Social Commerce – China Leading the Way
A lot of buzz has been going around about the rise of social commerce. It is the new marketplace for digital consumers. Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have begun rolling out ‘Shop Now’ buttons. You can now transact directly through social media sites. Combining monetary transactions with social transactions (likes, comments, reviews, videos, etc.) brings a whole new dimension to online shopping.
While global traction on ‘Shop Now’ buttons has been slow, China is making leaps in the progression of social commerce. An example of this is the multi-functional social messaging app, WeChat. The brainchild of Tencent harnessed the ‘Shop Now’ button way before Facebook and Twitter. They are even allowing users to transfer money to one another for the purchase of each other’s goods and services. Essentially, you will not even need to register a business to begin making money through WeChat.
WeChat hasn’t been the only ones able to get a good grasp on the social commerce agenda. Its users have also brought social commerce to the next level thanks to live streaming. This new social function is now taking the world by storm. Snap’s IPO and the success of Instagram Live are proof that live streaming is the go-to medium for social media.
Chinese influencers are reviewing and selling on behalf of businesses through WeChat’s payment functions. Having the same function as TV shopping channels, these live streaming channels allow consumers to see the product being reviewed live and make purchases directly off their social messaging app. Browse through live streaming channels on WeChat and you will see that the bulk of them are dedicated to the sale and procurement of goods and services.
BIG BRANDS & BIG INVESTORS JOINING THE FRAY
Social media has become such a big part of China’s e-commerce industry that big companies are jumping on the money-making opportunities. Givenchy recently partnered with Chinese influencer, Mr. Bags, for a flash sale that was responsible for US$174,000 worth of sales in just 12 minutes. Investment firms, Zhen Fund, Lighthouse Capital, and Xingtu Capital have invested a sum of US$1.9 million in, not a business, but a social media personality, Papi Jiang, who sells products through her video skits that last no longer than 3-minutes.
Online marketplaces have evolved into short social videos where only select products are being sold. As a result of this, China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, Taobao and JD have created their own live streaming video channels to sell their products. Furthermore, Taobao has begun incentive programs for influencers who sell their products.
Because of this, the way we purchase goods and services is changing rapidly. Compared to the developments we see happening in China, the rest of the world is lagging behind. When it comes to social commerce in China, it appears that live streaming has emerged as the ideal medium. If Snap Inc is able to mirror China’s success, perhaps we could see a shift in their declining share prices. In addition to this, we could also witness a global adoption of social commerce through live streaming.
Online shopping and e-commerce have been regarded as oversaturated markets over the past few years. Now, thanks to innovations in social media, digital commerce has reignited the buzz of excitement. We will definitely be keeping our eye on the latest developments in this arena to spot the next big player in the field of social commerce.
#china #social commerce #wechat