A recent report shows that approximately 86% of consumers view product reviews as an essential aspect when researching and selecting products to buy. And, social media is a very strong platform for sharing such information – bringing marketeers the arena of social proofing.

Throughout 2020, the digital world evolved even faster than anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. An almost overnight change in consumer behavior and expectations accelerated the online retail arena, and it’s often said that as a result, the e-commerce world has accelerated five years of growth in just five months.

In many instances across the globe, retailers have had to close their physical locations and/or scale back. 

As a result, they’ve prioritised cash preservation and overhead costs, demanding automation and digitalisation even more to meet the rapidly changing landscape.

In eCommerce land the jargon for getting customers to convert to the sale is described as 'going through the funnel' and in B2B they describe the same thing as a 'pipeline'.

I don't know about you but both of these cold and over used outdated terms have a tendency to annoy me, mainly because I don't know of any customer or prospect who ever considered themselves in those cold transactional terms - including me!.

As the saying goes 'we're all a customer of someone else's business' but using jargon like 'pipeline' and 'funnel' has a tendency to make us forget the human component and so ends up constantly leaning into the transaction which adds further distance between the brand and customer relationship.

So much so that both the B2C and B2B industry have become used to continually sleepwalking into the effort and investment to drive 'traffic' towards the 'pipeline' and into the website 'funnel'.....but no more!

As we know this crisis has driven even more people to interact online with those brands than can best serve them whilst in lockdown. 

In addition the use of social media has dramatically increased and has empowered sat at home commercially and socially savvy people on paid furlough start to build out micro businesses that one day might become macro global brands - who knew?

For nearly as long as humans have existed, so has a form of retail. 

Granted, it’s evolved, but history shows people have always been taking part in social commerce: sharing, bartering, selling, and consuming resources.

I write about the rise of 'Social Commerce' quite a lot, in fact the majority of innovation in this space isn't coming from Facebook or Instagram it's coming out of China and for those with a commercially digital savvy brain I strongly recommend you keep an eye on this space, but simply watching and not doing is another matter.

As you might have guessed, social commerce grew tremendously in 2020: “Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Social Commerce estimated at US$89.4 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$604.5 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 31.4% over the analysis period 2020-2027.”

'Social Commerce' is the near future direction of travel for enabling a powerhouse of commercial opportunities allowing you to remain front of mind in a world where your website is quickly becoming  the last place your consumer will go.

Do you remember when using a mobile phone was just for making calls or sending that quick text message, well making calls is now hovering around number 10 on the things you use it for.

What is social commerce?

Social commerce is the use of a social network community to drive e-commerce sales, and it’s a massive market: By 2027, it’s projected that social commerce will drive $604 billion in sales. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have both dedicated “buy now” indicators on ads, as well as live streams run by influencers that are resulting in e-commerce goods being sold out on the regular.

Without a doubt consumers have a voracious appetite when it comes to consuming all kinds of content, logically most of this consumption is occurring via mobile devices.

In Internet culture, the 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk.

The rise in engaging content is being driven by users on social platforms like 'TikTok' and of course YouTube and Instagram, but simply re-purposing your corporate message that was originally designed for another medium won't cut it when audiences are looking for original, engaging and authentic content.

Today brands need to become media companies in their own right if they are to cut through the huge swathes of content being created every single minute of  the day.