Social commerce: the new face of marketplaces?

RetailX data shows that already some 17% of online purchases made globally are done so through social media apps and, as the likes of TikTok join old-timers Facebook and Instagram in offering shops on their sites. The growth of social commerce is set to continue  – a topic which will be discussed at ChannelX World on 11 October 2023.

The world’s 4.9 billion social media users have long used these sites to find out about – and share their own experiences of – goods, services, merchants and products. Increasingly, these social sites have adapted their ability to act as marketing channels for brands and retailers to allow these companies to sell their wares through their posts on these platforms.

But that doesn’t necessarily make them marketplaces in the conventional sense. In most cases, social media platforms that offer goods for sale through merchant, brand or retailer posts redirect the user to that retailer or brands ecommerce website. They may even redirect to their presence on a marketplace such as Amazon or Alibaba. 

However, even this process is starting to become a key way to sell, with social sites offering discovery, conversion, review and amplification for brands that choose the advertise on them. The fact that fulfilment then takes place either on the brands site or another ‘actual’ marketplace is not really the point; the point is that social media sites offer much of the process of bringing the buyer and seller together in one place and facilitating the purchase. 

So, increasingy social sites are probably going to be considered some form of marketplace going forward. It certainly is the view of Elon Musk who wants to turn the newly rebranded Twitter – X – into a ‘super app’ that will bring together all these functions, much as China’s hugely successful WeChat has done already.

This feature appears in the ChannelX European Marketplaces 2023 report which will be launched at ChannelX World. The Power of TikTok will also be discussed, with Fred Fishlock FMCG Lead at TikTok giving a keynote address. 

See the full programme, and register now, here.

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