WHAT IS SOCIAL COMMERCE
Social commerce is the process of selling goods directly on social media. With social commerce, the entire shopping experience — from product discovery and analysis to the check-out process — takes place right on a social media site. Currently, social applications that allow for social commerce include Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Social commerce provides audiences with shopping opportunities right on digital platforms and brands really should be taking advantage of them. 81% of shoppers research products on Instagram and Facebook, and shopping is a top priority for 48% of Pinterest users. So why not give them exactly what they want?
SOCIAL COMMERCE VS E-COMMERCE
E-commerce refers to a shopping experience via a website or dedicated branded app. Social commerce, by definition, enables consumers to make purchases within their social media experience. Social commerce is not the same as e-commerce but can however, be referred to as informal e-commerce. Informal e-commerce is a type of e-commerce in which products are purchased and sold via social media sites like Facebook and WhatsApp. Buyers and sellers leverage social media sites in informal e-commerce. The platforms bind supply and demand, but they are not always directly involved in other areas of online commerce. Payments and distribution services are usually not allowed on social media. As a result, those steps take place off-platform in whatever configuration works best for the buyer and seller in their specific situation. Social commerce or informal e-commerce is fragmented and highly situational.
F-commerce, or Facebook Commerce, is an online business concept that refers to the design and creation of content and storefront sites within the social networking website Facebook. Simply put, it refers to the sale of products and services on Facebook.com. Although social commerce means more or less the same, it includes all types of commerce that occur in social media, i.e. Facebook and other online social networking websites. With 1.71 billion monthly active users, Facebook, is the world’s largest online social media and social networking platform. F-commerce seeks to boost sales by integrating elements of Facebook.
F-COMMERCE IN BANGLADESH
In January 2019, Bangladesh had 3,371,3000 Facebook users, accounting for 19.7% of the country’s total population. It is therefore unsurprising that companies have begun to sell their goods through this effective medium. F-Commerce has become a huge axiom for Bangladeshi marketers these days because it is a cost-effective technique that contributes significantly to making a substantial profit. In Bangladesh, F-Commerce is mostly used by youth-oriented brands, as the open audience on Facebook is customers aged 18 to 34. Many small and medium-sized enterprises are using F-commerce to rapidly gain access to a greater pool of buyers and market their entire product line at the same time. As a result, they can easily monitor their clients’ movements, gain insight, and gather feedback and new ideas about the deals. Furthermore, by using this powerful platform, these entrepreneurs are now able to negotiate directly with their clients, and charge a lower price than their competitors.
F-commerce in Bangladesh has opened many new doors for many individuals (especially women) who would otherwise be restricted by market barriers that prevent them from entering brick-and-mortar stores or related businesses. One such individual, Nusrat Jisha found that Facebook gave her access to a much wider pool of potential customers. The proof came when she designed a T-shirt to protest against female violence on public transportation. The shirt went viral in her social media circles, providing a boost to her thriving online commerce business in Bangladesh. Her income from F-commerce has nearly equaled her household’s previous overall income in just four years.
THE EVOLVING PATH TO PURCHASE
Marketers use the word “path to purchase” to describe the customer experience or multiple touchpoints during the customer lifecycle. In the digital era, and particularly with the rise of social media, the customer path to purchase has changed dramatically. With more avenues than ever for people to get instant feedback from friends and family, and with mobile devices still at hand, shoppers these days take a completely different approach to shopping, which marketers must realize and adapt to in order to optimize their opportunities.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS
Create in-store shopping experiences online: Brands should allow shoppers to research and evaluate products as seamlessly as they do in-store. Marketers should consider offering speedy messaging responses, videos of products and 360-degree images.
Make online purchasing easy: It is important for the brands to create a seamless shopping experience for shoppers. Companies should reduce friction points by offering direct and one-click purchasing options through their websites or their business pages in the Facebook family of apps.
By Musarrat Sarwar Chowdhury