March 9, 2023
The Landscape of Social Commerce
The landscape of social commerce is constantly evolving, driven by the growing popularity of social media platforms and the increasing demand for online shopping. What is Social commerce? It refers to the use of social media platforms to buy and sell products and services, and it has become an integral part of the e-commerce industry.
Social Commerce Platforms
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest have been at the forefront of the social commerce revolution. These platforms have introduced various features to make it easier for businesses to sell their products directly to their followers.
For example, Facebook and Instagram have introduced shopping features that allow businesses to create a catalogue of their products and sell them directly through their social media profiles. Twitter has introduced a 'Buy Now'; button that allows users to purchase products directly from a tweet. Pinterest has introduced 'Shop the Look' pins that allow users to buy products featured in a pin.
New Platforms on Social Media
In addition to these established social media platforms, new platforms are emerging that are focused solely on social commerce. The new platforms like Poshmark, Depop, and Mercari are focused solely on facilitating online transactions between buyers and sellers.
These platforms aim to provide a more streamlined and user-friendly experience for both buyers and sellers, while also offering unique features and functionality that differentiate them from traditional e-commerce marketplaces. They also allow users to buy and sell second-hand goods through their mobile apps. Let us take a closer look at these platforms:
Poshmark: It is a mobile app that allows users to buy and sell second-hand clothing and accessories. Poshmark's unique selling proposition is its social features, which enable users to follow other users, share listings, and engage with each other through comments and likes.
Depop: It is a mobile app that focuses on fashion and lifestyle products. The app particularly emphasises vintage and one-of-a-kind items. Depop's interface is designed to resemble social media feeds, with users able to follow other users, like and comment on listings, and share products with their followers.
Mercari: It is a mobile app that allows users to buy and sell a wide range of products, including electronics, home goods, and clothing. Mercari's unique feature is its “Smart pricing” algorithm, which suggests prices based on market trends and demand. It is designed to help sellers price their items competitively and increase their chances of making a sale.
The smart pricing algorithm works by analyzing market data and historical sales data to suggest a price range for the seller's item. The algorithm takes into account factors such as the item's category, condition, brand, and popularity to determine the optimal price range.
The seller can then choose a price within that range, or use the suggested price as a starting point for negotiations with potential buyers. The algorithm also takes into account real-time market data and user behaviour to adjust the price range as needed. For example, if similar items are selling quickly at a higher price point, the algorithm may suggest a higher price range for the seller's item.
In addition to the smart pricing algorithm, Mercari also offers a number of other features to help sellers maximize their profits and minimize their efforts. These include:
Shipping assistance (Mercari provides sellers with pre-paid shipping labels and packaging materials to make shipping their items as easy as possible).
Seller protection: Mercari offers seller protection to ensure that sellers are paid for their items and that buyers receive the items they purchased.
Sales analytics: Mercari provides sellers with sales analytics to help them track their sales performance and optimize their selling strategies.
Overall, Mercari's smart pricing algorithm is designed to make it easier for sellers to price their items competitively and increase their chances of making a sale. By using market data and historical sales data to suggest an optimal price range, the algorithm takes the guesswork out of pricing and helps sellers maximize their profits.
Vinted:It is a mobile app that focuses on second-hand fashion, shoes and accessories. Its interface is designed to be highly visual, with large photos and bold typography. Its unique selling proposition is its 'Swap' feature, which allows users to trade items with each other rather than buying and selling outright.
The Swap feature works by allowing users to create a 'Swap List' of items they are willing to trade. Other users can then browse these Swap Lists and make offers to trade items with the user. If both parties agree to the trade, they can arrange to ship their items to each other and complete the transaction.
The Swap feature is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive. Users can easily add items to their Swap List by taking a photo of the item and adding a description and other details. Users can also browse other users 'Swap Lists' and make offers to trade items with them.
In addition to the Swap feature, Vinted also offers a number of other features to make buying and selling second-hand clothing easy and convenient. These include:
Shipping assistance (with pre-paid shipping labels and packaging materials), Buyer protection (ensures that buyers receive the items they purchased or are refunded if the item is not as described). Users can leave ratings and reviews for each other after a transaction is completed. This helps to build trust and credibility within the Vinted community.
Vinted's Swap feature is designed to make it easy for users to trade items with each other instead of buying and selling them. By creating a user-friendly interface and offering shipping assistance and buyer protection, Vinted is gaining popularity as a platform for buying and selling second-hand clothing.
Carousell: It is a mobile app that enables users to buy and sell a wide range of products, including fashion, electronics, and home goods. Carousell's unique selling proposition is its 'Chat to Buy' feature, which allows buyers and sellers to communicate directly within the app to negotiate prices and arrange transactions.
The feature allows buyers and sellers to communicate with each other in real-time to ask questions, negotiate prices, and arrange the details of a transaction. This feature is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, with a simple chat interface that resembles popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
In addition to the 'Chat to Buy' feature, Carousell also offers a number of other features such as In-app payments, Ratings and Reviews, Categories and search and social features.
The In-app payment feature of Carousell allows users to make payments within the app, eliminating the need for buyers and sellers to exchange bank details or use third-party payment platforms. The Ratings and reviews feature allows users to leave ratings and reviews for each other after a transaction is completed. This helps to build trust and credibility within the Carousell community.
Overall, Carousell's selling proposition is focused on making buying and selling as easy and convenient as possible. By offering a streamlined communication and payment process, as well as powerful search and social features, Carousell has become a popular platform for buying and selling a wide range of products.
All these new platforms are disrupting the traditional e-commerce landscape by offering a more social, interactive, and engaging experience for buyers and sellers. By leveraging the power of social media and mobile technology, these platforms are creating new opportunities for businesses and consumers alike and paving the way for the future of social commerce.
While trust and validation are two of the most important factors that drive online shoppers to purchase and though more and more new apps are flooding the Internet, we cannot overlook the impact of Pinterest on the users. Pinterest offers a program called Verified Merchant Program. This helps businesses to establish themselves as reputable merchants on the Pinterest platform.
A Verified Merchant Program is a program offered by some online marketplaces or payment processors that verifies the identity and legitimacy of merchants who use their services.
The program is designed to give buyers greater confidence when making purchases from online sellers, as it assures them that the seller is a legitimate business entity and that the products or services offered for sale have been vetted for quality.
To become a verified merchant, a seller must typically provide certain documentation, such as a business license or tax ID number, and undergo a review process to confirm their identity and business information.
Once verified, the merchant may receive certain benefits, such as increased visibility on the marketplace, lower transaction fees, or access to additional tools and features.
For buyers, the Verified Merchant Program can help to reduce the risk of fraud and increase trust in the online shopping experience. For merchants, it can help to increase sales and improve their reputation in the marketplace.
The program gives retailers who meet transparency and customer service standards a blue checkmark of trust. With additional authority, enables product discovery. Verified merchants can also open a Pinterest Shop and product pins are discoverable when users search for ideas, recommendations, and inspiration. Unlike other networks that work to keep users in the app, Pinterest drives traffic to retail sites.
Retail Referral Traffic Feature
Since launching its new Catalogue feature, retail referral traffic from Pinterest has more than doubled. Retail referral traffic refers to the visitors who come to a retail website through a referral link from another website or online platform. This type of traffic is generated when a user clicks on a link to a retail website from another website, such as a blog, review site, or social media platform. Retail referral traffic can be an important source of website traffic for online retailers because it can help to increase their visibility, attract new customers, and drive sales.
Online retailers can use various strategies to generate retail referral traffic, such as partnering with influencers or bloggers, guest posting on relevant websites, and running affiliate marketing campaigns. By leveraging referral traffic, online retailers can expand their reach and increase their revenue.
Challenges and Opportunities
While social commerce presents numerous opportunities for businesses, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the need to balance social engagement with sales. Social media platforms are designed for social interaction, and businesses must be careful not to appear too pushy or sales-focused in their interactions with customers.
Another challenge is the need to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of social commerce. With new platforms and features emerging all the time, businesses must be agile and adaptable to stay ahead of the competition. Despite these challenges, the landscape of social commerce presents numerous opportunities for businesses to reach new customers and drive sales. By embracing the power of social media and leveraging the latest social commerce tools and platforms, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and succeed in the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce.