In a world where social media is king, it is only appropriate that business and social platforms align. Social apps such as Instagram and Facebook are go-to places for trends and sharing, but in order to communicate these trends to their audience, they have to adapt and stay ahead of the game first. Online shopping has been around for a while now, but the way in which consumers peruse and purchase have drastically changed. How has social media culture changed the way e-commerce interacts with consumers?
The original goal of social platforms and the concept that social media was technically derived from is showcasing your personality through a profile and sharing that with others. This idea cooperates with marketing strategies very well. Consumers like to know the business they are shopping from, especially when that business’s brand has a desirable identity and following. Bingeing culture on social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube can be directly related to influencer culture. The personality and “brand” that a person or influencer creates for themselves on social media has a certain level of intrigue that often times inspires a large following. This is where e-commerce comes in.
Influencers and businesses often collaborate and align to create campaigns specifically for social media, but businesses now have their own place on social media apps. Many businesses create profiles with a life of their own in order to connect directly with an audience, this is seen a lot in small and local businesses such as restaurants and boutiques. While the use of stories, posts, giveaways, etc. have been immensely influential in spreading the word about businesses and their products and services, certain apps are taking the demand for e-commerce one step further.
Instagram and Facebook are great examples of this through the remodeling of the apps’ interface to incorporate direct e-commerce accessibility. It is obvious that Facebook’s ownership of Instagram has caused these changes, but both apps have taken a unique approach that is based on the individual styles of the app. In 2018 Instagram added a shopping feature to its explore page enabling businesses to have a direct link to products added right onto posts. This capability has cut-out the middle channel of exiting the app to go and search for that cute top or bathing suit you saw your favorite influencer wearing in her post from vacation. This also allows for better and easier collaborating for influencers as their posts can have a more direct result for their affiliated brands. In one of the more recent updates of the app, Instagram made their e-commerce platform even more prominent by completely shifting the layout of tabs. The “shop” tab is now in-between the profile and posting tabs; this replaced the activity tab entirely which is a major section for users on the app. Facebook also has a “Facebook Shop” feature for businesses to list their products and advertisements, but also has the entire platform of Facebook Marketplace for consumers to buy and sell independently as well. This has grown a lot within the early stages of the platform being more e-commerce-centered as it allows users to connect to local people and list or buy almost anything.
The demand for e-commerce continues to grow and will be utilized by consumers in various ways. As the need for online business continues to be shaped by consumers, it is almost more so dependent on the platforms conducting it. With social media constantly changing and binge culture continuing to grow, the major platforms can cultivate the e-commerce demand and translate that through their platforms in a way that can be even more easily consumed by users.
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