It is not so long ago we graduated from traditional bricks and mortars shopping to the brave new world of e-commerce. Many, myself included, thought it would never catch on. Clearly, I am more than happy to admit, I was very wrong. Over the years, a growing majority of my shopping has been done online and in the last few years I have proudly graduated from e-commerce to m-commerce, purchasing goods on the go from various mobile devices. Placing orders is just a few taps or swipes away and now sometimes even only a fingerprint scan away.
So, what next? Which letter of the alphabet to pin in front of our much loved “commerce”? The lucky winner is “s”. We are moving into the world of s-commerce: social commerce. For retailers it is no longer just about through which channels their customers can reach them, but increasingly it is about how they can engage with them in a meaningful way and, with that, has come the merger of social media and e-commerce. Many social networking platforms already play key roles in promoting brands and developing customer engagement with their lifestyle propositions, why not merge everything together and integrate the shopping experience? For a while there has been talk of social networks introducing “shop now” or equivalent buttons. It is only a matter of time before Pinterest rolls out “Buyable Pins” and full shopping functionality on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook cannot be far behind.
Such is the anticipated value of s-commerce that traditional multi-channel players are now introducing social network elements to their platforms, integrating lifestyle and social engagement to their more traditional retailing models. Most notably, we have recently been asked to join “The Net Set”, the app powered by Net-A-Porter and hailed to be “the social shopping network we have all been waiting for”. Now, at our fingertips, we have a one-stop-shop to buy Net-A-Porter’s carefully selected fashion offering whilst engaging with its likeminded and equally sartorially obsessed community that happily shares its styling tips and trend recommendations.
Fashionista is about to become even more fashionable…