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E-commerce can't deliver what consumers want, but social commerce can

Social commerce is powerful new retail model, creating highly engaged communities around shopping and selling.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Consumers' preferences are shifting -- driven by mobile and social technologies -- and they are demanding more from retailers than ever before. These characteristics have far-reaching impacts on our shopping habits, preferences, and relationships.

Also: These 8 e-commerce giants are redefining retail TechRepublic

Lookig at these relationships, Redwood City, Calif.-based social commerce platform Poshmark has released first-ever report on the phenomenon of social commerce.

The report was created to better understand the power of a true social commerce platform -- beyond buy buttons and plug-ins -- detailing how a peer-to-peer model of commerce can solve real retail problems.

Two out of five (40 percent) of the world's population is on social media, including 60 percent of Americans. eMarketer predicts that almost 70 percent of retail ecommerce sales will come through mobile by 2021.

Also: How to get your holiday shopping done with Google Home CNET

Almost four out of five (78 percent) of transactions on Poshmark involve a social interaction.

Every day, the 40 million community members generate 1.2 million likes, 18 million shares, and 350,000 comments. Its community members typically spend over 20 minutes per day in the app including engagement across Instagram and Facebook

E-commerce can only deliver a fraction of what demanding consumers are looking for -- a breadth of options that are easily discoverable and transactions that are quick and seamless.

Social commerce is emerging as a superpower in retail. Human interactions can deliver the social experience that can answer personalised questions that are not possible in other e-commerce models.

Social commerce utilises the human interactions across social networks to deliver more personalised transactions and improve the shopping experience.

Also: Will social commerce ever replace e-commerce?

Although brands are already testing social commerce features, they need to move beyond buy buttons and shoppable social posts to deliver what the consumer really wants.

The report shows that almost half (48 percent) of consumers expect brands to help them discover new products. Six out of 10 (59 percent) of customers have higher expectations of customer service than a year ago.

Almost three out of five (56 percent) want to see product ratings or pictures before making a purchase.

Manish Chandra, founder & CEO of Poshmark said: 

"By combining the best of e-commerce with a vibrant online community, social commerce is emerging as an effective model to deliver incredible experiences to this new generation of shoppers, and keep them coming back time and time again." 

Consumers want to be seen and heard -- they need human interactions combined with social discovery to find the right products to fit their needs. A social platform that works well, could supercharge the shopping experience, and that is good news for brands.

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