What is Social Commerce, and Why Should You Know About It? – MarTech Series

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc., are some of the most dynamic and happening places in the world. There are almost 4.48 billion social media users globally, which is half of the entire population. Mobile phones have brought endless information, connections, and contacts to fingertips. There are approximately 5.27 billion active unique mobile users in the world. Globalization has got every individual connected to the rest of the world. This has resulted in a virtual world with an online presence, which has hybridized marketing and business. 
Social media started as a socializing and networking medium. But the endless potential and possibilities of commercializing it have led to the sector of social commerce. 70% of consumers have admitted to approaching social media sites before confirming a purchase. 
Social commerce is the use of social media platforms to advertise and sell products and services. It is the latest trend with promising potential, making it vital info that every business owner should be familiar with. 
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The possibilities and applications to provide an optimized experience to the customer, which is also easily accessible and easy to interact with, are just some of the primary perks of social commerce. 
Over the years, social commerce has been a concept in the making. Most social media platforms were initiated to use ads as their revenue source. But the number of individuals and brands participating in the platforms has begun a virtual world, where people prefer to interact and make purchases through those social media platforms. 80% of internet users have made online purchases, and 71% of consumers prefer online shopping. 70% of customers have boasted about their purchase on social media. These undeniable connections with social media and business are now critically incorporated into the business plans of top companies. Some of the features that lead to and are now an essential part of social commerce are:
The leading social media platforms that share duality of social commerce platforms are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tik-Tok, WeChat, and YouTube. Social commerce is bound to have a significantly larger vernacular audience of 200 million, which several companies have identified. Some of the leading companies that have harnessed the art of social commerce on a global level are: –
1. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – It is a multinational company from China. They offer B2B services to help other companies and entrepreneurs improve their online presence. Chinese retail, social commerce has been estimated to reach 351 billion dollars. The main propelling medium for Alibaba and other Chinese companies was WeChat.
2. Etsy – The American eCommerce site tapped into a global market for creative products from artists and craftsmen from across the globe. They humanized their marketing approach by giving significance to artists worldwide, created communities and networks of artists, marketed it on social media, and harnessed that into sales. Their preferred platforms were Facebook and Instagram.
3. Sephora – Focused on brand image and presence, the French multinational cosmetics company used stunning visuals on their social media sites to promote diversity. They induced trends that went viral among their loyal customers. The company reeled in several online customers from a global spectrum from active tagging and shopping tag features on Instagram and Facebook.
4. H&M – The multinational clothing retail company headed into social commerce and marketing to reach their regional targeted customers better. H&M developed separate accounts for each of their target countries to cater to that audience specifically. Buy buttons and tags, branding campaigns, and advertising tactics incorporated cultural diversity for their audience group.
5. Meesho – The Indian start-up has made headlines with its marketing strategies and comparatively low-budget services. Helping numerous other companies, Meesho is the perfect example of social commerce. The company provided alternate sources and mediums for home businesses and start-ups to easily reach their target customer base through social media networks. It currently has 15000 suppliers with 7 non-English languages from across the country and raised 25 million dollars through Facebook alone. 
6. PayPal is a financial technology company from the USA but spread with publicity on an international level due to its online presence. PayPal connects with several businesses through social media (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and markets its selling strategy. They reached the first segment of their target clients before approaching the consumer. Alongside this strategy, they advertised directly to the consumers on social media after making their brand available at storefronts. These are perfect instances of brand management. 
The concept of social commerce is unavoidable in the business world today. Several successful multinational companies have adapted to the latest marketing methods directed from social media platforms. The data and analytics indicate the promise that social media has offered to businesses. Sales and its reach have drastically increased when harnessing social media platforms. Adopting these methods and using a combination of tactics will yield the best results from social media. 
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MarTech Series (MTS) is a business publication dedicated to helping marketers get more from marketing technology through in-depth journalism, expert author blogs and research reports.
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