main source of information for their product choices. The time internet users worldwide spend on social media continues to increase: from 90 minutes a day in 2012 to 142 minutes a day in 2018. The negative noise around social media, especially Facebook, does not change this.

Everyone, including the major Ecommerce platforms, know that consumers use social media as their main source of information and inspiration and are strongly guided by what others say about brands and products. The fear is that potential customers will change their mind as soon as they leave Facebook or Instagram. Or make their purchase from the competitor. That is why there is a great desire to be able to add purchase buttons and payment solutions (digital wallets) to accounts. Consumers are in the right buying mood on social media, so it helps if they can immediately complete their customer journey there.

Green light for Social Commerce

Why is this not yet happening en masse? Because all kinds of doubts had to be overcome first about challenges such as security, privacy and international legislation. The light now appears to be green. All of the larger social platforms have improved and / or are busy improving their commercial facilities, according to Business Insider Intelligence researchers. The larger social platforms aim for a leading role as a 'shopping hub'. The foundation for a shiny future for Social Commerce is now being laid. The impact on Ecommerce is going to be huge.

The concept of Social Commerce is also gaining ground in the Netherlands. Frankwatching, always keen to predict and interpret online trends, describes several examples of companies and brands in the US, including Zara and Burberry, that successfully use social commerce techniques. In addition, a number of renowned brands (H&M, Dior, Prada, to name a few) are participating in an interesting pilot on Instagram (Instagram Checkout). The intention is that consumers no longer leave their social platform, but that the conversion takes place on the platform.

Integrate social media into your Omni-Channel strategy

The rise of social commerce means two things. On the one hand, competition is increasing because brands no longer need retail channels to reach millions of consumers and to serve them with a secure purchase transaction. On the other hand, the opportunities for your e-business are increasing. After all: with the integration of social media in you omnichannel strategy you greatly increase your commercial reach. It does require maximum focus for all disciplines in your organization. But it pays to prepare seriously for social commerce. Check it out. Three billion consumers worldwide look at products and reviews. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have twenty million accounts in the Netherlands alone. It is no different whether your target audience is in between. If they can buy your products directly, you will make more sales.