Will social shopping even the e-commerce playing field?
A new study predicts social commerce growth will spike in the years ahead and represent a “democratizing force,” opening up opportunities online for individuals and small businesses.
“Any brand, large or small, can sell via social commerce, and any individual can now become or create a ‘brand’ of their own and reach a market directly,” said Accenture in the study “This has hugely positive implications for small businesses and entrepreneurs as they are able to reach potentially massive markets that were simply not available to them before.”
Social commerce, according to Accenture, engages in three principal ways, via brands, influencers or individuals themselves:
- Content-driven: Via shoppable posts and in-app stores on Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and other platforms, unique content created by brands, influencers or individuals drives “authentic discovery, engagement and action.”
- Experience-driven: These channels enable shopping within an overall experience, most commonly livestreaming, but could also include AR/VR experiences or gaming.
- Network-driven: People are harnessing their existing social networks to buy and/or sell. That could involve community buying to procure bulk discounts — a model used by Pinduoduo, a mobile-only marketplace that connects millions of agricultural producers with consumers across China. Or individuals using their social influence and network to drive sales and earn commissions.
Smaller sellers are also attractive to social commerce buyers. Among social buyers surveyed, 59 percent are more likely to support small and medium-sized businesses through social commerce than when shopping through ecommerce websites.
“The math is changing dramatically,” Accenture wrote. “Rather than a handful of big retailers and brands selling to mass markets of millions, we’re now seeing millions of individuals and smaller businesses selling to one another within a vast social commerce ecosystem.”
Oliver Wright, global Consumer Goods and Services lead at Accenture, said in a statement, “Social commerce is a levelling force that is driven by the creativity, ingenuity and power of people. It empowers smaller brands and individuals and makes big brands reevaluate their relevance for a marketplace of millions of individuals.”
- Shopping on Social Media Platforms Expected to Reach $1.2 Trillion Globally by 2025, New Accenture Study Finds – Accenture
- Why the future of shopping is set for a social revolution – Accenture
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see social commerce significantly empowering small businesses and individuals to sell online? What advantages, if any, might smaller creators, resellers and brands have in engaging directly with consumers through social platforms?