Navigating Consumers' Social Shopping Trust Issues in 2024
Over the past few years, consumers have become hyperconnected online. What used to be individual tasks, like exchanging money or listening to music, are now opportunities for social networking among friends with apps like Venmo and Spotify. It was only a matter of time before shopping took to social platforms as well, and it has with full force. Instagram ads, TikTok Shop, Pinterest, and plenty more are all examples of social shopping — a new, yet highly effective form of commerce.
Social shopping made massive strides in 2023, with most major social media platforms hopping on the trend. In 2024, we’ll see plenty more platforms and brands implement their own form of social commerce. But before the concept can be a true success story, there are critical trust issues consumers are experiencing with this first wave of social shopping that's holding it back from widespread adoption. In fact, a whopping 63 percent of consumers are deterred from making purchases through social channels because they’re worried about illegitimate merchants and scams.
While it’s important for brands and platforms to be early adopters of new trends, it’s crucial they first identify and address these fears. In 2024, this concept must be highly refined by increasing transparency and data privacy to eliminate these common yet justified concerns.
Where Platforms Currently Fall Short
It’s no secret there’s a big appetite for social commerce. Sixty percent of consumers are willing to spend up to $100 on a purchase via social media, which makes it a great customer acquisition channel for brands. But since social media has been around for nearly two decades, the technical infrastructure isn’t designed to operate with a commerce element, which leaves some gaps that must be filled.
As it currently stands, security is by far the biggest problem area. Consumers want to know they’re receiving a quality product and that their payment info is safe — 57 percent of consumers are uncomfortable sharing checkout information (e.g., credit card number, address, phone number, etc.) with a merchant through social media. In a similar vein, 55 percent are concerned about counterfeit or low-quality products.
Aside from security shortcomings, another factor that adds to consumer skepticism is a lack of product reviews. Thirty-eight percent of consumers won't shop via social media due to inadequate customer reviews or ratings, which, as significant purchasing motivators, help foster informed decision making and increase merchant credibility.
Tackling Trust Issues Head On
Whether it be tech or social factors, the overall sentiment is that there’s a BIG lack of trust in social commerce. Thankfully there’s a few easy fixes brands and platforms can prioritize to overcome consumer fears.
Taking a head-on approach to these issues is the best way to quickly reverse this negative sentiment. It’s critical that platforms or brands that are selling directly within their content put security safeguards in place, especially when it comes to payment. Using a reputable third-party payment processor is a great way to ensure advanced data encryption, prevent fraud, and limit the exposure merchants have to personal information.
Aside from payments, it’s critical platforms vet their merchants and put in rigorous fraud monitoring systems. A great way to relay this effort to consumers is by providing verification badges to approved merchants. It’s also important consumers have access to view and post reviews about their experiences.
These are simple but effective measures that can immediately make social media users more comfortable to take the leap into this form of online shopping. By ironing out these wrinkles early on, the concept can continue to grow and provide brands with a highly targeted marketing approach, while supporting the broader creator economy.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Censuswide. Total sample size was 1,014 nationally representative U.S. social media users. Fieldwork was undertaken between Oct. 3-6, 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures are representative of all U.S. adults aged 16-plus. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
Randy Bapst is the CEO of AiBUY, in-content commerce solutions, where he leads through strategic global hiring acquisitions and uses his 30-year plus background in growing businesses across industries to propel AiBUY forward.
Randy Bapst is the CEO of AiBUY, in-content commerce solutions, where he leads through strategic global hiring acquisitions and uses his 30-year plus background in growing businesses across industries to propel AiBUY forward. Randy combines his business acumen with the ability to identify high-growth niches in emerging markets to launch and scale successful companies. His early career includes time in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was a crew chief on the Presidential Helicopter Marine One for Presidents Carter and Reagan. Randy also attended the MIT business executive school for data analytics.