Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Instagram trying to catch up on all of your friends’ posts and stories and an ad for the newest shoes by Nike suddenly shows up as a sponsored ad? Carefully looking at the post, you see the “Shop Now” link and you’re taken immediately to the site.
Social media is constantly evolving. And although we use it for to catch up on the latest news and connect with our friends, it is becoming a very popular way to shop. People aren’t going on their social platforms to intentionally shop, but if there is an appealing post with a product that interests the consumer, they are going to explore further. According to a study by Digital Doughnut (2018), “76% of US consumers have bought an item they saw in a brand’s post, and in the UK it’s 67%.” It was also mentioned by Gupta that social commerce is successful because it “appeals to people’s emotions” (2018). Some shoppers act on impulse, “with 4% making a purchase immediately online after seeing a product according to our survey results, while just under half (46%) spend time thinking about the item then buy later” (Gupta, 2018).
With extended shoppable functions in ‘stories’ on almost all social platforms, it seems like social commerce is here to stay after a few previous failed attempts, but what will be different this time? In the past, Twitter tried a “Buy” button and Facebook has struggled to make social commerce work on its core site (Chapman, 2018). Recently, Instagram has added a new “Shopping” tab on the Explore page and is even allowing retailers to be tagged on consumers’ stories. Pinterest is allowing its retailers to “pin” their products and when a consumer clicks on it, they will be taken to the retailer’s website to shop efficiently.
From a personal standpoint, I am not a fan of social commerce on my social media because I feel like my social media is getting cluttered when retailers try to fit in anywhere possible on my timelines/news feeds and in my story watching. Sometimes there are advertisements that catch my eyes, yet I still don’t click on them. In “Social Commerce Is Here, But is It Ready for the Mainstream Consumer?,” Alcántara states that there is “a lot of friction” from a user to learn how to buy something on a new platform. I am that user. Why is that? Because I don’t completely understand where my consumer data is going. Social media is already a weird place when it comes to privacy so why would I risk more of my private information on a social platform just to make an impulse purchase?
Alcántara, Ann-Marie. “Social Commerce Is Here, But Is It Ready for the Mainstream Consumer?” Adweek, Adweek, 23 Mar. 2018, www.adweek.com/digital/social-commerce-is-here-but-is-it-ready-for-the-mainstream-consumer/.
Chapman, Mathew. “Are Retailers Ready for the Rise of Social Commerce?” Essential Retail, Reed Exhibitions Ltd., 31 Oct. 2018, www.essentialretail.com/features/the-rise-of-social-commerce/.
Gray, Sherry. “The Growth of Social Commerce: Why It Works Now.” Adweek, Adweek, 27 Aug. 2018, www.adweek.com/digital/the-growth-of-social-commerce-why-it-works-now/.
Gupta, Apu. “Where next for Social Commerce?” Digital Doughnut, Communitize Ltd., 5 Nov. 2018, www.digitaldoughnut.com/articles/2018/october/where-next-for-social-commerce.