Buying on social media: is it worth it?

It’s no surprise that the British high street is declining. To name a few, we’ve already waved goodbye to Woolworths, BHS and Toys R Us over the last decade, so what can the future hold for retail opportunities?


Recently, more and more businesses are taking to social media to sell their products within the medium of their content. With Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram now allowing consumers to buy directly through their apps, it would appear that ‘making a sale’ has never been easier. So, why does no one seem to be buying through these apps, then?


The good:

  • Brands can utilise their large following on social media to generate more opportunities for people to see their products and purchase them instantly.
  • Customers can benefit from a ‘seamless shopping experience’, they can look at a particular image of a product, tap on the item they like and buy it then and there.
  • Alternatively, some platforms direct shoppers to the product’s page on the retailer’s website. By doing this, it saves the customer having to navigate the website whilst they try and find the item they want
  • Implementing shopping tags to content, can drive more traffic to the website, and subsequently present more opportunities for customer to purchase more items.
  • According to Salesforce, 54% of millennials use social channels to research products before they buy. This is a massive potential purchasing audience!



The bad:

  • A survey by SUMO revealed that 82% of shoppers have yet to use social media commerce.
  • After the recent scandals of data breaches on various social media platforms (we’re looking at you, Facebook), there has been an understandable and considerable drop in consumer trust, when using social media where giving personal info is concerned. There is reason to believe this could be why people aren’t buying products through social commerce.
  • Although there may be a benefit to the retailer when directing people to the website, shoppers could find the experience jarring, when hopping from the social media platform to the seller’s website.
  • When social media commerce ads appear, customers may be put off by the forced nature of the ad and may feel they didn’t ‘naturally’ choose the item.



The verdict:

The popularity of the high street is continuing to diminish, so new avenues need to be explored. Buying through social media is a strategy that’s only in its infancy, so it’s hard to tell whether it will grow or disappear, never to be seen again and when Millennials and Gen Zers are the biggest purchasers via the internet, the opportunities to do business on social media can only increase – watch this space!

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