5 Factors That Are Brewing the Perfect Storm for Social Shopping

Transactions are no longer limited to e-commerce sites, they happen right here on social media now. So what are these five ingredients that are responsible for this perfect storm?

We (marketers) have all been waiting for this moment for the last decade: The moment social media goes from being an engagement platform to a revenue generation tool.

Yes, for years now, businesses large and small have had to struggle to defend their social media spends. After all these years, just 36 percent of all CMOs claim that they see clear quantifiable results from social media marketing. Questions like ROI, revenue attribution, last mile conversions have dogged the platform like a heavy albatross around its neck. Long-winded methods are adopted by various firms to showcase the impact that social media has on the bottom lines of businesses.

No more. Finally, enough factors have come together to prove the naysayers wrong. Now we have tools that can directly produce the results that marketers were hoping social media would be able to influence someday. Transactions are no longer limited to e-commerce sites, they happen right here on social media now. So what are these five ingredients that are responsible for this perfect storm?

1. Extensive Social Media Product Catalogs

As mentioned earlier, shoppers now have the option of buying right where they are on social media platforms. Earlier, product ads on social media were created with the purpose of enticing click-throughs to the advertisers’ sites. However, with Twitter’s Buy button and Pinterest’s Buyable Pins, and Facebook’s whole new Shopping section (under testing), a bunch of unwieldy steps have been taken out of the equation.

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Never one to be left far behind, Facebook might intend to introduce a Shopping tab a la Pinterest, which enables users to directly head towards a “store near their home” if the mood strikes them. Remember the ill-fated F-Commerce days when brands struggled to set up dedicated stores inside Facebook but received little to no response from users? The new Shopping tab is a far cry from those.

And good old e-commerce platforms are taking note – web store frameworks like Shopify have rushed in to add a social point of sale for retail products with Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest integrations.

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2. Superior Mobile Payments Technology

No matter how great their intentions, no social network can achieve the long held dream of being a true social commerce enabler until the problem of simple payments is fixed. This is where the new digital wallets score over Facebook’s earlier, failed foray into social shopping.

Today, a majority of social media users access it via their mobile phones. According to the Adobe Mobile Consumer Survey, 71 phone of respondents accessed social media via their mobile phone. No wonder, Facebook makes more money via mobile ads than desktop advertising. With mobile overtaking desktops in the case of access to the internet worldwide, mobile is truly a force to reckon with.

This is why, the rise and growth of mobile payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Stripe, etc. this year are of special significance. Each of these payment options offer users secure and extremely user-friendly ways of paying with the mobile handsets. With mobile payments becoming a popular and safe way to pay, users will not have trouble buying and paying for products on social media via their mobile handsets. Hello, social commerce!

3. Social Goes Local

Think of all the things that you can do with local searches on Google – you can now do most of them from within Pinterest. Pinterest now allows users to discover new places to hang out, shop, or relax at, using the Places Pin. Make calls to a business, find their address, know their hours of business, get their location on a map – these are just a handful of features that will be available through the new and improved Place Pins. Want to ask something very specific? Call the place of business at their listed number directly from within Pinterest. Users can also see a map of the business’s location, pin it and get directions via Apple or Google Maps.