Is Social Shopping the Future of Retail?

Last month Bloomberg reported that social shopping accounted for 3% of online sales in the United States in 2018, amounting to under $17 billion. In China, 8.5% of online sales were made through social shopping in 2017, and by 2022 that figure is projected to exceed 15 percent, which would represent about $413 billion in sales.

What is Social Shopping?

Social shopping is e-commerce that takes place on a social platform. Shopping online at home by yourself can be lonely, but technology has found a way to mimic the social interactions we experience when we go to the mall together.

Recommendation engines and shopping communities are basic examples of social shopping, but more innovative approaches are popping up all over. Instagram recently added e-commerce features, while in China live-streamed retail is gaining popularity — picture a shop owner with a camera phone showing off their goods and taking requests from viewers.

How can you get ready for the social shopping future?

  • Do not underestimate your social media presence.
  • Take good care of your existing clients. It’s never been easier to launch a brand, but it’s never been harder to make people remember your name the next day.
  • Build good relationships with suppliers and marketplaces (for example, keeping your seller scorecards in good shape will open doors to interesting opportunities that may only be offered to top partners)
  • Keep track of new features in social media e-commerce. Some may be experiments that may or may not work for your company, but it’s always a good idea to budget for some experimentation.

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