Retailers have faced numerous challenges over the past few years. From increased pressure to implement sustainable practices, Brexit, the pandemic, to the continued evolution of the modern high street – there has been a range of economic, political and social factors that have put increased pressure on the industry to survive.

I hate to repeat the now ubiquitous phrase, but due to the pandemic, consumers were driven to shop online, thus merging social media and e-commerce more than ever before. The interaction between brands and consumers has evolved, prompted by the amount of brands utilising social media to reach customers.

The Global e-commerce market is expected to expand by one trillion dollars by 2025. This is now tied in with social commerce, meaning it is something that brands cannot avoid thinking about.

So, what exactly is social commerce?

To put it simply, social commerce is simply online shopping which takes place entirely within a social media platform; from the moment you spot a product, to adding it to your basket, to checking out.

Shopping features on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and now Pinterest make it easy for shoppers to convert without even having to leave the app – making it much easier and more convenient to purchase products.

This is usually enabled by affiliates. If a consumer follows a brand’s official account, they may be convinced to purchase this way, but the number of influencers, and the amount they influence consumers is increasing.

What problems can social commerce cause?

Whilst most of the effects of this change are beneficial, there are various issues that could come to light for retailers. One of these is that retailers must now ensure that the fulfillments the consumer receives live up to the speed and convenience in which they are bought. Delivery time, return time and customer service all form the opinion and relationship formed by a consumer.

Brick and mortar stores can also suffer the consequences. A whole new paradigm of sales and marketing has developed, meaning that less room is left for the traditional stores which used to line our high-streets.

Why is e-commerce, and now social commerce, essential?

However, whatever reservations a brand may have about implementing e-commerce, they will have to let go of. As of August 10 2021, 3.96 billion people currently use social media worldwide. This is almost double of 2015’s result, which was 2.07 billion.

It’s exciting to watch e-commerce, and social commerce, grow. Instead of seeing it as a threat, smaller brands and brick-and-mortar stores should see it as a fruitful opportunity. There are so many platforms right at their fingertips which can be used to expand reach and increase revenue to levels it has never seen before.