The rise of social media shopping

September 10, 2018

What to know after an MBA in marketing

Three women having fun surfing on their smartphones
Social media usage is still expected to rise.

Did you check your social media notifications when you first woke up this morning? Did you glance at Twitter while at the breakfast table, or browse Instagram during your lunch break? If so, you’re certainly not in the minority. 2017 figures show that 71 percent of internet users are active on social media, and that figure is expected to rise further. It’s an ultra-powerful global community, and the business world is always looking for new ways to maximize its potential.

Companies have long since recognized the value of advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and others, but the direct sale of items to social media users is a relatively new phenomenon. Social media shopping allows users to purchase clothes, food and much more without having to be redirected to another website, providing a convenient and engaging online marketplace. Here’s a closer look at the opportunities and considerations to be aware of in this growing area.

Social media shopping success stories so far

Facebook continues to dominate the social media landscape. 83% of female internet users and 75% of male users are on the iconic site, and they have also developed one of the most popular social media shopping platforms. Facebook Marketplace allows users to upload details of items they wish to sell, while prospective buyers can quickly find what’s available in the local area and purchase it.

Instagram has also launched Shoppable Posts this year, which is more geared towards established businesses. The site’s image-based content allows users to check out the latest celebrity fashion and trendy products, with Shoppable Posts making it much easier to find and purchase items they like the look of. Pinterest’s Buyable Pins are another alternative which has proven very successful for certain businesses.

Picture of an online shopping basket
Social media makes online shopping even more convenient.

Choosing the right social media shopping platform after business executives university

Each social media platform has a different selling point. Instagram is more playful, Pinterest is somewhat more brand-friendly, and Facebook has the widest audience. The user demographics are slightly different on each website, and some will be more suited to specific businesses than others. Professionals with an MBA in marketing need to analyze where their potential customers are before deciding on which platform is best for them.

Forrester Research has found that Facebook is popular across all age demographics, but these users don’t necessarily have the most disposable income. On the other hand, decision-makers and influencers are more likely to use Instagram. Meanwhile, while far less popular than the other two sites, Pinterest can be a great place to find motivated buyers, as the site’s own research has revealed that 93% of its users specifically visit the site to plan for purchases.

Picture of a smartphone with different social media icons
Do your research on which social media audiences to target.

Why this trend is likely to gather greater momentum

Eight out of every 10 Americans shop online, reflecting a global trend that can’t be ignored by students in business courses. People love the efficiency and convenience of ordering items online, and they can generally access a wider selection of goods than visiting the equivalent shop on the high street. Social media shopping adds an extra layer of convenience by allowing people to buy items while also browsing their favorite websites.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity for businesses to interact with customers. Social media prides itself on instant interactions, and businesses can quickly use these websites to resolve problems. If a customer inquires about a delivery delay or complains they received the incorrect item, they could quickly get in touch with the company through social media. The best businesses adapt to these new norms, and recognize the opportunity to boost customer satisfaction.

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Visit WU Executive Academy for more details about our MBA program.

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