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Social Buying Is The Latest Phenomenon In The Industry

Fast growing APAC markets are leading the pack in the race to monetise social, developing healthy revenue streams from social commerce. The head of Content Strategy & Distribution at MediaCom Australia writes about how brands can make social buying easier and more enticing for customers

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Data from GlobalWeb-Index (GWI) highlights how users of local apps and networks are ahead of the rest of the world in terms of online shopping. WeChatters and SinaWeibo users show a significantly greater tendency to make online purchases than users on any other network (81 per cent of WeChatters and 79 per cent of SinaWeibo users). By contrast, Facebook users show the least interest in online shopping with just 67 per cent. That’s because APAC countries have a young, urban and affluent audience that adopts new technologies faster.

However, even in Asia, brands can struggle to turn interest into intent to buy. More than a third of Internet users follow their favourite brands on social media, and roughly the same number use social media for pre-purchase research. Nevertheless, online purchase through social channels remains a challenge that can be overcome by normalising the purchase process through a native social app.

In Korea, MediaCom used KakaoTalk to support promotional events for fabric softener brand Downy. The success of Kakao’s commerce platform in Korea has been significant with continued investment in its gift store driving a 12.1 per cent revenue increase quarter on quarter in 2015.

What would make such efforts more ubiquitous, according to GWI, is the greater presence of a ‘buy now’ button on social platforms. Last year, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube introduced ‘buy now’ functionality. We can expect more commercial features to appear this year.

In 2016, we are seeing the pace of innovation in social commerce intensify. Brands need to prepare to boost these channels in three key ways:

1. Business structure: With new commerce technologies such as Facebook Messenger for Business rolled out globally, brands will have to think how they will respond to these changes in purchase channel. From customer service to IT and fulfillment, businesses will have to ensure they are ever ready for this expanding omni-channel world.

2. Remain consistent: As online behaviour changes with acceptance of new models, we can expect to see confidence in purchasing across social applications grow. Trust in your brand will always be the greatest enabler of behavioural change, so maintaining a consistent voice will be as important as ever.

3. Be wary of new technologies: Before jumping on board, take a step back and weigh the cost against investment. With 33 million active monthly users in Thailand representing 82 per cent of all mobile users, Line holds a dominant position. However, outside core markets of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan, growth has stalled. Before investing heavily in one particular area, be sure to understand its application to your own business and the value it may deliver.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tom Robinson

The author is Head of Content Strategy & Distribution at MediaCom Australia

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