The Future of Shopping is Social: How Cloud-Based Social Commerce is Redefining the Buyer Journey
The shopping experience has always been a social activity. From the agoras of ancient Greece to the 1980s mega malls, people have rarely shopped alone. However, in recent times, the surge in e-commerce has altered the landscape, making the process of purchasing concert tickets, fashion, and travel less social. It can be cumbersome to reach beyond the walls of a shopping site to ask a friend’s opinion about a preferred stadium seat, the right style of dress for an upcoming wedding, or the best place to stay when you land in Cabo.
Today, bridging the gap to gain input from family or friends or share payment often requires clunky processes, such as forwarding links via text and waiting as they load the site. Technology has evolved, and the retail world must also evolve — cloud-based social e-commerce is necessary to continue to reach the next generation of shoppers.
The Benefits of Social Commerce for Shoppers and Brands
Consumers want to seamlessly include shopping companions in real time as they browse, select items, and check out. The isolation imposed by a typical e-commerce site impacts millennials and Gen Z more than other generations. According to one study, 85 percent of the next generation of consumers are proactively creating their own workarounds to share with peers. These methods are disruptive and potentially detrimental to revenue since they force the user to step out of the e-commerce site to make use of popular social media apps to tag and send direct messages about their shopping finds. Plus, all the data about the social exchange stays in the social media app's “walled garden,” limiting a retailer's ability to take advantage of additional marketing and sales opportunities.
The next generation of consumers are likely to delight in the emergence of social commerce, which enables interaction and contribution from others directly within the buying process. Retail, hospitality, and entertainment organizations are responding to the social commerce trend as a means to increase revenue and reach, and are relying on cloud technology to efficiently implement these capabilities.
Cloud-Based Social Commerce Solutions Help Businesses Grow
Cloud-based social commerce solutions incorporate multiple shoppers into a single customer journey. Often offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), these solutions take care of the underlying technical infrastructure and operations while also automating collection and visualization of traffic data and insights. This model delivers a level of simplicity for deployment and operations that allows retail organizations to focus on their areas of expertise, such as product assortments, holiday trends, and business innovation. By integrating social commerce into core services and leveraging the additional data insights gained from these solutions, organizations can increase customer reach and produce innovative shopping experiences.
As the next generation of shoppers emerges as primary spenders, social commerce will become an increasingly important differentiator in all varieties of online sales. Sellers that force shoppers to operate in isolation will limit their total addressable market. Cloud-based social commerce offerings that readily integrate with existing sites and manage the underlying technology are changing the game for sellers, making it faster and easier to catch up on the social commerce trend.
Related story: How Brands Can Leverage the Selling Potential of TikTok
Joyce Mueller is director, retail solutions at SADA and was formerly Head of Customer Engineering at Google Cloud. She helps the world’s leading retailers transform their businesses with data and technology. Joyce believes in a steady, diligent approach to digital transformation that focuses on creating new revenue streams, driving greater operational efficiency, and building better connections with customers.