If your new year’s resolution was to avoid shopping sprees, you better stay away from social media. You opened your feed, saw an influencer, liked their shoes, they have tagged brands of each and every piece of their attire, you go to the brand’s page, a few hours later you have bought a few pairs of shoes and some sweaters that you absolutely didn’t need.
That is the new generation of online shopping, termed social commerce. It uses networking websites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as vehicles to promote and sell products and services.
Social media has recently become the best marketing and shopping platform. The AI algorithms help sift through content and deliver only relevant content, making it easier to get various advertisements of just the things you’re interested in.
There are a few things that make social media perfect for shopping, some we’d be discussing here.
These days we buy based on social opinion, which is the online version of word of mouth.
Trust has always been a concern in online purchases, hence most of the online orders are still cash on delivery. Most people only shift to pre-payments after they themselves or someone they know has ordered a few times and had a good experience.
Research suggests that now individuals use social media to get advice and reviews from trusted sources before making a purchase. It is now a common practice to see the tagged images of any brand on Instagram, to get an idea of customers’ opinions about them.
Thus the brands more “advised”, gain more trust.
Users can buy on social platforms without being redirected to other websites. Since these social media platforms are a familiar user interface, the shopping experience becomes even easier.
This model moves social media beyond its traditional role in the discovery process by encouraging users to complete the entire purchase process without leaving their preferred apps.
Convenient and Hassle-free
Given the unprecedented circumstances, our lifestyles have completely changed. Immediacy, convenience, and speed have become top consumer demands now.
With the newest features of shop now in advertisements that take you directly to that item and you can proceed to payment with absolutely no effort or time utilized, things have become comforting and hassle-free like never before.
Shoppable adverts have checkout capability which triggers when a customer clicks the “shop now” or “buy now”. These buttons enable customers to make instant purchases.
Every redirect increases the risk of losing the customer, thus headless checkouts like these increase customer acquisition.
Social media platforms have been evolving accordingly.
Launch of Facebook Marketplace in Pakistan
The most liked social platform for businesses has been Facebook for a very long time. Often you get redirected to Facebook from other social media platforms to shop. With the presence of its official marketplace in Pakistan, more and more people would shift to Facebook to run their online businesses.
We designed Facebook Marketplace to make it smooth, easy, and more convenient for sellers and buyers that are already enjoying our social platforms.” ~ Facebook Management
Google Plans on making YouTube an e-commerce leader
Covid caused a loss in revenue for google while other social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest leveraged their platforms as hotbeds for online shopping. The boom in e-commerce has made google come on board as well.
Google plans to use the world’s largest video platform as its entry to e-commerce. Youtube has asked creators to tag products featured in their videos. Integrating with shopping platforms like Shopify, buyers can get a product they liked in a video with just a click.
Pakistan’s e-commerce platforms were not late jumping on the bandwagon, as a lot of businesses now run entirely through social media with absolutely no physical existence. Developments are being made in social e-commerce with innovative startups being launched.
E-commerce giants like daraz.pk, olx, elo have a prominent social presence and a good amount of their sales happen through social media. However, there are a few startups that provide social e-commerce platforms for brands and small businesses to buy and sell through social media.
Let’s go through a few of such leading platforms.
A startup focussed on bringing the bazaar to your doorstep quite literally. BazaarGhar would digitalize the famous bazaars of Pakistan by creating their social media presence on the startup’s social media platform.
The company would bring the sorts of Zainab Market and Liberty to social media with the name of the shops and the shopkeeper’s picture. They share their material through short videos via TikTok or any other app.
BazaarGhar handles all the back-end stuff, managing deliveries, advertisements, reaching the consumer market while the merchants can focus on displaying their products.
The key feature that makes social commerce a giant, is the social media influencing culture. We want to wear what the celebrities wear.
Celebshop is a social e-commerce platform that is not only supported but co-owned by celebrities of Pakistan. The online store is gradually making waves as it boasts a planned presence of more than 100 celebrities and 150+ brands on its platform.
“Market Expansion in Pakistan has been extremely promising with Fashion alone accounting for 69% of the e-commerce Revenue”. ~ Saad Ali, Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer Celebshop
A celebrity puts together a look with products from collaborating brands of Celebshop. A buyer can buy this entire look from one platform with 100% authenticity since this is what the celebrity literally wore themselves.
Gahhak is a social e-commerce platform where you can buy and sell new or used commodities, products and services and create your own Virtual Dukan. It gives users the opportunity and a platform to connect with a larger audience, expanding their reach in a cost-effective and accessible way.
Social commerce gained momentum during covid. This behaviour shift, kick-started by the pandemic will most likely be permanent. This year $27 billion was brought by social media in the US alone. The prospects of this emerging phenomenon are great.
The trust developed through social opinion, the increasing trend of digital banking and the exponentially rising social media userbase in Pakistan would make social e-commerce the new norm of shopping in the next few years.