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05 Dec 2019

There was a time when businesses just need a well-designed website, a seamless checkout experience and a solid grasp of SEO. It matched the way people shopped and bought; job done.

But that was then. These days, customers spend significant portions of their time on social networks and the buying experience has changed. Instead of being a process driven by the desire to find something, we now have a process centred on customers finding products within an experience they create for themselves – aka social commerce.

PayPal’s fourth annual Commerce Index, which surveys the latest trends in global mobile commerce, reveals why every business needs to be selling on social. Focusing on the supply and demand of social commerce between small businesses and consumers, the data makes a very strong case in favour of social selling.

If you’re not yet convinced, here are three reasons that might change your mind.

1. You don’t want to get left behind

According to PayPal’s research, the number of UK businesses selling on social media is expected to double by mid-2020. British consumers will be able to shop on the social media channels of an additional 600,000 UK businesses in the next six months. (This is in addition to the 24% of British businesses already selling on these platforms). Any business not selling on social risks being left behind.

2. You need to be where your customers are shopping

8.4 million British consumers are currently shopping via social media. Your customers are already there – and are waiting for you to place products in their experience.

3. Consumers are regularly shopping on social

One-fifth of those already buying via social are doing so on a weekly basis, spending an average of £71 a month. That’s potential business you’re losing out on by not being there. If anyone was in doubt about the rising popularity of social shopping, this is confirmation the trend is here to stay.

However, the findings also revealed a number of challenges. For example, in matters of social commerce, the UK lags behind other countries around the world – the global average of businesses selling via social platforms is 35% (compared to 24% in the UK).

The data also found that UK consumers are concerned about the security risks of linking financial information with social media accounts. While 64% of those surveyed expressed concern over the security of mobile commerce, that figure drops to 58% in the US and just 28% in Japan.

Speaking about this, Nicola Longfield, senior director of small and medium businesses, PayPal UK said: “As Brits continue to lead increasingly busy lives relying on their smartphones more than ever to help them make the most of their time, it’s important that businesses are in a position to cater for this.

“Our data reveals a substantial rise in the number of businesses that plan to sell through social media over the coming six months, capturing a consumer’s attention in the very place they go to for inspiration.”

Unsurprisingly, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat came out on top as the preferred social commerce channels.

Facebook formally entered the online marketplace sector in 2016, launching a service dedicated to people buying and selling in their local communities. In November this year, the company followed up with Facebook Pay, a service designed to facilitate payments to friends, businesses or charities.

Over 130 million Instagram users click on shopping posts to find out more about products every month.

And TikTok, the short-form video app, has also announced its plans to dip a toe into the world of social commerce.

Tap into social selling talent

Does your business have the marketing talent in house to get you selling on social? If not, Stopgap can help. We can help you find the talent you need to take social commerce in your stride. Brief us on your requirements today. 

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