How is social media influencing e-commerce?

E-commerce and social media are linked by their ability to provide consumers and online stores with a new way to approach the marketplace.


The rise of e-commerce has brought the power to the people, whether they are buying or selling. Shoppers and sellers alike are no longer confined to brick and mortar stores, breaking down many of the barriers between crafting a product and distributing it to a target audience.

Combining the freedom of e-commerce, with the connectivity of social media results in a marketplace that encourages innovation and unique products. This is especially the case for IT professionals who can take advantages of these trends.

This isn’t limited to just individual entrepreneurs either, with large companies also acknowledging the influence these trends have on their customers. Businesses are now increasing their social media focus to target this, with Duke University expecting spending in this area to rise from 9 per cent of marketing budgets, to over 13 per cent within the year.

How are social media and e-commerce related?

While it’s possible for companies to harness both social media and e-commerce, those looking to maximise the effectiveness of each will need to find ways to link the two. The obvious way is for businesses to promote products on their online store through their social media channels by making their audience aware of new additions or upcoming sales to drive interest.

Unlike brick and mortar stores, online shops don’t have to wait for customers to come to them, and can actively target and drive people towards them.

Online sales expert Shopify conducted research into the defining trends, and few will be surprised that Facebook is the number one source for social media referrals to e-commerce stores.

Through the e-commerce platforms that Shopify manages, around two-thirds of all visits are redirections from Facebook posts. Not only does it dominate through number of visits, Facebook conversions also lead to a disproportionately high number of sales, accounting for 85 per cent of all orders that are conducted through social media.

However, this doesn’t mean budding online salespeople can rely on Facebook alone, with Shopify finding that orders through Reddit had increased by 152 per cent in 2013.

What are companies doing to reach consumers?

According to eMarketer, most businesses are making use of the built-in advertising systems social media platforms like Facebook offer. Worldwide, this spending totalled just under $24 billion last year, a figure the company is expecting to rise to $35.98 billion, which will account for 16 per cent of all digital advertisement expenditure.

Again, Facebook is the dominant force here, and eMarketer expects it to account for 65.5 per cent of global social media advertisement spending.