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Social shopping is transforming e-commerce

12 September 2018 - 12:08 by Sarah Collinson

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When it comes to fashion brands in particular, one of the biggest trends helping e-commerce sales to grow - up by 9pc in the current year - is the use of social media. TrendWatching, a business consultancy, has carried out research which found that the new storefronts are increasingly being fulfilled by social channels.

In a recent report, they demonstrated that 1.8 billion people used messaging apps last year, and forecast that the use of these apps is expected to grow by 100pc by the end of next year. They have also found that customers are becoming increasingly demanding of their retail experiences. Not only do they want to be guaranteed to enjoy safe shopping online, but they want those experiences to be free from any friction or glitches - whether they are shopping via a website, in-store, or via an in-message or social media app.

Their analysts have found that the future of the retail customer experience will depend on brands either being aggressive in grabbing customer attention or being able to save it at all times. M-commerce will continue to grow and customers will want their experiences to be ultra-convenient and completely seamless.

BI Intelligence carried out similar research to find that, in 2017, the biggest 500 retailers took around $6.5 billion USD from social commerce, which was a 25pc growth year on year. This means that shoppers no longer feel bound by physical stores or even search engines. Although the idea of social commerce may be new, customers are rapidly catching on to tools which allow them to shop within an app - such as Instagram or Facebook. 

Millennials, in particular, spend significant proportions of their time on social media and expect to be inspired, connected - and able to shop with a few clicks. Those brands which can keep up with the curve can therefore reap the rewards of valuable M-commerce spend - and potential customer loyalty from social platforms.