The expanding social commerce ecosystem is full of opportunity for brands, social platforms, and developers alike. Brands and influencers should focus their efforts on discovering which product categories are ripe for social commerce as well as tracking cultural shifts in user behaviors and buying preferences.
The creator economy—and the content influencers produce and post—has increased media consumption on social platforms overall, making these platforms ideal channels for brands to capture potential customers where they are already spending their time. Identifying and activating an inclusive cohort of influencers, who not only represent the brand but can relate to and connect with ideal customers, could thus be central to cracking the social commerce code.14
In addition, brands can benefit by utilizing social advertising’s hypertargeted and personalized features. Social media algorithms that determine which ads are displayed in a user’s feed can be highly effective, drawing on billions of data points and powerful analytics to understand consumers and their needs. More than four in 10 consumers surveyed across the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, and Japan say they see ads on social media for things they have been looking for.15 Launching novel social shopping experiences, such as livestreamed events (already highly successful in China)16 or augmented reality–powered try-ons, could also be key.
Most social platforms are already benefiting from influencers’ success in reaching and selling to their audiences: the platform gains new avenues for monetization, and it retains users who are captivated by influencer content. These platforms, as well as technology developers, can seek to further cash in by building infrastructures and capabilities that support fully integrated, intuitive shopping and payment experiences—not just on social media, but on streaming video platforms, gaming services, music and podcast services, and just about everywhere else in the future metaverse.
As social commerce evolves globally through continued experimentation and by looking to more mature markets for guidance, it has the opportunity to draft the blueprint for the broader shoppable media landscape, making new products easier to find, simpler to pay for, and quicker to buy across digital experiences. Looking beyond 2023, most digital experiences are expected to be considered “shoppable,” and the same tap-to-purchase behavior available on social media platforms will likely be possible with other online services, too. Imagine watching a cooking show on a streaming video service. Just pause, select the recipe, add the items to your virtual grocery cart, select a delivery time, use mobile payment, wait for the doorbell to ring—and voila! Dinner is served.