Growing importance of social commerce in India — an insight into this segment’s future
Social commerce, as the name suggests, refers to the use of social networking media which can be used to facilitate online transactions. Although this term was first created in 2005, it is a relatively new domain, gradually gaining acceptance among the youth as it merges the concepts of social network or collaboration with e-commerce. Already quite popular abroad, this virtual platform is slowly gaining prominence in India as it lets users connect with other like-minded people while indulging in a bit of online shopping.
According to the Social Media 500 report by Internet Retailer, the top 500 retailers, mostly in small businesses, earned over $3.3 billion via social shopping in 2014, witnessing a hike of nearly 26 percent in its revenues since 2013.
However, the imminent progression of social commerce and its growing importance brings to the fore several factors that must be considered in order to gain predictive insight into this segment’s future in India. Let us explore how the boom of social commerce in the subcontinent affects the e-commerce industry and what we can expect from this perception.
Can social commerce completely replace e-commerce?
Being an extension of e-commerce, social commerce cannot replace the former. Predictions made by varying industry insiders suggest that social commerce can become a huge influence in our lives in the next couple of years. It is being said that this segment can complement e-commerce by promoting ‘impulse buying’, an urge to purchase something after seeing someone else having it on social media. It is touted to enable an ecosystem that creates demand without actual need. However, this aspect has been rebuked by many. In order to maximise its appeal, players in the social commerce market should include platforms that are not just limited to simple transactions but also engage its users with various offers.
What roles will giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest play?
Currently, these three platforms only direct their users towards social commerce websites. But, chances are, these players may soon introduce functionalities to facilitate transactions from their own platforms. However, we can’t ignore the possibility of any e-commerce store coming up with a social media-like feature and then gradually transforming into a social commerce platform. Although some users can find this collaboration too much to handle, these e-commerce platforms backed by such social media networks can assist us in making our purchases even more informed.
Imagine what it would be like to directly talk to the last buyer of the product you are considering buying and taking his/her online feedback about the same. Or, the possibility of a community where users can express their pleasure and displeasure while buying a certain product or discussing the services that another company may offer. Therefore, with proper consideration, one can definitely get to experience the benefits that these social media giants can provide in collaboration with social commerce platforms.
Can this platform survive the impatience of the Millennials?
Most marketing campaigns and products these days are targeted towards the Millennial population, i.e. those in the age group of 21–34 years. Monetising on this generation’s tendency to access anything quickly or move on, social commerce certainly comes as a viable platform that can satisfy every need of the youth by staying up to date with the latest trends.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)