The role of social media in the fashion industry continues to evolve with new tools for both fashion brands and/or consumers. The shopping experience has changed with the influence of social media and with the notion of social shopping. Indeed, it has now become a habit for consumers – especially in the field of fashion – to have access to the opinion of communities.

Consumers are looking for social approval and acceptance. With over 23% of the online shoppers being influenced by social media – a number that continues to grow – on channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Even Snapchat is becoming part of the purchasing process.

Being in an era where almost every consumer is aware of what they buy and always need recommendations and opinions to trust a product; brands must do the best they can to provide this trust through social media.

More than 60% of the online purchases are clothes, shoes and accessories from large retailers, 54% at marketplaces, 44% from category-specific websites and 45% from general web shops (Data: bigcommerce.com).

A new trend is now appearing on social media: Social Commerce. Social commerce can be seen as an upgrade of the online buy button. The well known social media channels are developing a shopping experience directly accessible on their own platforms. China offers a great example on how to apply Social Commerce, called: WeChat. This is probably the biggest social media industry player with 768 million daily users and integrated a direct accessible shop a couple of years ago. It is now possible to shop through WeChat without leaving their app. This enabled them to become the very first commerce multi-channel portal in China.

We can now see that Social commerce is starting to take off in several countries. Especially in the United States. For instance, in 2016 Pinterest developed “buyable pins” – available on IOS and Android in the US – to enable consumers to directly buy from the pin using a secure payment method and without leaving the platform. Something which is used a lot to sell fashion items, home decor and gadgets.

Another example, and now spreading in Europe is the ability to buy from photo tags on Instagram. Introduced in 2016, tagged posts enable you to buy a product (maximum five per post) directly by clicking on the picture. It is a real opportunity for fashion brands as Instagram is an influential social media channel for trends and outfits. Something we expect will only increase.

Many other examples can be given and shows the expansion of Social Commerce, whether on major social media apps or newly developed online portals or apps. Being able to promote and sell your fashion items and other creations on one platform without redirecting is a true improvement and can benefit the fashion industry to grow even bigger.

Social Commerce represents a real opportunity for fashion brands concerning visibility and data. Indeed, in 2017 people are spending on average 2 hours on social media every day. Whether at work, during public transport or at home. And they expect more and more service when buying new products online. For example not wanting to be redirected to a third-party website to order a t-shirt.

The combination of social shopping and Social Commerce is changing the field of e-commerce. It simplifies the shopping experience and helps satisfying customers. Nevertheless, the main question remains: Will this tackle the challenge of creating enough trust when shopping online? People would like to be able to check reviews. Preferably accessible on social media before buying a product online. Will this be created soon enough to spur growth of Social Commerce? To be continued…

 

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Please cite this article as: Manon Kowalewski,Ioanna Zigogianni,Wouter de Roy van Zuidewijn (2017): Increasing Sales with Social Commerce, In: _zine, Vol. 2, Issue 1, online at: https://zine.tcbl.eu/increasing-sales-with-social-commerce/