6 Social Commerce Facts You Need to Know

03/30/2017 03:29 pm ET Updated Jun 09, 2017
Riotly Social Media

Although seventy-five percent of consumers are familiar with social commerce buy buttons, only ten percent of consumers have used this feature to make a purchase.

In an effort to explain this gap, SUMO Heavy Industries surveyed over one thousand U.S. consumers in September 2016.

The survey produced a lot of interesting data for marketers and business owners who sell online.

Here are the six biggest social commerce takeaways from the survey supplemented by the Instagram social commerce experts at Riotly Social Media.

1. Facebook is the 800-Pound Gorilla

With a usage rate of just under ninety percent, survey respondents were nearly three times more likely to use Facebook than any other social network.

Riotly Social Media

Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, tied with Pinterest as the second most used platform.

Twitter came in last place and was only used by one out of every four respondents.

2. Organic Content is More Influential Than Paid

Although social networks depend on ads and sponsored posts for revenue, consumers aren't responding to them as strongly as businesses would like.

Only sixteen percent of the individuals surveyed said these types of posts influenced them.

In comparison, over half of the respondents were influenced by organic content like product reviews or posts made by friends about businesses.

And the latest trends are social media platforms integrating buy-ability, or shoppable content, directly from within their platforms for purchases.

Roland Frasier

See how shoppable content in action in the video below:

3. Security is the Biggest Hurdle for Social Commerce

Concerns related to security were the most common reason people gave for not engaging in social commerce.

More specifically, people worried about submitting their financial information through a channel they viewed as insecure.

Riotly Social Media

The current state of social commerce features also made many individuals question whether or not they could make an actual purchase on a platform like Facebook.

4. Social Media Users Are Worried About Privacy

Privacy is the other significant social commerce hang-up identified from the survey data.

Idea Plotting

Respondents expressed concerns about what social platforms would do with any personal or shopping data collected during a transaction.

5. The Jury is Still Out on Chatbots

Chatbots were a very popular topic in business and technology media publications in 2016 and there has been no slow down on the popularity of chatbots throughout the first quarter of 2017.

However, that enthusiasm has yet to translate to real-world behavior in the United States.

Less than ten percent of respondents to the survey had tried shopping through a chatbot.

And more than half of the responses indicated people currently had no interest in even trying out this type of social technology.

The most recent chat data tells a compelling story of a chat based future as you can see from the email vs messenger slide screenshot below.

Roland Frasier

6. Women Are Most Likely to Be Social Commerce Buyers

The consumers surveyed by SUMO Heavy Industries were split almost evenly between men and women.

Data from the survey indicated that women were significantly more likely to have engaged in social commerce than men.

There were also more women who considered themselves impulse online shoppers than men.

Ho Yin Cheung the founder of Riotly Social Media— an Instagram agency that helps businesses leverage the platform for revenue growth has experienced the same patterns with his clients:

“In our experience, working with dozens of startups and ecommerce sellers, it is women who are the overwhelming majority of buyers on social media platforms.”
Unraveled Focus

Although Facebook has far more active users than Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter, sponsored posts still aren't as valuable to businesses as organic content.

The survey data also shows that platforms must address security and privacy concerns before social commerce can expand.

And while women are more likely to purchase through a social commerce buy button than men, neither group of consumers currently has much of an interest in shopping through chatbots.

Social Commerce Trends of 2017 [Riotly Social Media Video]

Mr. Cheung confirms many of Sumo Heavy Industries survey insights and highlights even more of the social commerce trends astute social media operators can take advantage of to reach new customers as social media platforms create more opportunities to sell to their audiences in the above video.

The Future is Now

There appears to be no slow down in the growth of social platforms and their potential to grow business.

The technologies and implementation of how to integrate sales onto the social networking scene in an unobtrusive way continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

Keeping up with the shifts can be tiresome for some and the road to riches for others.

When you are ready to carve out your piece of the pie, keep your eyes focused on the latest updates from your platform of choice and take advantage of the new markets opening up on platforms overflowing with your target market.

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