Mohammed Sirajuddeen, the Growth & Digital Commerce Lead, Growth Markets, Accenture Interactive, shares his insights on the latest trends in social commerce and what this powerful shopping platform means for marketers.
Social media is a powerful platform, connecting people with family and friends over the internet. It has evolved as a marketplace where people can promote, sell, and buy products, giving birth to social commerce.
Social media became more in-demand with the COVID-19 pandemic, providing people with an avenue to engage, learn about the latest news, and shop. Many businesses realized the importance of social media in generating sales and earning high revenues.
MartechAsia interviewed Mohammed Sirajuddeen, the Growth & Digital Commerce Lead, Growth Markets, Accenture Interactive to get a deeper look at social commerce trends. “The pandemic highlighted the importance of ‘connection’ and forced us to adapt and engage in new ways. Social media became one of these ‘new outlets’ and dominates a huge portion of our time today,” he said.
Social Commerce Reshapes Shopping Experience
“For brands, social commerce is the new commerce,” he added. “The rise of social media has seen retailers supercharge their e-commerce offerings by seamlessly integrating social networks such as TikTok, Instagram, WeChat with innovative functions such as mini programmes and live streaming. Social commerce is a democratizing force, empowering smaller brands and individuals to bring their products and services to where the consumer is.”
With social commerce, consumers have more options to find the products they’re looking for online apart from e-commerce websites. This industry defines a consumer’s entire shopping experience on a social media platform, from product discovery (like ads, influencer endorsements, etc.) to the check-out process.
Millennials and Gen Z dominate Social Commerce
Millennials are people born from 1981 to 1996 (ages 26 to 41 in 2022), while any person born from 1997 onward belongs to Gen Z. They make up a significant percentage of social media content creators, such as short videos, memes, and creative text content. As such, they’re also the primary target audience and key influencers of small and big brands wanting to penetrate social commerce.
A new Accenture study shows that shopping on social media platforms or social media commerce will be $1.2 trillion worth by 2025. Because Millennials and Gen Z social media users dominate social media platforms, they’re the driving force in growing today’s multi-billion social commerce industry three times more in the next three years.
The predicted most popular product purchases for social commerce by 2025 include clothing (18%), consumer electronics (13%), food (13%), and home décor (7%). Beauty and personal care products will reach 40% of the average digital spend. Hence, aspiring social commerce businesses can use this data to determine the best products to sell starting this year to land huge success by 2025 and beyond.
Social Commerce Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
Accenture’s research shows primary consumer concerns revolve around purchase protections. The growth of social commerce will see consumers use more new contactless forms of payments such as QR codes and biometric verifications. At the moment, both e-commerce and social commerce platforms are having issues scaling their verification processes, often asking consumers to put blind trust into unknown retailers and brands that might not have been properly vetted.
Sirajuddeen explained, “The success of social commerce lies in putting people first. Given the breadth of users and personal and financial data available on key social platforms, brands must convince consumers that their data will be protected and give consumers a choice to share data as they feel necessary. It is important that brands strengthen their digital defence postures and be strategic about the investments they make.”
Adopting cybersecurity solutions can help protect customers’ data and privacy. Integrating social media platforms with secure websites and business systems in a centralized platform reduces cyber risks and vulnerabilities. For instance, data access, storage, and processing in the cloud can reduce the chances of data breaches and streamline cybersecurity monitoring. Partnering with a trusted cybersecurity provider can help detect vulnerabilities and threats, allowing brands to securely market their products, accept payments, and process orders.
“At Accenture Interactive, we leverage the scale and expertise of wider Accenture teams to deliver technology capabilities that allow our clients to provide social commerce securely and with ease to their customers.” he said.
Social Commerce Advertising
Social commerce businesses found an excellent opportunity to divert consumers away from traditional e-commerce marketing. In a Nielsen report, 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family and friends or earned media more than other advertising methods.
Earned media takes place in social commerce. Social media advertising steers away from traditional advertising, with more consumers trusting the products and services their friends, family, and influencers endorse on social media platforms. Hence, businesses should evaluate their marketing strategies that will lean more on strengthening their social commerce presence.
Businesses should create more meaningful immersive customer experiences and adopt shoppable content and visual marketing with a great focus on conscious consumption and “everywhere commerce.” It’s about time to embrace a people-first mindset by creating immersive digital experiences and continuous marketing transformation. This way, businesses can unlock efficiency and drive profitable growth with proprietary assets and ecosystem partnerships.
Embracing Marketing Technology
Social commerce can drive profitable growth with the right marketing strategies. Marketing technology solutions help create new purchase pathways, activating new demand sources, like social media. Therefore, businesses should leverage intelligent data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence on a connected platform architecture.
Harnessing cloud and other technology investments can help unify business operations. Businesses can generate more valuable insights with marketing technology, create more agile business models, personalize experiences, empower the workforce, and drive overall business growth.
Social commerce is expected to match and even outpace traditional e-commerce in the future. The latest trends highlight the value of customer engagement using innovative technologies to identify buyers’ needs and marketing opportunities in social commerce.