Retail in Asia


#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: Tapping on the rise of social commerce

When was the last time you made a purchase because of a recommendation you came across on social media?

Influencer marketing is not new, but being able to purchase something off a social platform – without leaving it – is a burgeoning opportunity for brands and marketers alike.

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Sales from social commerce are predicted to reach USD4 trillion by 2024 – double that of 2019’s USD2 trillion. Social commerce sites are in an arms race to capture this growing sales opportunity, launching features that make it super easy for people to buy.

Thus far, Instagram is the most robust across platforms in terms of its commerce capabilities. Not only does Instagram allow users to buy directly from posts and stories, it also allows brands to create “shoppable collections” in the Instagram shop, so users can easily browse and shop related products.

The traditional path to purchase is now disrupted. According to WARC’s global survey, more than 70 percent of people agree that social media platforms have inspired them to make purchases, even when they are not looking to shop. These nonlinear journeys open up new, more spontaneous behaviours that show every moment is an opportunity for conversion.

China remains the most developed in terms of social commerce globally – the Chinese have been livestream-shopping millions of products way before the rest of the world, and their e-commerce platforms have integrated social behaviours within their experiences (see Taobao’s cart-sharing function, or Pinduoduo’s team purchases).

But Southeast Asia is also on the fast-track of growth, given the market’s mobile-first nature and community-centricity.

For brands, it is then imperative to embrace these all-important discovery moments as a meaningful opportunity to convert a user to purchase, whether planned or unplanned.

Here are three social shoppability tactics brands can explore and employ to maximise success when exploring this channel.

Shoppable Influencer Content

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are making content from brand partners and influencers directly shoppable on the platform. This is a win-win for all parties involved: Brand and influencers win from increased sales, while customers win because it’s a faster, more convenient experience.

Live Shopping

Live shopping is a tactic most effective in capturing impulse buyers, especially when there’s new products, promotions, deals or collaborations. According to Global Web Index’s latest stats, 1 in 3 watch a livestream weekly across APAC, while in the West, 22 percent do so. While millennials are the most fond of livestreaming, brands have also seen a rise in engagement from baby boomers.

AR Commerce

The leading platform in this space is Snapchat, which is doubling down on their commerce features through AR, their key differentiating factor. They have recently launched the “Catalog Powered AR Shopping Lenses” product, where within the filter, you can see product catalog cards of the different versions of the product. Clicking on the product card will open up the details about the product, before users click through to the website’s product page to complete their purchase. This is a tactic to explore for beauty and fashion products.

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Social commerce has the potential to change the way we shop. The days where you see something interesting from a celebrity – then searching it out to see where it can be purchased – could soon be behind us. Every moment in a platform could be an opportunity for conversion. Its rate of growth makes it a trend to watch.

This piece is authored by Roana Brito, Group Strategy Director, R/GA Singapore