SOCIAL COMMERCE (defined): Social commerce is a subset of electronic commerce activities that involve social media and online media platforms that support social interaction, and user contributions to assist online buying and selling of products and services.
- In social commerce, most of the efforts are carried out by the creators, in terms of pursuing their community to buy products they endorse and sell.
- It can be called a strong form of WOM – Word of Mouth, in video format that convinces people to buy.
- Also, the existence of a strong loyal community is an important aspect to make social commerce work.
- Creators usually demonstrate products and build credibility by endorsing the product.
The creator economy is driven by passionate individuals who share their interests with an engaged community, and generate income from their knowledge and skills. -WARC
Following these trends, all social platforms have been updating their services to facilitate creators by making tools available that would allow the creators to achieve the end goal without having to leave the platform.
TikTok caused disruption that influenced Youtube to come up with their version of short video format called Youtube Shorts.
TikTok is a major disruptor in this case; the platform expanded videos to 3 minutes in length, while Instagram Reels went up to 60 seconds. Platforms are modifying and introducing new features — both for short- and long-form video formats.
Facebook pushes retailers to use its
built-in storefront Facebook Marketplace,
and has simplified the process for uploading products.
Pinterest uses buyable pins
to promote items for sale.
In 2020, Instagram launched the Shopping
tab so that its users can explore brands and products.
We’ve seen an explosion in video, and it’s a paradigm shift we’re embracing.”
– Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram
USING LONG-FORM CONTENT
Long-form video content is produced where more time is required to convince customers, like selling makeup products in which creators endorse, and at times use these products to create more credibility.
This format is used in categories like personal care, skin-care, makeup, reviewing performances of cellular phone models etc.
China pioneered social commerce and has shown exponential growth, being followed by other countries. In one recent promotion, a famous Chinese Vlogger sold cosmetics worth USD 1.5 billion in a 24 hours time span—whereas the total volume of Pakistani ecommerce for 2020 was USD 2 billion.
Social commerce will become mainstream as 75% of brands, as mentioned in a survey conducted by WARC, plan to increase spending, leveraging the power of creators to sell via live-streams and shoppable media.
Social commerce works better when an integrated approach is used alongside a brand’s existing sales channels, including the e-commerce storefront and its physical shop.
SNAPSHOT OF E-COMMERCE IN PAKISTAN
In order to gauge the prospects of social commerce in Pakistan, we need to know how much e-commerce has been adopted in Pakistan that may give some directional readings for social commerce proliferations.
Other indirect factors that will aide in broadening the social commerce based include:
Demographics of Pakistan
- 3 young people will enter the workforce for every person retiring over the next 20 years, boosting technology adoption, productivity and consumption, creating a huge demographic devidend.
- With a median age of 22.3, Pakistan’s GenZ and younger population is larger than the USA and Indonesia.
- Continuous influx of OTT businesses which involve online money transactions in one form or another, for instance ride-hailing services.
- These businesses will not only make people use more and more online real-time services, but will also work on the upper part of the funnel.
PROSPECTS FOR SOCIAL COMMERCE IN PAKISTAN
- Certain communities created by celebrities and vloggers in Pakistan are larger than 2 to 3 million subscribers.
- These communities & channels have been in continuous evolution. For example, Pakistani YouTube channels related to makeup have all kinds of options from college girls to elderly women, as well as bridal, party, and makeup suited to wedding guest.
SOCIAL COMMERCE TO METAVERSE
E-commerce has been evolving at a very fast pace the world over. In evolved markets like the USA, with the proliferation of AI, VR and competition; social platforms have been using the famous kaizen strategy, which led to the development of Facebook Meta.
Metaverse is a game-changer. It allows customers to be lured from e-commerce and social commerce sites through an immersive interface. For example, it virtually allows prospective buyers to see and even wear to check the fit of clothes, attend a virtual office, visit a show room to check specifications of an automobile etc. at any location in the world.