In last week’s blog, we introduced social commerce and we went over the five different categories it falls under. Now that you understand what social commerce is, you’re probably wondering if you should venture into this new world. That’s what we’ll be discussing this week. Many merchants are hesitant to jump on the social commerce bandwagon because they wonder if it’s worth the risk. In many ways, it is facing the same issues that e-commerce did 20 years ago. Keep reading to learn about the issues that are currently plaguing social commerce, and why you might want to wait before you hop on board.
Social Commerce Issues
The fact that social commerce can be so broadly defined is part of what makes it so confusing for new users. And merchants who are already having success with e-commerce choose to stick with what they’re familiar with. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But technology is always changing. We’re always trying to improve it. Which is why even though e-commerce is well-established, users want to see that taken to another level. But before that can happen, there are a few wrinkles that need to be iron out.
The first problem with social commerce is the fact that it is relatively inaccessible. Compared to Ebay and Amazon, your average social commerce platform is much harder to use and access than these an e-commerce platform. Visit Facebook Marketplace and you’ll quickly understand why. Finding Facebook Marketplace through Facebook is a maze in and of itself. There is a steep learning curve due to unfamiliar platforms, apps, and or/or communities which are bad for sellers. This is why many sellers stick to traditional e-commerce platforms.
Unprofessional and Untrustworthy
Social commerce is also viewed as being much more unprofessional and untrustworthy than e-commerce. People also have issues with the level of privacy or lack thereof with social commerce. But this is understandable. It took people a long time to trust e-commerce. And the road to trust for social commerce looks just as long. Person-to-person (P2P) transactions are dicey, no matter how you slice it. There are fewer regulations in place about privacy and security, than there are on established platforms so it’s understandable that people are nervous.
Smaller Selection and Even Smaller Audience
Finally, there is also a much smaller selection on your typical social commerce platform. And the audience pool is even smaller. This will trend likely remain the same until this form of buying and selling becomes more trustworthy and easy to use.
So, What Should I Do?
If you’re a merchant who is currently having success with e-commerce, we recommend staying where you are. Remember that social commerce is in its early stages, just as e-commerce was 20 years ago. It will definitely take time to become established and fully-functioning. We wanted to discuss this trend because it’s a fascinating change, albeit a slow one, in the merchant industry.