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Social media will soon fuel online shopping

06 November 2014 - 09:53 by Sarah Collinson

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This week CNET reports that John Collison, the founder of online payments service, Stripe, has spoken out about the ways that e-commerce will infiltrate the world of social media.

Mr Collison predicts that sites like Facebook and Twitter will become far more closely linked with services offering shopping online, but only if retailers find a way of streamlining the checkout process.

At the moment, it takes five or six steps for a consumer to see a product or service they are interested in advertised on social media and finally get to the point that they can complete the transaction by placing an order, according to Mr Collison. This puts lots of obstacles in their path and means fewer people are being converted to paying customers by social networks.

Reducing these steps and even making it possible to carry out safe shopping online from within Facebook and Twitter, without having to visit a third party site, could dramatically alter the e-commerce landscape in the years to come.

Indeed, social media firms are very much in need of new ways to monetise their services, to boost revenues. While Facebook is making money from advertising, it could do much more to engage users and generate some cash from their activities if it encourages them to shop.

Twitter is also in need of a feature that can help it to turn a significant profit, since catering for hundreds of millions of users globally is an expensive business, especially if monetisation of the services has not been wholly successful so far.

Consumers are also in need of an overhaul, since many people now find out about products and services from their friends online, as well as the people they follow. In short, it is in the interests of everyone for social media to make shopping easier.