Is Social Media Ecommerce Replacing Giants Like Amazon?

Social media e-commerce is rapidly emerging as a popular trend, opening increasing opportunities for an online shopping experience. But the question that keeps appearing now and then is, “Could social media become the most preferred e-commerce platform?”

E-commerce is not new to social media. You can find its significant presence across different social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. The most recent social channel aiming to become a shopping destination for avid shoppers is TikTok, which is testing e-commerce features in Europe with a few select groups of streetwear brands, as per news source Bloomberg. The social media channels are excited to experiment with new e-commerce opportunities that empower people to locate and connect with things they love.

Could social media be the next big alternative for the e-commerce industry? Will it replace e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay in due course of time? In the next few years, we will get the answer, but right now, let’s try to understand the current scenario.

The Future of Social Media E-commerce

According to many experts, “Consumers expect a seamless online shopping experience, with fast and often free delivery.”

In the last few years, social media platforms have started venturing into the social commerce bandwagon. They are seen with basic e-commerce features and are expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. The future of e-commerce lies in being more natural and spontaneous that can grab the attention of your consumers by offering content that they can relate to. Customers want the content to be more resonating and connecting. Content and advertisements that target the interests of customers draw more audience. On Facebook, we see interactive content where users look more natural and prefer more friendly interaction. At the same time, Instagram focuses more on aesthetics, and in TikTok, we see short, more engaging, and relatable video clips. Today consumers expect social media content and even the ads running on them to be more focused and targeted to things they want in their life.

Digital marketing

Social Media Channels Prompt for Quick Action

By 2024, the social media shopping market is expected to rise to more than $2 trillion. All credits to innovative ideas like Facebook Shop and Snapchat’s ‘The Drop’, both are serving as interactive digital shopping channels. It proves how fast it is growing! But why?  Simply because social media prompts consumers to make quick purchases right on the spot.

Whether it is Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or TikTok, all social channels look for alternative revenue models. And hence, many are approaching big e-commerce sites to provide increasingly engaging experiences to the target audience. Two former Google and Starbucks executives have even created a new social shopping platform Tuli to set new standards for e-commerce. It is a digital mall built by merging the bests of Amazon and Instagram to make it a global shopping community of shoppers, influencers, and merchants.

Moreover, social media platforms have been using Augmented Reality (AR) technology to help promote engagement and, together with their e-commerce features, increase sales. Studies from Deloitte show that 71% of customers say that the AR experiences would prompt them to shop more frequently.

In 2019 Instagram users were introduced to ‘try cosmetics and eyewear’ before making a purchase. This was possible with AR ‘try-on’ features on product pages. By implementing AR technology, social media channels can now improve the experience of sampling in-store products.

If features like Instagram Checkout are combined with AR technology, it can motivate customers to make a quick purchase. Moreover, social platforms are making it easier for consumers to make that spontaneous purchase.

Pandemic and Influence of Social Commerce

While many retailers had to shut down as there were no markets to purchase their items during the pandemic, a section in the retail industry used omnichannel strategies to determine consumers’ unfulfilled demands due to a massive crisis. It was when social media played a vital role in recognising consumers’ needs and meeting them. The pandemic prompted small and medium-sized companies to embrace social commerce to attract customers via their social media pages.

According to a study by Hootsuite, 70% of social media users don’t trust brands that place profits above people during the pandemic. This is an example, how relevant trust and brand values are for consumers worldwide. Furthermore, as per the same study, 52% of social users see the privacy policy of the platforms as an essential factor to find out whether they should engage with the advertisements.

Social media channels like – Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Snapchat have embraced their business models to gear up and take advantage of the opportunities in social commerce, empowering retailers to expand their influence and strengthen brand awareness.

Special Commerce Networking and Community Building

It is very natural for consumers to value brands that identify their requirements. And social networking channels allow consumers to engage and interact while providing them with much-appreciated services.

Social channels enable brands to create a virtual community where they can meet like-minded individuals, create groups of people with similar tastes, connect to partners and retailers. They can now even set their narratives across social media sites, share informative and appealing visual content about their brand and business that serves them and build trust and credibility among prospects.

Social Media and Retailers

Consumers that tasted the flexibility, freedom, and ease of shopping on their smartphones are unlikely to return to traditional ways of shopping. But, as many in the industry assumed in the initial stage that e-commerce would emerge as an obstacle to the retailers, the fact is far from the assumptions. Today, social e-commerce is emerging as a beneficial tool for retailers.

Online shopping is not just about the functions that consumers use while shopping, but it is a whole different experience. Therefore, a company’s digital approach should be equipped to create a holistic experience for its consumers at every level. Today, as we see, brands are now widening their expanse to social media channels. Social shopping offers a unique opportunity in this regard by allowing small businesses the exposure they require to thrive.

Efficient Way to Engage with Target Market

Social media is a powerful tool, allowing businesses to prosper and establish further growth possibilities. During the pandemic, it proved to be very effective due to its affordability, ease of access, and efficient way of engaging with the target audience. There are many examples where businesses on the verge of closure were reinvented and re-established by using social media that helped connect the right customers with the right products, driving more traffic and sales, and finally, reshaping the overall customer experience.

However, even though social media has proven itself to be one of the most reputable e-commerce platforms, it is just one of many digital marketing techniques you need to adapt to keep yourself abreast with the changing customer purchasing behavior, market trends, and business needs.