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Over the last decade, the burgeoning creator economy — which centers on individuals creating and monetizing digital content — has supercharged the growth of social commerce.
The evolution of social media platforms making high-production value content, particularly video, more accessible has caused a boom in viewership. More consumers using social platforms as their primary source of entertainment has empowered more new content creators to start successful online businesses.
The growing influence of social media over daily life combined with the power of the creator economy set consumers, traditional retail and ecommerce on a course that demands the best of all worlds. While brick-and-mortar commerce offers in-person product advice and recommendations, it is inconvenient and time-consuming. Ecommerce then made shopping highly efficient, but misses the human element of getting trusted advice.
Social commerce combines the convenience of ecommerce with genuine personal recommendations.
As social media helped consumers discover new products, digital creators and influencers naturally started playing an even bigger role in their followers’ purchasing decisions. Creators have made it even easier for consumers to shop by integrating recommended products’ shoppable links into their content.
Social commerce tools and dedicated platforms have emerged to streamline the selling experience. For instance, Instagram and Shopify integrate social commerce features into existing social platforms; whereas MyyShop’s comprehensive ecommerce solutions include customizable online storefronts and fulfillment logistics.
Social commerce has been around in various forms for nearly a decade, but it’s started growing at breakneck speed in the past few years. The global social commerce market breached $700 billion in 2022 and is estimated to surge to $6.2 trillion by 2030.
Related: 5 Steps to Level Up Your Social-Commerce Strategy
What’s driving the growth of social commerce?
As online marketplaces became more commonplace in the last decade, global ecommerce grew from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $5.2 trillion in 2021. A major component of that came from social commerce – driven by an explosion in new social media formats from Snapchat to TikTok, and events like the global pandemic and the coming of age of the “digital native” Gen Z. Together, these factors have fundamentally changed the way we engage with social media content and shop online.
Digital creators form a strong bond with their audiences and often cultivate a close community among their fans, particularly when they are within the same age group. Previously, online shopping was a one-way relationship where a brand spoke to a customer with little feedback – now, social commerce allows consumers to discover products individually tailored to their interests quickly.
This is especially true of Gen Z, who have found new ways to make connections worldwide through social networking, massive online followings, viral content and interactive live streams. Social commerce harnesses all these same trends as content creation, providing consumers with the convenience of online retail and inspiration from creators and a community. This cultural shift has made shoppers more impulsive and experimental and more open to product and lifestyle trends that subtly influence their buying decisions.
For content creators, social commerce fits into the global trend of more flexible working conditions and the growth of the creator economy. Much like their social media accounts, their social commerce business can be managed from anywhere at any time.
Social commerce platforms can equip creators with the tools to promote products through content and bring a complete online retail experience to their social media pages. This makes setting up their own online storefronts even easier and removes friction for consumers.
Related: This Viral Content Creator Shares His Secrets to Amassing 4.8 Million Followers Organically — And How You Can Do It Too.
Social commerce done right
To succeed in today’s ecommerce landscape, brands and entrepreneurs need to work with digital creators or become creators themselves. And with millions of creators already on the social commerce bandwagon, those who stand out must bring something unique to the online shopping experience.
Bretman Rock, a Filipino-American video creator with more than 41 million followers across social platforms, rose to fame with his makeup videos, comedy skits and lifestyle vlogs. He leveraged his authenticity, humor and quirkiness into social media product recommendations for brands like ColourPop and Nike.
US influencer Emma Chamberlain, on the other hand, is known for her relatable and unfiltered videos on YouTube, with over 12 million subscribers. While running her own coffee lifestyle company, Chamberlain Coffee, she also promotes brands like Louis Vuitton and effectively revived the scrunchie by teasing her fans online.
Successful social commerce entrepreneurs have some similar practices that make their businesses work. They create engaging and authentic content and never hold back on honest product commentary — ultimately building a more trusting and loyal fan base that they can transfer to their social commerce business.
The rapid rise of algorithm-based content recommendations on social media has made it much easier for consumers to discover hyper-niche trends and products that were previously hard to find.
This trend provides new opportunities for content creators to market highly customized products that meet the specific needs of niche audiences. Compared to traditional ecommerce, niche communities driven by high-quality content have a distinct advantage in offering better information for consumers in a high-trust environment.
Hyper-niche content and communities also enable smaller creators to start online businesses. Micro and even nano influencers can effectively sell products by identifying unique hyper-niche interests and products. With the increasing availability of social commerce services, there is an unlocked opportunity for creators of all sizes to build a sustainable online business.
Retail’s growth engine
Early ecommerce players stood out in the crowded market thanks to their convenience, expansive product catalog and customer service. All of those have now been democratized, allowing any brand to offer similar experiences through any platform.
Brands need fresh ways to engage with contemporary consumers; social commerce fits in perfectly as social feeds and shopping are increasingly ingrained in our online habits. With social commerce poised for even further growth, now is the time for creators and brands to consider participating in this emerging form of retail, tapping into authentic content and social engagement to differentiate the shopping experience.