The Future of Commerce is…Social!

There has never been a better time for brands to begin selling on social media. By 2025, social commerce sales are expected to nearly double 2023 sales, exceeding $107B in the US alone(2). New advancements in technology fuel today’s social commerce, including everything from Virtual Shopping Groups, Augmented Reality to Shoppable tabs and Shoppable Buttons. But ultimately, the future won’t be driven by technology alone… it will also be driven by consumer needs and behaviors. 
To that end, Snapchat partnered with IPG MAGNA to uncover what the future of social commerce entails.  Research was carried out among ~8000 consumers across generations in 4 markets (USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, and Germany), using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The findings revealed 5 emerging social commerce trends brands need to know in order to reach today’s shopper. 
Trend #1:
Social media = the top mode for product discovery
Social media platforms are already the most popular source for product discovery, exceeding online marketplaces, search engines, online video sites, company emails, and blogs. Gen Z leads the way, with 72% of Gen Z stating they use social media for product discovery followed by Millenials (69%) and Gen X (58%)! 
Advertiser Tip: Invest in social shopping features like Discover tabs, Shopping tabs, Shoppable Buttons, Augmented Reality, Virtual Shopping Groups, and Integrative AR to simplify product discovery for your consumers.
Trend #2:
Influence starts within one’s own social network
While influencers serve as a resource, nothing beats the people you know in real life in a consumer’s purchase journey. Compared to influencers/celebrities, friends and family on social media are the core drivers of product inspiration, recommendations, and most importantly, final purchase decisions. Consumers want to feel informed and confident in their purchase, and they rely on the opinions of close friends and family.
Advertiser Tip: Consider exploring tools that enable conversations with friends/family on social media platforms, such as virtual shopping parties and direct chats where friends/family can share purchases with each other.
Trend #3:
Social media has the power to collapse the purchase journey
Consumers agree that the social shopping journey is quicker, more convenient, and seamless, whether that’s a friend’s recommendation, friend’s post, influencer’s post, or sponsored post, while the traditional shopping journey is more complicated. Openness to making the purchase on social media platforms is universal, even more so among younger people and Snapchatters. 
Advertiser Tip: Enable consumers to discover the brand more organically on social, using Public profiles on Snapchat. 
Trend #4:
Social commerce will provide a direct path for DTC brands
Brands have the power to drive direct-to-consumer using social platforms like Snapchat. Nearly all consumers (92%) said they would be willing to purchase directly from brands on social media platforms instead of an online marketplace, especially if offered good deals and discounts. 
Advertiser Tip: Outside of discounts, brands should invest in paid media on social media to drive DTC traffic and invest in user-friendly apps and real-time customer service improvements to retain DTC consumers. 
Trend #5:
Augmented Reality (AR) will be a linchpin in purchase decisions
Augmented Reality (AR) will bring the benefits of in-store shopping online - 2 out of 3 consumers said they would be even less likely to shop in-store if they got to virtually experience the product before purchasing it. This was especially true among regular Snapchatters. AR ultimately instills confidence in purchase decisions, which can help drive brand profitability with fewer returns. 
Advertiser Tip: Brands across verticals can leverage AR to drive try-ons and ultimately fuel excitement to purchase items online as they would have offline.
In conclusion
The future of commerce is… social! Brands should experiment with existing and emerging social commerce tech like discovery tabs and virtual shopping groups to enhance consumer experience. People are already shopping on social media, and the research shows that they will continue to do so. When it comes to the final purchase decision, consumers trust their own social network over influencer and celebrities. Hence, advertisers should invest in tools that connect friends and family on social media during the shopping process. Finally, brands can leverage AR to drive confidence in purchase decisions through virtual try-ons. Consumers are excited about AR and believe it has the potential to bring the excitement of in-store shopping to online.
To learn more about commerce success stories on Snapchat, check out this link.
1 Source: 2022 Future of Commerce study commissioned by Snap Inc and IPG MAGNA, Dec 2022 - Jan 2023, Total N = 8000, N = 2000 per Market, Gen Z N = 1166, Millennials N = 3,876, Gen X N =1094; US, UK, DE, KSA
2 eMarketer, July 2022