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Double Tap: How Social Media Has Changed E-Commerce

As people are shopping online more than ever, what impact does social media e-commerce have on retail as a whole?

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems that everyone is using social media more than usual. We’re using it to connect with friends and family, share important news or safety guidelines and find something to laugh at during this difficult time. 

COVID-19 has also caused an increase in shopping via ecommerce. Online shopping is nothing new, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ecommerce has all but replaced brick-and-mortar retail. 

According to Forbes, there has been a 129 percent year-over-year growth in U.S. and Canadian e-commerce orders as of April 21, and a 146 percent growth in all online retail orders. The same analysis concludes that online year-over-year revenue growth is up 68 percent as of mid-April.

Growth can be credited to the more than 306 million Americans affected by the stay-at-home orders in the U.S., equating to nearly 95 percent of the population. The stay-at-home guidelines and store closures have brought consumers to the internet and social media shopping to get their fix.

Within the last few years, social media platforms have started offering ad services that allow consumers to shop for an item they see on social media with one click. According to Statista, there were an estimated 3.46 billion active mobile social media users worldwide as of July 2019. 

COVID-19 has only increased those numbers. A study from Kantar showed a 61 percent increase in social media engagement. Messaging across Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are up to 50 percent in countries where the virus has had the most substantial impact. Twitter’s number of daily users has increased 23 percent from last year.

In short, billions of people log into social media now more than ever. But how has social media changed e-commerce, and how can businesses leverage social platforms moving forward?

North American e-commerce agency Absolunet concluded that social media had an immense impact on how – and what – people buy. According to the agency, 87 percent of e-commerce shoppers believe social media helps them make a shopping decision. Another 30 percent of consumers also say they would make purchases directly through social media platforms.

These statistics reflect in sales. Buffer’s State of Social Report for 2019 states that 73 percent of marketers have found social media marketing is at least somewhat useful. Nearly 59 percent of those marketers deemed social media marketing as very important to their overall marketing strategy.  

With increased social media usage and more e-commerce spending, along with the already proven record of social media marketing’s effectiveness, those who want consumers to buy their products during the pandemic should direct their resources to hook customers in innovative ways. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more are ways to reach both a modern and a quarantined consumer.

Social media has changed e-commerce and has given many businesses a much-needed boost. Now, with the current world crisis, it’s guaranteed to change the retail landscape further. Social media marketing’s effectiveness was proven far before COVID-19. With the pandemic separating consumers from physical shopping, businesses that want to stay afloat should be utilizing this strategy now more than ever. 

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