With the continued proliferation of online shopping, the way we think about e-commerce was due to evolve at any moment. That moment is upon us in what I'm dubbing social commerce, or s-commerce for short.
We've seen companies like Amazon and Facebook transition from a laser-focused CD and movie source and social media network respectively, into multi-faceted money making machines. Amazon has positioned itself as THE online marketplace in the United States and has diversified into other web services like hosting and marketing as well as developing its own distribution infrastructure to the point that it can rival virtually any logistics company and it has its sights set on grocers too.
Meanwhile, Facebook has gone from cool collegiate exclusivity to the most ubiquitous social channel in the world. Recently, Facebook revealed that it would amplify its existing e-commerce ads to account for showcase shopping ads. Just like Google, Facebook is taking advantage of their online resources to help advertisers push more merchandise just in time for holiday shopping. The new ad format allows advertisers to display one main picture with several product images that would, ostensibly, have their own unique landing pages. This gives the potential consumer a broader understanding of what the retailer may be selling and what's specially priced.
Pandora's box is open and there's no going back. Linking a bank account to everyone's personal Facebook page isn't far off and this may raise security concerns all over the world, but for now, social media will undoubtedly see a rise in sell-through, especially with reasonably priced impulse buys. It will continue to command an ever-increasing amount of your advertising budget as their ads evolve in terms of what can be done with them creatively and who can be targeted strategically. Currently, only a few heavy hitters are testing out the new format, but look for a wider roll-out soon with other companies following suit in 2017. Admittedly, I laughed derisively when some people claimed that Facebook was coming for Google. Well, it appears that not only do they want to compete with Google, but with Amazon and Alibaba as well. What's more is that they seem to have the golden touch right now and I wouldn't put anything past them.