Social media platforms and applications have introduced a range of social commerce-focused functionalities over the past year or two. Instagram has shoppable posts and Pinterest ‘buy it’ buttons. However, despite the present realities of social commerce, a recent investigation by marketing media Adweek suggests that marketing experts believe it is still very much a nascent market. Experts at marketing agencies Fetch, SapientRazorfish and Quantcast interviewed by Adweek think that despite a number of successful social commerce case studies there is still some way to go before it becomes mainstream.
Two recent successful social commerce projects were Jordan Brands selling out a limited edition trainer through Snapchat and Allbirds also sold out a limited edition birthday collection of shoes through Instagram. However, the experts Adweek spoke to believe that at this point in the development of social commerce, as a sales rather than marketing platform, it is perhaps best suited to this kind of event based retail campaign.
Octavio Maron, executive creative director at mobile marketing agency Fetch, believes that there is still ‘friction’ for buyers as they go through steps when buying something inside most social medias. He thinks that outside of early adopters there is also still a learning curve for consumers to go through when it comes to social commerce. That’s a position backed up by Jason Goldberg, commerce and content practise Senior Vice President at SapientRazorfish. He comments that Snapchat’s social commerce platform is also more robust and better developed than those of other social media peers. For example, choosing between size and colour choices is ‘cleaner’ on Snap.
Fetch’s strategy director Jonathan Liew thinks that at this moment social commerce is most effective as a ‘point of inspiration’ and in referral. He and Goldberg both feel that the technology integration is generally still slightly clumsy and chases customers off and onto the brand’s website.
The other drawback to social commerce from the point of view of marketing agencies and brands is data ownership and control of the customer experience. This lack of first party data ownership means Steven Wolfe Pereira, CMO of Quantcast, thinks it would be detrimental to brands to build their entire business within a social commerce platform.
While it can be expected that these issues will largely be resolved as social commerce matures, they indicate that it will most likely be another couple of years before the channel really goes mainstream.