Social Apps Race to Monetize Shoppable Commerce Opportunity

Social Apps Race to Capture Commerce Opportunity

As contextual commerce transforms online shopping, social media platforms are seizing the opportunity to integrate purchasing into their platforms.

These apps and websites, once just avenues for sharing updates and connecting with friends, have become robust eCommerce ecosystems. From Facebook and Instagram to TikTok and Pinterest, these platforms have been integrating shopping functionalities, blurring the lines between social networking and online shopping.

Instagram, for instance, has been expanding its creator marketplace around the world, while Pinterest has been extending its reach into new types of shoppable content. In the fall, YouTube unveiled features that simplify the marketing and sale of products within videos meant to provide creators with additional opportunities to monetize their content.

Merchants, too, are looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of social media purchasing. eBay, for example, is unveiling artificial intelligence tools for sellers to drive engagement from social media users.

So far, penetration remains relatively low. The 2023 PYMNTS Intelligence report “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Monetizing Social Media” drew from a study of nearly 3,000 U.S. consumers. It found that 43% of consumers browse social media to find goods and services. However, only 14% ultimately purchase those goods and services via social media. Additionally, the study found, Facebook is the most common platform for such purposes, followed by Instagram, and then YouTube and TikTok, respectively.

Solution providers are looking to capture this growing demand, promising tools to boost social commerce capabilities. Commerce solution provider Shopline, for instance, announced Monday (March 18) new features for its social media integration such as targeting capabilities and ad effectiveness tracking tools. Also Monday, social commerce platform Trnd debuted its platform for creators, looking to offer shopper-friendly tools for influencers to sell products.

“With the pace at which social commerce is evolving, we’ve yet to see a solution that truly meets the needs of the brand, creator and consumer in a single unified platform and seamless experience,” Trnd CEO and Co-founder David Abbey said in a statement.

Earlier in the month, consumer experience platform Fermat announced that it raised $17 million in its Series A funding round to create a social commerce shopping platform using AI and machine learning.

One of the primary drivers behind the ascent of social commerce is the unparalleled reach and influence of social media platforms. With billions of users worldwide, these platforms serve as virtual marketplaces where brands can showcase their products to a vast and diverse audience. Whether through targeted advertisements, influencer collaborations or organic content, businesses can use social media to amplify their visibility and drive sales.

Furthermore, social media platforms have revolutionized the shopping experience by prioritizing seamless integration and user convenience. Features like shoppable posts, product tagging and in-app checkout streamline the path to purchase, reducing friction and enhancing the overall shopping experience for consumers.

The rise of user-generated content and influencer marketing has further fueled the growth of social commerce. By harnessing social proof and peer recommendations, brands can use influencers to amplify their reach and credibility, tapping into pre-existing communities and driving conversion.

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