The relationship between social networks and shopping has changed dramatically over the years, with brands and marketers exploring how to make the most of it. It is noticeable that social networks are becoming practical and, at the same time, a powerful tool for social commerce. The combination of social networking and shopping will become crucial for brands and marketers to survive in online sales. The main question that arises is how to prepare the business or the company for that.

What Social Commerce Is?

To be completely clear from the beginning, let’s clarify what social commerce is. This term is often described as an online sale that includes social networks. More precisely, social commerce represents social networks have to offer: product sharing and consumer impact. In this way, in classify social shopping into a consumer experience created specifically for them. Social networks are working to bridge the gap between finding products on social networks and buying them on the same platform. What we can expect shortly is the increasing influence of social commerce on online shopping.

How Social Commerce Accelerates the Online Shopping Process

It is necessary to know that nowadays, it is almost impossible to create a shopping experience without social networks. 

You are probably wondering what indicates that?

Well, some research has shown the following:

The fact is that people allow social networks to guide them in their shopping decisions, while for brands, social networks are the ideal place where they can raise awareness of their product and increase sales. All this indicates that social networks and social shopping are more and more intertwined, and it’s tough to discuss them as separate categories. 

Of course, these trends are also recognized by the companies behind the most popular social networks that are intensively working on developing and launching their social commerce functionality. So in 2018. Instagram launched a shoppable post feature that provides an opportunity for companies to tag products in organic posts and the ability to buy products online directly on Instagram. 

Facebook offers a chatbot option that many brands have used to enhance services for its consumers. 

All of these are ways how social commerce already exists and will further accelerate the online shopping process in the future. It is especially important given that more and more people are connected to their phones and social media platforms, which means that brands are one click away from their consumers. 

What Can We Expect From Social Commerce Shortly

When it comes to the future of social commerce, things are inevitably moving in the direction that the Chinese market is already running. 

Social networks are already developing new functionalities on their platforms. 

When looking at the functionalities social networks are developing, we cannot overlook that most of these functionalities are already used on the Chinese megalomaniacal platform WeChat

But, we can’t consider WeChat as a social network. It is something much more and integrates the functionality of social networks, communication, and shopping applications; It enables connecting people who share the same interests and allows brands to create their online communities made up of people with specific interests. 

Social commerce will become a form of social engagement, not just a buying process

Social commerce will become a place that brings people together in online communities, not just a place where people can shop on social networks. That will be platforms where marketers meet with customers creating a trusted connection that is much different from the classic online sales business, creating a brand community

Brand communities are the most valuable source for brands

But how can we define a brand community? It is a group of porters who invest in a brand outside of the product. They enable companies to connect with customers and engage them in brand creation. 

When people are already gathering together in a community brand, then companies have to make them aware of sales opportunities and direct their attention to a particular product that fulfills the wishes, interests, and needs of community members.

Well, considering all of the above, we can conclude that the future of social commerce lies in the symbiosis of social networks, social commerce, and online brand communities.

It’s Time to Get Prepared for Social Commerce Domination

Social commerce is undoubtedly something that is both the present and the future of online sales. However, like everything in digital, social commerce is also evolving at a high rate of speed, and we can conclude that shortly, it will develop into online communities where people will discuss their interests but also buy.

So, what brands should do to be prepared for changes in online shopping?

Keeping online communities active is a crucial thing, and this is likely to be the biggest challenge for brands. To keep online communities active, brands will need to:

  • First and foremost, manage their community.
  1. Their posts, language, and social media persona must reflect the brand values. 
  2. Moreover, the community should be encouraged to contribute and participate in discussions on relevant topics for the brand. 
  • Brands must have excellent content marketing that will engage their customers to extract business value from their online communities. Engaged members of online communities create a loyal customer base and are a valuable source of insights-based data.

Building a loyal online brand community is a long-term process that must be incorporated into a long-term online brand strategy. By creating their online brand community, brands can actually create a platform for their ideal and current customers, which will have a significant, valuable connection to the brand business itself.

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