What’s keeping social commerce quiet?

2017 was all set to be the year of Social Commerce. The time for sales to flood in through Pinterest and Twitter was upon us. With Mobile Commerce rising at meteoric levels, it was only logical to assume that the introduction of the Buy Button would have millions opting to buy their favourite products straight from their Twitter sites.  So why hasn’t the concept taken off? An uninspiring 45% of adults say that they have no interest in buying products through Social Media channels, the concept has not been sold to the public. Furthermore, brands themselves just don’t seem to have balanced effectively the art of selling via Social Media and communicating who they are to their consumers via Social Media. Influencer Marketing and Live Video has seen huge uptake throughout the year so far, Social Commerce seems yet to get out of the starting blocks. So what’s gone wrong?


Firstly- layout. The way the Buy Buttons are positioned and how they function is tricky at best and ludicrous and worst. Having a large imposing ‘Buy Now’ button gives the user the impression that they have to take immediate action. This can become stressful and feel oppressive. It takes the fun out of shopping.


Also, the user journey in Social Commerce is still too lengthy.  When the consumer has seen a product that he or she likes and is all set to go ahead and make that devil may care purchase, the excitement is short-lived when they are taken through numerous different stages before getting to the checkout at the finishing line. Most Social Commerce experiences involve clicking a link in a bio, being taken to the interim landing page and then onto the brand’s site, where the product can finally be selected and placed in the cart. So many consumers begrudge this lengthy process of being taken from the comfort of the Instagram or Pinterest bubble and through the rigmarole of the buying process. It has a feeling of what’s the point at the end of it all, about it.


Chatbots, another version of Social Commerce, have also been unsuccessful in garnering a following. Chatbots have been created for customer service and often appear in Social Media inboxes, with advice and help. Consumers feel odd being faced with the sight of these in their inboxes, especially alongside messages from family and friends in what is seen as a social space. As a way around this, some brands have tried to give their chatbots a more friendly set of characteristics, often through the use of human names or by encouraging informal chat. Another way of redeeming your Chatbot in the eyes of the consumer is through setting limitations. Making it clear that the consumer is firmly in control and that if they want they can end the dialogue and talk to a human being at any time.


ASOS, have done well in Social Commerce, perhaps because much of their target audience uses Instagram search filters as a way of looking for products like other demographics use Google. ASOS focuses on the brand and not just the Buy Button. They using a combination of organic and paid promotion as well as dynamic product ads. They start targeting the consumer with the use of video content that teases, before following it up with re-targeted ads that include the Buy Button. It is more of a gradual process. Consumers are only hit with a Buy Button after a clear connection has been made.


Social Commerce is taking off, but not as fast as anticipated. Only the really savvy brands have worked out that consumers like to have it as an option, but only if they are already very much engaged with a certain product and are comfortable with social platforms. With product searches being carried out on Social Media it is wise to invest in Buy Buttons, just make sure you cut down on the number of clicks it takes your consumers to get from Buy Button to check out. The most successful will be the brands who do this.