The future of shopping is social commerce

Online shopping excels because of convenience

We can order what we want in minutes, with endless product information available, and have it delivered the next day all without having to leave our homes. But it’s missing one vital factor – fun. Enter social commerce.

A new wave of shopping

Social commerce isn’t new. Instagram trialled new tools for in-app shopping back in 2016, which in technology terms was lightyears ago, and there were others who even came before that. Back then, it was essentially online shopping but through social channels. Social commerce today is more about the experience. Today’s consumers are mostly made up of millennials and Gen Zs, a group of people who were almost born with mobiles in hand. They are the first digital native generations. Shopping through social media is simply a natural extension of their daily routine. But these consumers are always looking for the best experience, and this isn’t limited to making a purchase.

Advancements in social commerce now stretch across the customer journey to include embedded care and service on social media platforms. CX-centric organisations are now siphoning categories of service and care cases to marketing specialists, product leads, and sales associates to allow service centre agents to focus on escalations or more advanced customer cases. But how can brands get social commerce right?

Thinking beyond omnichannel

Modern social commerce requires Omni-shop orchestration to be at its most successful. Brands no longer sell through just one retail channel – it could be through livestream shopping, owned websites, or other retailers/marketplaces. Live stream shopping for example has grown extremely popular and could quickly become one of the most effective ways to gain audiences. While the traditional QVC style shopping might make us think of grandparents buying everything from Christmas lights to cutlery, live stream shopping of today is quickly being adopted by leading global B2C brands – from Gucci to Amazon.

Live stream shopping is no longer about sudden price drops and getting a bargain before the brand runs out of units, it’s instead focused on delivering one-to-one personalised shopping over video between a sales associate and a consumer. It is also being leveraged to host one-to-many livestream video events to launch a product, support an influencer event, or kick off a seasonal promotional campaign. The latter often features popular celebrities, influencers, and exclusive content to draw in audiences. But this new wave of shopping must be backed up with other communication channels to be effective.

Therefore, brands must optimise selling products on shops across different social media networks like Facebook and Instagram, as well as leverage business messaging apps to help shoppers drive conversion. The ability to orchestrate, synchronise, and then sell across shops and messaging apps will give brands the broadest reach – and allow consumers to engage with them through whatever touchpoint they prefer.

More than a trend

Social media use continues to grow and tools such as Facebook Shops and Shopify, as well as creative formats like live shopping, are further cementing social commerce within the customer journey. As digital natives continue to take up most of the consumer base – eventually totally taking

over – social commerce will become more than a trend. It will become the go-to for both shopping and entertainment. This is why the retailers that win, will be the ones who always keep customer experience at the heart of every interaction, no matter the touchpoint.


About the Author

Yuval Ben-Itzhak is Chief of Strategy at Emplifi. Emplifi is the leading unified CX platform built to bring marketing, care and commerce together to help businesses close the customer experience gap. Emplifi is a global company with over 20 years of industry expertise helping more than 7,000 brands, such as Delta Air Lines, Samsung, and Ford Motor Company, provide their customers with outstanding experiences at every touchpoint on their customer journey. For more information, visit www.emplifi.io

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