Social networks to serve as shopping platforms

2015-04-23 | by Smollan

As social media platforms continue to evolve, we will see significant shifts in the relationship between consumers and businesses as well as the disruption of the traditional path-to-purchase, both of which will have implications for how brands and retailers relate to, communicate with and view their consumers and their brand touchpoints.

Social media was initially used by brands to connect with their consumers, target them in a more focused/tailored way and engage in a dialogue that traditional media channels could not offer with the same ease of use and low cost. However, social media platforms have evolved to offer far more than cost effective, targeted media space.

Apart from social media platforms offering brands useful tools for better understanding their consumer – demographic profiles, psychographic profiles, personal preferences etc. – social media is also becoming a whole lot more functional. Social media platforms are re-inventing themselves as not just a place to post and share, but a place to shop too. Recent launches of shopping functionalities in the social realm are going to change the face of social networks and retail in 2015.

Social network platforms are creating “one-click purchase” buttons and “Like2Buy” functionalities that will prompt a direct response from the retailer or brand. Consumers will be able to like, share and shop all at once.

Twitter’s “buy” button, for example, allows you to make purchases directly from a Tweet. Instagram’s Like2Buy” button is going to transform the feed into a virtual shop by liking an image, which you can then buy or create a wish list from and purchase later. Facebook’s “buy” button allows users to purchase goods featured in ads and posts.

While still in its early phases, one can only be intrigued and excited about the possibilities that social media has to offer as a shopping platform and how retailers and brands and other stakeholders in the value chain will need to adapt to make room for and leverage this new, evolving shopping channel.

 

References:

Facebook for Business. (2014) Testing a new way for people to discover and buy products on Facebook. Facebook. [Online]. Available on https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Discover-and-Buy-Products-on-Facebook-Test. [Accessed 21 April 2015].

Fallon, N. (2014) The Future of Social Commerce: Shopping on Twitter, Pinterest and Beyond. Business News Daily. [Online]. Available on http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6318-future-of-social-commerce.html. [Accessed 21 April 2015].

Jain, T. (2014) Testing a way for you take make purchases on Twitter. Twitter. [Online]. Available on https://blog.twitter.com/2014/testing-a-way-for-you-to-make-purchases-on-twitter. [Accessed 21 April 2015].

O’Connor, C. (2014) Buy What You ‘Like’: You Can Now Shop Straight From Instagram. Forbes. [Online]. Available on http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/08/28/buy-what-you-like-you-can-now-shop-straight-from-instagram/. [Accessed 21 April 2015].