When ecommerce shopping was initially introduced to consumers, some customers were reluctant to purchase items online. A key factor contributing to this hesitancy was their inability to touch and feel the items sold on ecommerce sites.
In contrast to brick-and-mortar stores and conventional shopping outlets, where consumers can physically examine the products on display, ecommerce stores are limited to offering product information or specifications primarily through written descriptions or video format. This limitation was a notable concern for many potential online shoppers at the onset of ecommerce.
However, since the inception of ecommerce, there has been a rising trend of people favoring online shopping over physical stores. One factor contributing to this shift in perspective is social media’s influence on consumer purchasing behavior.
Connections between Social Media and Ecommerce
Overtime, the bond between social media and ecommerce has become increasingly strong, with a deeply intertwined relationship.
Social media has become essential for online sellers and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, gaining traction over recent years. So much so, that the integration of ecommerce and social media is forecasted to generate around 6 Trillion USD by 2030.
To gain a deeper insight into the relationship between ecommerce and social media though, you should first develop a full understanding of both concepts.
Overview: What is ecommerce?
Ecommerce is an abbreviated term for “electronic commerce,” primarily encompassing the online exchange of goods or services. Its inception dates back to 1982 with the establishment of the first ecommerce company, Boston Computer Exchange.
With the growing internet accessibility among consumers, numerous companies ventured into creating their online selling platforms, with Amazon being a notable example. When it first launched in 1995, Amazon solely focused on selling books online, and it eventually evolved into the ecommerce giant we recognize today.
It is estimated that there are more than 2 billion online consumers worldwide, and the top five countries that spend the most on online shopping include:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Since consumers may purchase their desired items online in many ways, ecommerce likewise comes in many different forms. However, the most common types of ecommerce business models that greatly influence the consumer industry are the following:
Business-to-Consumer (B2C): One of the most popular ecommerce models, where businesses sell their products directly to individual consumers or end-users. Amazon is a good example of a B2C platform wherein business owners or Amazon sellers are selling their products directly to Amazon shoppers.
Business-To-Business (B2B): When a transaction is conducted by one business and another, it is considered as a B2B. An excellent example of this is the relationship between wholesalers and retailers.
Consumer-To-Business (C2B): In this ecommerce model, the consumers sell to businesses by creating value for a product or service. A good example of a C2B model is a freelance expert selling his expertise or product to a company.
Consumer-To-Consumer (C2C): The C2C model includes consumers who sell goods or services to other consumers or shoppers online. This ecommerce model is often observed in Etsy or eBay.
Overview: What is Social Media?
Social media is the digital technology that allows you to share ideas or information through virtual platforms or communities. It usually highlights user-created content, often observed on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (now X), TikTok, Pinterest, and even Reddit.
In retrospect, the first recognizable social media site in the format we know today was Six Degrees. It was a platform created in 1997 that enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. Other notable social media sites before the Facebook era include MySpace and Friendster.
Presently, social media has transformed beyond a platform solely dedicated to sharing holiday photos, selfies, and memes. It now serves as an avenue to showcase items for sale or promote products or services.
Some social media platforms even incorporate online marketplaces, allowing users to display and sell their goods to others. This integration of social media and ecommerce provides numerous benefits to sellers worldwide.
Social Media and Ecommerce Interplay
The connection between ecommerce and social media has become increasingly obvious with the introduction of various features and functionalities by social media platforms to benefit online entrepreneurs and business owners.
To illustrate the influence of social media on ecommerce enterprises, here are some avenues through which social media helps the ecommerce industry.
Marketing and Branding
The most evident contribution of social media to the ecommerce industry is that it is a powerful marketing tool for businesses. Social media platforms have enabled companies or sellers to showcase products and promote their brands.
Furthermore, social media has introduced a relatively new marketing avenue through influencer marketing. This approach leverages the existing followers and online influence of individuals or groups referred to as social influencers to endorse products, facilitating wider audience reach.
When it comes to customer engagement, social media provides sellers with a direct channel to communicate or interact with their customers conveniently. There are many ways for businesses to interact with their customers or followers; some of the most common methods you can use to interact with customers are through comments, direct messages, and social media polls.
In the context of customer engagement, social media helps business owners quickly gather feedback, address customer concerns, and build stronger relationships with their followers. Hence, it leads to customer loyalty while influencing the customers’ purchasing decisions.
Additional Sales Channels
Besides improving brand visibility and customer engagement, social media is an effective sales channel for ecommerce businesses. Social media platforms with shopping features allow business owners to list products for other users to purchase. This integration leads to a seamless consumer shopping experience and an increased conversion rate for business owners.
Social media platforms, especially those with sophisticated tools and functionalities, can offer sellers and entrepreneurs vast amounts of data. Sellers can use the data generated by social media platforms to gather insights into customer behavior and preferences and anticipate upcoming trends. Thus, it helps sellers refine their marketing strategy and improve their product offerings.
Strong Customer Base
Integrating social media into your ecommerce campaign can also lead to a solid customer base. Social media platforms can help your ecommerce business build communities around your brand.
Once you can improve brand visibility and awareness, you can start cultivating a loyal online community, fostering a sense of belongingness among customers. The community you create and nurture can help improve customer retention.
Social Media and Beyond
The dynamic and interactive nature of social media complements the transactional nature of the ecommerce industry, offering a convenient avenue for online sellers and business owners to enhance their campaigns, especially those focused on customer engagement, retention, marketing, sales expansion, and many more.
However, the success of your ecommerce campaign is not solely dependent on social media. Social media is merely one of several resources that you can utilize for your ecommerce business.
It is essential to explore additional seller tools such as an inventory management software, productivity tools, and a repricing software for enhanced pricing strategy. Seller Snap’s AI Repricer is a great tool to help sellers optimize your sales and outsmart your competition. Incorporating the use of these tools in your ecommerce business will provide a more holistic picture of your business, allowing you to be more effective in your business management, growth, and overall success.
This blog was contributed by our partners at SellerSnap.