On current valuations, the latest introduction of Facebook Shops isn’t really that groundbreaking. The social media giant toyed with shopping as far back as 2007 with no fanfare or spectacular success. This varied from private markets to the initial iteration of Facebook stores (2009), transactions via Messenger (2015) and a more open marketplace product to start competing with Amazon, Google and Etsy in 2018.
The importance of Instagram in the Facebook portfolio makes this latest announcement more serious than past attempts. For the very first time, Facebook is building up the Social Commerce segment, not only introducing an e-commerce element to their social media network.
The predicted effect is crucial
Estimates set sales upside at $30B through processing fees, increased ads, and stronger relationships with customers. Timing is accurate. Rising internet shopping statistics and the expanded situation of the pandemic would have intensified internal plans. Further gains are extracted by supporting a vast number of small business clients at a crucial moment and expanding sales streams beyond advertising.
Of course, Facebook is also expecting that their investment would draw sales and market share from Amazon and Google. But Social Commerce is a far better experience than conventional e-commerce. Social Commerce is building a modern online retail experience that Facebook would own, and others will fail to challenge. And that’s where the Instagram app offers Facebook with exclusive advantages and serves as a core component of growth.
Instagram is now important to the experience of e-commerce
Instagram is running advertisements for any direct-to-consumer company. That platform is so popular that all companies want to run ads on it. Ad-experience is simple and observable to the very last cent. Instagram advertisements are direct-response like virtually all digital ads, but the strength of the app lies in ad content that is extremely interactive and aspirational, activating users’ passive impulses before practical needs emerge.
Instagram recognizes that I’m on the lookout for those new leather shoes. It initially recognizes it from my user profile and the different photos and labels I’ve been browsing. To this data set, my age is applied and the notion of style is formulated through my circle of contacts. For the next 2 weeks, it will bring me beautiful advertisements showcasing the new leather shoes from major stores to independent local shops and up-and – coming DTCs. My choice to buy is slower but more motivated.
Try comparing it with Google Shopping or Google AdWords, which are designed to satisfy my urgent needs. The search results and the shopping list are useful. The results are effective, but less motivating, unless I am unique to my brand name or product. Amazon is identical, with platform results tailored for relevance, speed, or rating. Boring product lists never lead directly to enthusiasm. I might still be purchasing my leather shoes from these outlets, although it is possible that the purchase inspiration comes from other channels.
Social Commerce Owns the Entire Buyer Experience
Brands create accounts on Instagram to promote their brands to customers and increase awareness well before they are needed. The Instagram customer joins the platform with several exploration routes. Their journey continues with the people they meet, and is extended to friends of friends, their beloved restaurants, research about their next summer holidays, or influencers who highlight their new purchases. Brands appear in this browsing experience, and if visual stimulation is effective, purchasing experience often finishes on Amazon, or even in-store, days and weeks later.
Instagram is commonly recognized as a vital part of e-commerce and even brick-and – mortar shopping. It’s a strong marketplace that supersedes any mall, shopping center, or fashion magazine. The willingness of a user to buy natively from Instagram dramatically shortens the purchaser’s path, allowing companies to quickly locate, inspire and turn a window shopper to a client. Any store in the world needs to make the best of this.
Performance in Social Commerce Needs New Thought
Although retailers large and small will hurry to establish their Facebook and Instagram stores, the opportunity needs more than just copying current online stores. Products would need to be shown in the Instagram format, which involves images and videos that people can connect to, not simply objects taken on a white background. Stores will also be expected to spend more in ads as organic discovery competition intensifies.
Companies that can master live shopping would benefit from this. Live shopping in China is expected to be worth $63B yearly and accounts for almost 9 per cent of its overall e-commerce revenue through purpose-built activities such as Alibaba’s Singles Day. Regionally, companies like Nike and Adidas have been popular with live streaming special edition shoe launches on various media networks. Instagram’s live shopping discovery should be smooth considering the proven success of Instagram Live and Stories features. These emerging medium-sized companies will be able to take advantage of the unprecedented advantages of interaction, speed and deeper relationships with customers.
Instagram Shops also will attract micro-enterprises and craft shops. The current atmosphere is believed to result in far more home enterprises and side hustle bustle. Although Etsy currently owns the craft market, Instagram is quite well adapted to the medium. The ease of shop setting up is likely to make the smallest of companies completely skip stand-alone e-commerce shops through Shopify.
Facebook’s extension to Shops is much broader and more significant to the sector than just extending e-commerce to their network. Instagram’s trying to make it Social Commerce. It introduces new immersive distribution outlets that can turn passive consumers into paid customers long before other channels have a chance to do so. Social Commerce is a real breakthrough for online retailers.