Last week we gave you our Review of eCommerce Trends for 2015, which took a
snapshot of the predictions from some of the industries' thinkers and
In our review, we found that improving social commerce is a big
part of the plan for this year.
The term "Social Commerce" has been around for the best part of a decade,
and refers to the use of social media to support and influence the buying
decision of consumers while they are using social media platforms.
The customer was still required to leave the website to complete their
purchase however. The platform wasn't the marketplace, just another
This seems set to change in the very near future though, with
announcements from the three most popular platforms - Facebook, Twitter
and Pinterest - that they will all be introducing shopping services for
Very quickly, social media will transform from a marketing channel, into
Or will it?
There are some major limitations in being able to purchase products on
social media platforms.
For example, it will be difficult to convince consumers to purchase a
bottle of Coca Cola on Facebook. People buy that product when they are
thirsty and want to consume shortly after. Buyers won't wait for it to be
People won't buy their groceries through social media either.
Woolworths might post an offer for a particular item; but allowing the
customer to buy it then and there will result in a loss of the sales they
would otherwise gain when the customer shops at one of their stores or on
their website; not to mention the delivery nightmare single-item sales
will create for them.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum.
Items such as high-end electronics or white goods, where consumers invest
a lot of time researching and comparing similar brands and products
before purchasing, will also be difficult to offer for sale on social
The customer still needs to leave the platform to do their research and
comparison, and so you lose the benefit of offering the product for sale
on the platform in the first place.
Realistically, the new shopping feature being added to social media
platforms will primarily suit one-off, impulse purchases.
Products that businesses are already "selling" on social media such as
clothing items or fashion accessories, but who then need to arrange
payment and delivery for the goods separately.
For the majority of businesses that are on social media, it is likely
that being able to sell directly to their social media audience will not
be any more practical or convenient than it is now, and it is not likely
to change their social media strategy.
For the most part, eCommerce and social commerce will remain much the
same as it is now. In the short-term at least.
What do you think about the social media 'Buy' button?
Share your thoughts with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.