The internet is waking up to the smell of coffee social commerce. D2C brands, particularly those that specialize in categories by emerging and evolving demands have tapped into the virality social networks offer to attract their target demographic, shorten the lead-to-deal journey and get ideas for innovation.
The Indian social commerce market’s gross merchandise value is estimated to grow ~3.5x from 2023’s figure of $5498M.
As social marketplaces evolve to accommodate shifts in consumer behavior, newer functionalities and capabilities are being introduced giving way to a form of shopping that combines the best of both worlds- social and digital. Shoppers can access catalogs, pull up reviews in real-time and checkout pricing before setting foot at a store( or better yet- ultimately not needing to!) which simplify the experience and expedite the chances of a completed, verified purchase.
D2C brands are harnessing the potential of social commerce to be more “present” in the digital space and to boost their credibility, drive engagement and ultimately- maximize growth by netting a wider audience.
In this post, we’re going to closely examine a few success stories for some much needed inspiration and liquid courage. So grab your favorite caffeine fix and join us!
How Social Commerce contributed to Myntra’s Popularity Rise in the last 5 years
Myntra needs no separate introduction. The Flipkart-owned fashion eCommerce platform is leading the pack in India, having released social commerce features that include the Myntra Studio,M-Live and Style Squad, a category-specific hub that narrows down searches by product relevance. These launches capture the latest fashion trends, enabling shoppers to be alerted to relevant and visually-informative content.
The platform serves as an excellent example of exploring multiple aspects and spin offs of social commerce, enabling it to generate in-content engagement and reach 1B impressions from 30% of its active users month-on-month.
What has enabled Myntra to emerge as a frontrunner in making the most out of social commerce is that it was one of the first domestic platforms to do so at a time when brands restricted themselves to fewer sales channels. Since the launch of Myntra Studio and Myntra Fashion Superstar in 2019, Myntra brings curated and live content to its shoppers, upping the count of monthly engaged users to ~15M.
Two years ago, M-live, a video commerce solution was integrated into the Studio in 2021 which has been inviting 200 to 250 sessions per month. With the Fashion Superstar cherry picking content creators from the beauty and fashion space, Myntra is content formats in different vernacular languages as a step towards inclusvity. Influencers and experts who present content in their native tongue have equal opportunities in a shared space to reach their fans and grow following which in turn is helping Myntra to grow their ecosystem from the pre-pandemic figure of 2L to 10x times present-day! It will interest readers to know that in the last 24 months, 60% of M-live’s live commerce sessions are brand-led,i.e. D2C brands get to directly interact with and talk to their customer base. Examples of popular brands doing so include H&M, USPA, Levi's, Adidas, Libas, HRX, Nivea, Lakme, Maybelline, Sugar and Arata. Some of these sessions are celebrity-led with endorsements from Bollywood stars like Akshay Kumar clocking an impressive 6L viewership when ForceIX was launched via Myntra.
With 5000+ content creators presently engaged on Myntra, the symbiotic benefits of social commerce is evident. The platform is growing its creator community in the bid to generate revenue while offering money making opportunities.
If you’re still in two minds about the benefits of social commerce, maybe the 18th edition of Myntra’s End of Reason Sale (EORS)which concluded on Jun 11 will convince you. The event registered 50% new customers compared to the last edition, with ⅕ the demand coming from non-metro regions. Some groundbreaking social commerce concepts that were experienced firsthand by shoppers included
- Vernacular searches
- Myntra Minis and
- Signature IPs with leading influencers.
EORs-18’s performance saw ~200 hours of content from upvoted influencers which tells us that a holistic approach is sure to transform the Indian eCommerce landscape, especially with more and more Gen Z shoppers hitting the stores!
Social Commerce Meesho: A Tale of Conversational Commerce
In August 2022, Meesho also made their platform more regional-friendly to capitalize on the influx of GMV coming in from Tier-II and Tier III towns and cities. In fact, sales from these regions have grown incredibly since the vernacular element was introduced, with the platform clocking 135% YoY growth. Having concentrated its efforts and investments on social commerce, Meesho decided to split its focus such that 75% of its revenue now comes from the D2C model, and the remaining 25% from resellers, a move that is certain to impact the social commerce sector’s growth in India.
Deal share is another prime example of a company tapping into the growing social commerce segment which announced its launch of private labels on the platform. The move has pushed 52 products across personal care and home essentials. The eCommerce platform’s future expansion plans involve an investment of INR 5B to launch more products.
eCommerce heavyweights Amazon and Flipkart are enabling small retailers to get a slice of the action, with the former launching “Local Shops on Amazon” and the latter launching “Flipkart Samarth” to help underrepresented communities seize more sales opportunities.
The usage of social commerce and conversational commerce, its subset, is proving to be highly useful in making brands seem more personable and increasing their staying power. The collaboration between Meta and Reliance has combined the advantages offered by both platforms.Indian consumers can now check out product listings, send out queries to assistive AI-chatbots for quick replies and pay for merchandise, all over a messaging platform. This partnership where customers shop at JioMart and pay via WhatsAp made it easy for the end-customer because it
- Taps into a platform that already has millions on it, without requiring them to download an app.
- Nearly 2M merchant partners already exist on JioMart, offering customers several and diverse categories to browse through and shop from.
- Makes order tracking and delivery confirmation easier.
The rise in internet consumption and mobile usage coupled with low cost data packs has made the migration to social commerce platforms organic. This shift has witnessed a surge in user traffic, which gives brands more visibility and increases their chances of being noticed by their intended audience.
Social media platforms therefore, play a pivotal role in influencing decisions that relate to
- Relatability and
Put simply, you have to get all the 4 right in order to close a sale.
The Future of Social Commerce Looks Promising
Is social commerce the way to go? One of, according to expert opinions passed down by Sprinkl and Whoppl. The advent of generative AI tools like Bard and ChatGPT help too in making social commerce seem more effortless and less intimidating. Think about it- if you’re a newly founded D2C brand that prefers to prioritize your capital on non-marketing activities, the tools can save you considerable content creation hours! The key factors to social commerce flourishing from here on are;
- Increased signups on social commerce platforms: as the shopper economy is penetrated by a tech-savvy, born-ready generation, it will take less of an effort to navigate using personalized recommendations, driving up seamlessness.
- Increased social media integration: Meta and Instagram are already intertwined, with reel-sharing options that see to it that scheduled content goes out on-time across both platforms. The intended database plus lookalike audiences can consume this when browsing in-app.
- Expansion into Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities: as more MSMEs sit out of Tier-2 and 3 towns, there are increased sales opportunities that provide shoppers the same experience their metro counterparts are already on the receiving end of.
What has caused social commerce’s popularity to shoot up is that it has evolved to recreate in-store experiences online while being more scalable. It embeds quick-replies or routes users seeking assistance more quickly to plug information gaps in the purchase journey.
As more consumers subscribe to product recommendations and sale alerts exclusively through social networks, businesses are inspired to turn that inspiration to a transaction.That being said, social commerce is not a golden ticket out of the grunt work of KYC (knowing your customers). You need to be as present as your brand to meet and manage expectations, build trust and establish two-way communication. Your efforts can help you make the best use of social commerce. For example, Rage coffee has created a community lovingly called “The Ragers Community” for its coffee lovers with the majority of their engagement being driven by Instagram and Facebook. It is where new members are inducted and create a sense of belonging bound by love for the product. In fact, Rage’s business model follows a 50/50 split between offline and online where 25% of online sales come from a mix of marketplaces, social commerce and quick-commerce apps. As interactions increase and get more direct on social commerce platforms, this number could rise up and fuel a perceivable percentage difference.
- Why do D2C brands need to embrace social commerce?
With growing internet penetration, social commerce wields considerable influence on decisions. The advantages of brands embracing social commerce include
- Makes discovery to purchase frictionless
- Filtering consumers for effective and targeted advertising
- Social validation that boosts credibility and trustworthiness.
- Invites participation through two-way communication.
- How is social commerce empowering micro entrepreneurs?
India's ecommerce market is projected to reach $220 billion by 2025, with social commerce expected to become a $100 billion market. The emergence of native social commerce startups using Meta, Instagram and Snapchat have garnered curiosity and interest, touting social commerce as the next big thing in Indian eCommerce. Examples of social commerce helping micro entrepreneurs include
- Meesho which has 1L+ registered providers and offers serviceability to 26K pin codes.
- Coutloot, an O2O startup that automates offline inventory cataloging and streamlines payments for merchants and kiranas.
- Citymall, a commerce startup that identifies emerging opportunities by supporting startups to open virtual stores and aggregate demand.