We are living an era where social networks dominate the digital world while they continue to gain ground in mobile advertising where smartphones and tablets are the primary communication channel. On that basis social media networks have been gradually transformed into “native mobile advertising platforms”. Facebook recently announced that about more than two-thirds of the total revenues came from the mobile ads while twitter’s mobile advertising revenues constituted 86% of its total advertising revenue. But having ads network as the primary revenue stream is enough for the social media players?
While retailers keep investing on mobile aiming to increase their sales by attracting more online shoppers the significant rise of social networks creates an attractive marketing model capable of transforming the way that mobile users shop. This model is known as “s-commerce” and is the next big thing for the key social media players.
As defined successfully in Mashable the term of “s-commerce” is used to describe new online retail models or marketing strategies that incorporate established social networks to drive sales or in other words how social media can leverage the online commerce. But how social media platforms are preparing themselves for the s-commerce era? What can we expect from them and which are the main focal points?
The key players in social media market are looking for ways to integrate purchase options within their traditional social networking functionalities. Facebook officially announced the introduction of a ‘Buy’ button on mobile and desktop version which enables users to purchase product. At the same time twitter started experimenting with its new m-commerce feature “Buy Now” button which enables twitter users to purchase products on their mobile devices. Additionally, twitter except from the acquisition of CardSpring, a payments startup, partners with another payments company named Stripe, to expand its commerce features.
In the future rather than clicking to a merchant website user will have the option to enter credit card info directly into Facebook, twitter and purchase product without leaving their favorite social media feed.
With a different approach LiketoKnow.it gives Instagram user the option to shop products from the photo they liked. Every time that user likes a photo tagged with liketk.it, the platform triggers an email with shopping links related to the liked picture-product. The idea is simple and quite attractive: You buy what you liked!
Two main priorities for the social media player
The integration of purchase features (payments, transactions etc) in social media platforms raises two main concerns for the social media companies. When the time to shop online comes, user privacy and security is the first priority for the online customers.
Customers are looking for crystal clear shopping flows that protect their privacy in a secure and safe way.
What we can expect?
While Facebook and twitter are still experimenting with purchase features, the “s-commerce” is still in its infancy and we should expect more attractive online shopping models in near future. Social media will continue to drive leads and conversions and they will increasingly focus their attention on shopping options within their feeds. Start-ups and payments companies will partner to offer new s-commerce solutions, products will continue to appear in social media feeds and social media power will be used to enhance the mobile shopping experience.
Be prepared! The purchase options within social media feeds are on their way!
Update(2017): Conversational Commerce
Over the last year messaging apps (OTT) have eclipsed social networks in monthly active users leading the social media giants and technology firms to set their sights on chat-bots and AI(artificial intelligence) solutions. Such bots can be used for a variety of business purposes (s-commerce, customer support, etc) to create new communication models through the interaction between brands and their audience, in other words we are living the “Conversational Commerce Era”.
Check a very interesting article about the state of bots in conversational commerce.
Originally published at mobilemarketingstand.com in early 2015.
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